Friday, July 21, 2017

importance of making art for fun, plus illustration friday and color collective

I just added an art for fun section to my website. 

Q: What is art for fun?

A: Art that's just for fun might be in a different style, use a different medium, or it could even be a doodle! Art for fun is just for you. It's not part of a project or for your portfolio (though it could be in the future.

Q: Why is it important to take time away from other projects to make art that's just for fun?

A: It can be hard to keep your creativity if you're schedule is full, or if you feel obligated to create only a certain type of art for a project, or your portfolio. Art for fun doesn't have an agenda, so there's no pressure. You can create what you want. It can help you stay creative (and avoid burnout) and the things you learn could help you make art for books or other projects. You never know what's going to happen when you make art without a plan*. 

* Not having a plan and doing it for fun doesn't mean you can't be inspired by an illustration prompt, or try new materials to change up your style. (If you've visited my blog before, you might have noticed that I do a lot of art for illustration prompts. This is why.) What it means is that nobody is expecting you to make the art. You can experiment! You can make mistakes!**

** Mistakes are part of the creative process, but sometimes it seems like we don't have room to make mistakes. You don't have to turn in art for fun, or show it to anyone, unless you want to. I don't show all the art for fun on my site, but it's fun to be able to show a few of the pieces I like.

Q: Do you have any examples of art for fun?

A: Yes! Here four pieces of art for fun I made this week (notice how different each of these pieces are). Two of them are for illustration prompts. If I were making these for my portfolio, I wouldn't feel like I could experiment with style and medium as much as I did with these:

1. The prompt for Illustration Friday this week is: ice cream. I enjoyed creating my roller skating dinosaurs, so I decided to paint a dinosaur eating ice cream and experiment with acrylic paint and texture:

2. The color for Colour Collective this week was a blue color - Pantone 292 C, to be exact, which is harder to create in traditional mediums when you can't "pick" the color like you can digitally. I experimented with watercolor, watercolor crayons, and sponge painting to come up with an umbrella boat with a bear and two birds, and lots of blue:

3. This image is a character study of 3 Cats meowing, but mostly it's another experiment in sponge painting (I love sponge painting, but I can't control it, which is part of the fun and also part of the frustration):

4. Last but not least, I experimented with not using black line for my giraffe and sheep (with a little sponge painting in the background):

These are all very different, and I learned things from each one that will help me make art in the future, even if it's digital art. If I were only making art for a book or my portfolio, none of these images would exist. If I weren't making art for fun, I wouldn't grow as an artist, and eventually, that would catch up with me.

Q: What does your regular art look like?

A: If you're not familiar with my art, you might not realize how different this art is from what's in my portfolio. Here are my two latest pieces for comparison, one color, one black line:
I. Roberta and Bailey (the robot) at the Beach:
[Note - even this is different than the art for the book I illustrated (EWE AND AYE) - it's important to keep growing as an artist, IMO.]

II. Crabby Stories - Teller of Tall Tales:

Do you make art for fun? 

Or if you're a writer, do you write stories just for yourself? (Writing for fun can have similar benefits to making art for fun.)

If you want to see more of art for fun, check out the new section on my website.

If you're interested in becoming a picture book illustrator and/or writer, here are some of my past posts that might help:

The Path Illustrators Take To Get Their Work Noticed And Advance Their Careers

Five Tips For Illustrators  

Three Ways To Make A Picture Book Dummy 

Ten Tips For Choosing What To Draw For Your Portfolio, And Ten Ways To Find Inspiration

How To Write A Picture Book In Twelve Easy Steps  

If You Just Want To Illustrate And Not Write  


  1. Well, it's *FUN* seeing these^!

  2. Exactly! This is what I'm doing too with colour_collective mostly, and occasional IF if I have time. It's been a great way for me to have an inspirational starting point each week with a new color or subject matter. I call it paint play and it's helped me loosen up and expand my color palette a lot. I'm redoing my website now and have been wondering about adding some of this. I love adding a art for fun section. Your post was perfect timing for me. I'm going to add a paint play section to my new site. Keep on having fun!

    1. Yes, Colour Collective and IF are both good for giving yourself the excuse to play. Happy this post was perfect timing! Looking forward to seeing your paint play section. Good luck with redoing your website!