Category Archives: Paper Projects

New Class, New Hobby, New Art: Drawing

Drawing as Self Discovery. A Skillshare Course Review by Lauren Likes

I have adored Mari Andrew’s drawings for quite a while now. She is one of the few people who’s Instagram I check daily. I have always felt her work was quirky, honest and relatable. I never thought of creating my own because a. I just didn’t think about it, b. I’m not very good at drawing and c. I felt like that would be too much of stealing or direct copying. But! Then the heavens aligned and Mari released a course on Skillshare and started teaching her technique, which is very simple, but more than that she is sharing her inspiration, her how to, her thought behind her art. I cannot finish the class because for every short video lesson I watch, I spend a few hours doodling new pages and have a whole notebook now dedicated to ideas for new drawings.

When I started taking her course it was like a light went off for me. In real life, I’m a pretty humorous person, but writing and making witty quips on the spot in conversations are not the same. But, this art form allows me to sneak in that bit of sarcasm that I love, but also be more personal, vulnerable and create cute art – all at once!

The class is short and easy to digest, but like I said, it sparks so many ideas it’s hard to get back to the lessons until you’ve fully fleshed out the ideas from the current one. Her lessons are delivered in short videos where she shares some of her art, gives you a prompt and then creates a drawing in front of you. She has great advice and is really easy and fun to follow. This course has by far topped my list of favorite and most valuable courses I have taken in a long time. 

You can use this link to get 3 months of Premium membership for .99cents and I get one month free. Win, Win! 

This drawing is not one from a prompt, but just something I started musing on this weekend as Terrell was taking out the food trash and I told him he was my hero because that shiz is Niz-ass-ty. Then I started thinking about all the other nice things he does and how he really is the hero of our house. Instantly I knew I needed to make a little doodle for him to express how much I appreciate all he does. Like I said drawing is not my greatest strength, I would say it is one of the skills where I am lacking most. But with some simple googling (and emoji studying) I was able to simply represent each trait. The beauty of this art form is that simplicity is the key to making it relatable and understandable. 

This drawing is also one that I dreamed up as I was sitting and watching the snow fall and felt like I lived in a snow globe. I thought about a few of my favorite moments ever and they seem to have that effect, where I am standing still, on the outside, and watching the beauty of life happen in front of me, almost in my hand, like the observer of a snow globe. This is certainly the least cute of the drawings, but it represented a really special moment for me and I was able to convey my message with very few words and there was a positive reaction to this on instagram where others were able to relate. Which is the goal of art!

The mental notes were semi from a prompt in the course. I was working through the course, made the mistake of checking my email and got a super annoying request. The thought ‘I wanna stab somebody’ immediately came to mind and I got right to work. After creating this I felt much better. This art form is nothing if not therapeutic and I am now thinking in these drawings…

The Heart Inventory is taking directly from Mari’s class. She gave multiple variations on this one and I feel like I could make a new one every day and I quickly realized that taking an inventory of your heart is not for the faint of heart. Mari explains how she uses art to process her life in the course and I can absolutely agree and understand how powerful these simple exercises are. 

The Resilience prompt is from lesson 1 and my mind exploded with pie chart options! SO. MANY. IDEAS. Who knew pie charts could be such fun art?! 

Clearly, you can see how much I am loving this course and am very excited to keep working through it, creating new drawings, executing more of my ideas and sharing them all! I would love if you joined me and can’t wait to see your drawings! Be sure to tag me on instagram if you join @laurenlikesblog

You can use this link to get 3 months of Premium membership for .99cents and I get one month free. Win, Win! 

Happy doodling! 

How to collect inspiration

How to find and collect inspiration for any project. Four ways to store visual and written inspirationInspiration is the magic and the kryptonite of the creative person’s existence.

Right? We love it. We love the pretty things and all the beautiful work that is out in the world. We can look and scroll and pin for hours. But suddenly, when it comes time to do the work we are shockingly uninspired, directionless or unsure of the right path to take. Our inspiration well can seem dry or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, overwhelming.

Collecting inspiration is the fun part, translating it is the magical, but difficult part.

My new ecourse, How To Travel Like An Artist, but more than travel, it is about translating the inspiration around you into your craft. Today, I want to share with you how to find, curate and collect the inspiration that is all around you.

I have four main ways I collect inspiration: pinterest, a journal, a mood board and a bulletin board. Four ways may seem like a lot to you, so if you want to start collecting inspiration of your own just pick one to start with that speaks to you the most and will be the easiest for you to maintain. Let’s dive in.

