5 Ways to Mix it Up


Sometimes you can really make headway with your artwork if you just break a few patterns and get out of your comfort zone.

Here’s a few suggestions below to help you get started–if you think of any others, please share them in the comments–I love trying new techniques!

  1. Scale

    Get Bigger! Or get smaller, but go in the opposite direction from what you usually make. (My hunch is probably that your work could get bigger–women especially tend to keep our work small.)

    It might feel hard or embarrassing to take up space like this, but it can also be very liberating. I’m working on a series of large drawings right now–all around 42″ x 48″ and I’m simply amazed at how great it feels to work big like this.

  2. Color Palette

    Let’s face it, we’re all drawn to particular color combinations. Line your work up (or photos of your work) and take a look at your palette. Could you go to the opposite side of the color wheel?  Could you introduce or replace a color in your normal repertoire?

    Or keep your palette, but change the value–try pastels (or brights) instead. Flip through art and fashion magazines for fresh color ideas that might inspire you and try on someone else’s favorite color combos for size.

  3. Materials

    Can you combine your usual materials in a fresh way or treat them differently? Cut up drawings you don’t love and collage them into something you suddenly do? Knit with something unexpected–horsehair, strips from plastic bags? Make a necklace from something other than beads?

  4. Simplify

    How simple can you  make something and still have it work? Or maybe work better? Test the outer limits of “less is more”.

    I know this is a challenge for me–somehow if I feel  like something is too easy or simple, it doesn’t count or I’ve cheated, but whenever I challenge myself this way, I’m almost always pleased with the results.

  5. Go Deeper

    Not quite the opposite of simplify, but how far can you push something? This can be hard to test when we start really liking something we’re working on because we get afraid of “ruining” it. But foraging forward can be so eye-opening.

    Even if you do “go too far” and kind of wish you hadn’t, what about seeing what you can do to get back again? How can you stay with something until it’s truly resolved?

    Sometimes I’ll go deeper and realize crap, this piece really looked better before–maybe I should have stopped back then. I think it’s important at this point to keep going  because hanging in there can produce some surprisingly pleasing results–AND really boost your confidence about your creative problem solving skills.

    Once you know you can “ruin” something and then make it successful again, you feel more in charge of your process, less afraid to make a mistake.

    One really useful thing to do is to take a picture of your piece at a point where you think you like it, but feel like there’s still more to do. When I get myself lost by going deeper, I’ll print the “before” picture out and meditate on the pair side by side and often new solutions emerge that way as well.

What do you think? What do you do when you need to mix it up? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about your process!

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  1. sarafunky says:

    very nice info,it will help me allot in future..

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