Ideas – 4 Tips for Taking Your Art on the Road

As the new year starts, I can’t help but wonder where the road ahead will take me–both literally and figuratively! I don’t know how much of this is apparent to the outside world, but I live a pretty mobile lifestyle. I spend a lot of time on the road–due mostly to my consulting job, long distance/long-term relationship, and distance from my family. I had never really anticipated living this way, but even though I’m still young I already know life has a way of throwing in these kinds of kinks.

4 Tips for Taking Art on the Road

2014 was really about finding ways to nurture my inner artist and I know 2015 will be about continuing to find creative sustenance. Here are some things that worked for me over the past year:

Tip 1: Find travel-sized sketchbooks or journals.

This probably seems like a no-brainer, but enabling myself with the proper tools made all the difference. When I first started traveling, I didn’t bring anything with me at all because I worried about transporting my big, clunky sketchbooks. After finding books that were compact and easy to stow, it made it easier for me to express myself on the go. There are plenty of books in all different sizes out there on the market or you could even bind your own!

Tip 2: Don’t feel pressured to bring every art supply in your arsenal.

Until I started traveling every week with only my backpack and 18″ carry-on suitcase, I was a chronic over-packer. I frequently brought things I never even ended up using. With such limited space, I knew I could only bring a few supplies with me. And you know what? It was perfectly okay! I didn’t need every art supply in my possession to be able to work in my journals and make pieces that were satisfying. My travel essentials consisted of pencils, erasers, colored pencils, a pencil sharpener, and black ink pens.

Tip 3: Maximize your free time for creativity.

I know when I have free time I spend a lot of it tinkering around on my phone. It’s easy for 5 minutes to turn into 30 minutes or more without accomplishing all that much. Over the last year I spent a lot of time sitting at the airport waiting for flights or through delays. While I can’t say I didn’t spend any time on my phone, I did manage to reclaim bits of it for my journals. Instead of working on a page all the way through, I worked on pages incrementally throughout the week. It was actually nice and a little bit different for me. Looking at something with new eyes on a different day can really add to a piece.

Tip 4: Spend time getting inspired.

For me, living the creative life isn’t totally about creating all of the time–part of it is also about getting inspired. When I wasn’t able to sit down with my journals, I spent some time looking around me. Nature is ever changing and always has a lot to offer for all the senses. In 2014, I especially liked being in an airplane because I got to see it from another perspective. I also spent a great deal of time looking at architecture since I was traveling to different parts of the country. In some cases, I was fortunate enough to visit parks and museums. When I was in Mississippi, I got a chance to walk through their art museum. Their rich quilting history continues to inspire elements in my journal pages. And of course, good, old-fashioned people-watching is always fun, too!

Artfully Megan Signature

Do you travel frequently? How do you nourish your creative side when you’re out traveling?

Top 3 Favorite Art Supplies of 2014

Another year is coming to a close and as I look forward to the future and what it might hold for me artistically, I’d like to step back a minute and review my top 3 favorite art supplies of 2014.

Top 3 favorite art supplies of 2014

1. Gelly Roll gel pens

If there’s one product I had to say I used the most in 2014, it would have to be these. The Gelly Roll pens come in a variety of different finishes, but my favorites this year have been the Souffle and more recently the Stardust varieties.

When you first start writing with the Souffle pens, you almost don’t see a thing. But as it dries you get the full color. These dry as opaque, creamy colors with a matte finish. They also dry somewhat raised, which looks a bit like embossing. I like to use the Souffle pens to draw or write against all backgrounds, light or dark. I think it really makes things pop and transforms a one-color background into something really special.

The sparkle of the holiday season might have influenced my decision to add the Stardust pens to the list, too, but I really feel like I used them in almost everything in the later half of 2014. The best way I know how to describe them is that they are clear ink with very fine glitter included. Even though they come in a variety of different colors, I like using the clear Stardust pen the most for a more subtle shimmer.

In addition to the Souffle and Stardust pens, I also heavily utilize the white pen to add contrast, especially against the darker backgrounds.

2.  Washi Tape

I wasn’t always into these just because I couldn’t justify the $5 price tag, but then I saw quite a few of them on sale at my local craft store and in the dollar bins at Target (who knew?!) and I was hooked.

They come in a lot of different colors and patterns so they’re very versatile. When I went shopping for holiday card supplies I picked up a ton of festive washi tape that I used in every card. In addition to using washi tape to decorate greeting cards, I also use it for added interest in some of my art journal pages. I’ve also used them in the past to decorate boxes for the cookies I like to bake and distribute to friends and family.

I love that–because they’re made out of paper–you can write on them. Sometimes I will use them in my daily journal as colorful dividers or as page tabs to create sections. I also like that unlike other tape, there’s something about it that makes it just sticky enough to stick to what you need it to, but not so much that you can never take it off again. This has come in handy on projects where I’ve changed my mind and I absolutely love that there’s virtually no residue.

3. Prismacolor Colored Pencils and Colorless Blender

My favorite subject when it comes to art is portraits. Even though I haven’t created too many this year, the ones I enjoyed the most were the ones I did with Prismacolor colored pencils. I got my first set of 50 when I was in high school and even though I have a new set, I still use the old ones to this day.

What I like the most about these is that they’re soft and very pigmented. You don’t need to press down all that hard to get a lot of color payoff. They’re fairly easy to blend together on their own, but I really like having that smooth, blended look so I almost always use their colorless blender when I’m drawing. I think it does a great job of meshing the colors together without really altering the colors themselves. In fact, sometimes it looks as though the colors become more vivid after using it. Like the colored pencils, it’s also soft and easy to work with.

So those were my top 3 favorite art supplies of 2014. I think I’ll definitely continue using them in 2015, but there’s a couple things on my radar that I’ve been wanting to try.

Artfully Megan Signature

What were your favorite art supplies of 2014? Are there any you’re looking forward to trying out in 2015?

I was not given any of these products for compensation or review. The products were purchased by me and the opinions supplied are my own.