How to find and collect inspiration for any project. Four ways to store visual and written inspiration

1. Bulletin Board

I use this board to collect my own paintings to curate a collection of color stories, patterns, marks, paint strokes and ideas. I reference these pages often when I am choosing colors and patterns for different projects. I add paintings to it when I find a pattern or color combo that I really like. It serves as my ‘bag of tricks’, the best techniques that I have that I know I can fall back on and are my signature style. I rotate paintings out when they feel old or boring and am always adding to it. I create the paintings from simply playing in my sketchbook.

How to find and collect inspiration for any project. Four ways to store visual and written inspiration

2. Journal

After reading these two articles (1 and 2) I became obsessed with how Gay Talese kept everything, but not only did he keep things, but he collaged them. There was no rhyme or reason and yet it was all important and so visually stimulating. I was absolutely moved to be a more active documenter of my inspiration. I grabbed a notebook, bought a fancy pencil and started smashing in any and everything that tickled my curiosity. As you can see there are scraps of unused photos, packaging from said fancy pencils, quotes about bees that blow my mind and more. Anything that I look at twice goes in with no rhyme or reason. Because one day I will need these bits of inspiration and I’ll be ready when that day comes. The journal is a great place that has no rules and no expectations. It’s small, cheap and fits right into my purse.

How to find and collect inspiration for any project. Four ways to store visual and written inspiration

3. Mood Board

Justina Blakeney is one of the most influential artists for me right now. About 90% of my desire to redo my studio was so I could incorporate a mood board like hers. These are simple cork boards that I’ve hung up to create a large space. I simply rip out inspiring images I see. Anything that tickles my fancy. When I see them all up together I can so quickly pick out themes, colors, patterns, textures, clothing, designs that I love. This is the perfect place to keep those postcards, your collection of ‘trash’ and those bits that you just can’t seem to part with. It’s so much better hung up where you can see it and be inspired by it than hidden in a folder. It’s real life pinterest-Tom Haverford style!

How to find and collect inspiration for any project. Three ways to store visual and written inspiration

4. Pinterest

Ok, Pinterest is amazing, but you can get overwhelmed with one million pins, plus the overwhelming anxiety to categorize everything perfectly so you can find it later is crushing. Right? Just me? I love a curated board, so much. I love being able to know all my watercolor pins are on my watercolor board for easy reference. But! What do you do with those pins that are just beautiful?! The colors just scream at you! The lines make you want to draw. The pin just inspires you. You put it on your inspiration board. These are pins that serve only one purpose: to visually inspire you. They are not tutorials to follow or things to buy. They are not even something that makes sense. This is where I go when I want to actually create something new and not just copy someone else’s exact version of what I am making. If you look at my inspiration board, it has a lot of animal vertebrae illustrations…Ill never use those for anything. But! The color, the lines, the shape, THAT is what I will use in a painting maybe or an art journal page. Again, this board has no rhyme or reason, no rules, just a photo that catches your fancy.

Bonus tip to take your inspiration collecting to the next level:

Label what inspires you. On the pin or in your journal, make a note of why this image or quote inspires you. Is it the texture, color, lines, etc. Jot it down so you can remember later.

These are the places I keep things that make my head tilt, make me go hmmm, things that I can’t stop looking at or thinking about, but don’t know why. This is where I go when I need to be inspired instead of to a place to copy. I hope this sparks an idea in you for how to start collecting your inspiration!

If you want to learn more about translating what inspires you into your craft of choice, my new course, Travel Like An Artist, will give you over 25 tangible exercises for finding, storing, translating and using inspiration from your life. Join today and start making new, unique to your life, art. 

Tell me, what inspires you? Where do you keep the inspiration? 



Birthday Weekend Minibook

Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy BoxYou may remember, a year ago almost, we went to one of the magical islands of Korea to celebrate my birthday. I came home and immediately began working on this minibook but for some reason got stuck at the very very end. Serial project non finished here. So this past weekend I made myself finish a bunch of projects that were just sitting around waiting on one or two last touches. This book was really simple, as I followed by fool proof strategy. I printed only the photos I wanted to use, I chose a color scheme, then picked out a handful of card and embellishments in that color/theme and worked from a ‘kit’ that I made myself. This technique helps me narrow down my choices and keep my books cohesive. About 95% of the embellishments and cards came from a few Messy Boxes which have quickly become my scrapbooking supplies of choice. Now, onto the book! Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box Minibook by Lauren Likes using Messy Box

I love simple and quick albums. I love, even more, having books finished and in my hands so I can remember all the fun of surprise fun weekends. Now onto documenting all the fun to come this year!

Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions (no longer available).