Pia shares Her Dark Half - Issue #5

My tips and a nudge to embrace your artistic (dark?) side

“Everybody born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. We come from the Creator with creativity. I think that each one of us is born with creativity..” -Maya Angelou

So you've read my previous newsletters, but you're still hesitating to get creative.

Fret not, that's what this newsletter is for.

So...what else can you use to get started?

Mark your calendar, literally!

Sometimes, an opportunity to get creative is right in front of you. For example - do you use a journal or calendar? BAM!

I didn't realize this (since I was kinda doing it off and on anyway), but there is something called Bullet Journaling...it's become this whole thing online! People run instagram accounts and newsletters and you can buy stickers and doodles or whole kits - all to decorate your journal. I kid you not! Sometimes I marvel at the lengths people go to just create content, any content, to get followers. But I digress and realize, I'm guilty too, lol.

Bullet journaling is cute (*shudder*) and entertaining for a while, but I prefer doodling skulls and spiders on my journal pages and then focus on my stand-alone paintings and drawings. But it's definitely a creative way to get those juices flowing. To each their own, right?

I came across bullet journaling by accident when I needed to order a planner for the new year and found this cool and darker alternative. I hope they do one for 2023 again. Whenever I do make tiny drawings in my journal, they usually correspond to the events of that day or week. Either way, if that's where you start with doodling, I'm all for it!

Find the Zen of the pen!

There is so much inspiration to be found online. For example, do a search on instagram for #zendoodles and you'll find all types of doodles to inspire you. I came across Swedish artist Åse Balko and love her mesmerizing art. If you want to learn a more specific method to push your doodles even further, give Zentangle a try. The website is well laid out and really gets into the how and why by its creators Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.

It's best to use an ink pen or fine-tipped marker on regular paper. Pencils get dull too quickly and it'll make the lines look inconsistent. So far, I've only doodled with one color, but I'm sure you can create some stunning works with a combination of colors and, of course wildly different patterns.

For the super patient people, there's Stippling, the art or process of drawing using numerous small dots or specks. I've tried my hand at it and really like how it forces you to be patient and just give yourself over to the process. It's oddly satisfying to me and I have to remind myself to turn to this technique more often. Here's a helpful video explaining the technique it a bit more:

Fun fact: You don't have to make perfect lines! Any "mistakes" can be corrected or hidden by more dots, ha!

Go Digital!

For those that don't have any particular attachment to the tactile feel of pen on paper, there's the digital option. If you have a tablet with a stylus or iPad with Apple Pencil, check the drawing apps that already come with your device. What an opportunity to take a break from work and spend 10 minutes doodling right there! If you don't have any drawing software that works for you, there is a plethora of them out there - some free, some with a download fee (Procreate). Some of them are super easy for beginners and most of them are available for free from the app store for macOS, like Charcoal, Penbook, or Linea Sketch. For Windows/Linux check out Sketch Book, Krita and Artrage, for example. Some offer upgrades for a small fee if you want to unlock more features. Then there are more complicated apps for professionals with a much steeper learning curve but we're getting ahead of ourselves. At first, I used Notes, which came with my iPad, but then installed Procreate and the awesome Affinity Designer & Affinity Photo (the last two of which I first had only as desktop versions for my graphic design work after I got tired of paying high Adobe subscription fees, but that's a whole other story). What I'm saying is, you have options and you don't need to break the bank.

When it comes to drawing and painting, I still prefer the old fashioned way, but I have discovered some advantages to the digital doodles - it just took me some getting used to.

Fill in those Blanks!

If you simply can't find any motivation or ideas what to doodle, here's a suggestion for doing something until that light bulb goes off in your head: Coloring books for adults. Don't laugh! Coloring books help ease stress and anxiety, improve motor skills and focus. They relax your brain. When I was going through my artist block a few months ago, I came across a "Dia de los Muertos"-inspired coloring book at Michaels and simply couldn't resist. Coloring books were all the rage a while ago, but I think they're still useful and you can easily find them online and in brick and mortar stores.

Worst case scenario, you get tired of it and you can give them to a kid to keep it from scribbling on the wall.

Speaking of Michaels...I love perusing that store because I always find something to inspire me creatively. It's hit and miss, but I don't care, as long as it's fun going down that rabbit hole! I once found a Paint-by-Numbers kit on sale and thought "why not?". It featured a cute puppy with a kitten and I was eager to relive fond childhood memories of painting this way.

Well, I hate to say it, but it was a let-down. Not only did the paint colors on the canvas not match the image on the box, but I stressed out over trying to work with the pre-printed lines with a brush. It felt too constricted. Which is weird, because technically, I should feel the same about coloring books. Maybe I just don't like being told what colors to use. Go figure!

There you have it! I hope this was helpful for you and you're ready to get creative. In the next edition, I'll be talking about creating a space for your creativity. After that, we shall see, but I have some more exciting stuff lined up. I just need to figure out in which order.

San Diego Comic-Con is coming up in July and I've been confirmed for the Art Show. I'm still in the process of creating art for it, so I don't have any details yet on what I'll put up for display and sale/auction, but you can bet I'll be announcing more once I know! I can't wait to be back at an in-person SDCC and hopefully see many of you!

That’s it for today - I hope you have a creative weekend! Cheers!

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Thank you from the bottom of my black little heart!

Dark Greetings….and ‘see’ you in two weeks!


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