Summer started! Well, at least if you’re in the same hemisphere as me in Brussels. 🙂

With the summer comes an air of liberty, excitement and restlessness of Fomo (fear of missing out) : I’m having already a lot on my todo-list for this summer- again toooooo much! For the moment I’m preparing for the urban sketching symposium in Amsterdam next week 🙂 … You can read more about the symposium here:

Like I was writing last year also: There’s always so much I want to do in the summer! The perfectionist in me is crying out that I have to prepare everything well so I can use my time wisely, not to miss anything, to make A LOT of GOOD drawings, work on my book, finish projects in the office, be efficient and productive !!! That makes me so exhausted and overwhelmed just by thinking about it… So I come home and lay down and scroll on my phone doing nothing… escaping on Instagram and Facebook… ! OMG! That’s the resistance pulling me down and preventing me from being creative. The resistance is the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, don’t show up, hide your ugly drawing, don’t make a fool of yourself, go slow, compromise…. The resistance is writer’s block, the resistance is what prevented you staying an artist when you grew up.

There are several tricks to quiet your lizard brain. A lot of inspiring people already wrote about this, like Seth Godin in “The Linchpin”, Danny Gregory in “Shut the monkey”… 

Going on “an artist date” is the most efficient: it can be anything that will inspire your inner artist: like going walking in the forest, going to an art supply shop, going to a museum, to a philosophy conference,… something to bring you beauty joy and light. What date could make with the inner artist in yourself to make her happy this summer? This is the true richness of life.

Beauty is a promise of happiness. It’s about “Joie de vivre”! Where do you find beauty and inspiration? Drawing is about learning how to look at things and find beauty everywhere. As you look to an object when you draw, try to take note of what the mental state of drawing feels like: the loss of sense of time and the sense of amazement at the beauty of what you see.

Let’s just enjoy the summer with beauty. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Let’s be generous to ourselves. Talk to yourself like you talk to your best friend. Why do we beat ourselves up? Who’s judging? Nobody but yourself. (and some nasty people who are not worth your attention) Let’s just help each other forward. What causes such pain and shame? Getting stuck int the quality hack isn’t creating joy, inspiration or progress… What is beauty anyway? Who is deciding what is quality? Of course it’s interesting to want to get better at something and do the necessary work for that, but don’t let it take your joy away. Just do your best and keep moving. Don’t let perfectionism kill your creativity.

Some tips here if the energy level is low but you want to progress: Go on an artist date to get yourself fired up, and grab you sketchbook and pen and do some thumbnail (small) drawings and play with color. Lately I do almost all my drawings with ballpoint pen because it stops me in my perfectionism: I can’t erase! I used to get hopeless when there was a window missing in my drawing, and now, thanks to the ballpoint pen, I got over it! I even don’t mind any more if my perspective isn’t correct.

What could you do to make yourself progress, without perfectionism?

Now about the most important thing 😉 … ART SUPPLIES !

Here is what I’ve packed already: as I have an addiction for art supplies this is the most fun part! I have a ton of art supplies at home so the trick is to reduce the amount in my luggage so that my bag won’t get too heavy… Half of what I take I won’t be using anyway!

  • My favourite ballpoint pens! They’re very thin and I love that: from the brand “Mark’s Tokyo Edge”. I buy them here
  • A Pilot fountain pen for the workshop with Pat Southern Pearce with waterproof Carbon ink.
  • soft pencils: a 2B pencil. I prefer soft greasy pencils (B, 2B, 3B…) over hard pencils (HB, H, 2H….). I use Blackwing pencils. 
  • travel brushes with a cap: My favourite for watercolour are  synthetic Escoda brushes and a sable travel brush from Rosemary’s & co . Escoda is a spanish family company and Rosemary is an English family business. Both are passionate about crafting good quality brushes and I love that passion!
  • a Kuratake brush pen for Veronica Lawlor’s work shop. Personally I never use brush pens but it’s on her art supplies list. Again: if that magic brush pen can make my drawings look like her fantastic drawings I will be happy… !!! That’s the magic of workshops: trying to imitate the style of the teacher to broaden your skills and open your mind…
  • brushes with a water container for painting inside museum. They don’t like when you carry water bottles… But I personally hate painting with brushes with watercontainer because I find it hard to control the amount of water.
  • a foldable water container
  • a water spray
  • a sponge
  • clips to hold the paper
  • a sketchbook of course 🙂 This year I take a Laloran accordeon sketchbook like I had last year in Porto. They’re handmade in Portugal
  • loose sheets of watercolour paper (I like Saunders Waterford)
  • watercolor pencils and watercolor sticks for my workshop with Veronica Lawlor
  • a foldable stool

and … dark Belgian chocolate 🙂 my other addiction… !

What are your favourite Art Supplies for the moment?

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