The Secret To Making More Art!

The Secret To Making More Art!

by Jennyann Carthern 

This month I've been really diving deep into a project called 5th Avenue. It's a coloring book, I've been working on since taking Lilla Rogers Class way back in March. The assignment was based on 1920s hairstyles.

I instantly became obsessed with the idea, and while doing this project I decided that I'd finish it out as a coloring book. Well 6 months later, it's coming to pass.

Why so long? It was because of my focus.

Those of you who process an Artist mind, A.K.A. a mind overloaded with ideas and wonders, will understand what I'm about to talk about.

If you've ever watched Kitchen Nightmares, you'll know that one of the main reasons some restaurants were failing on that show, is because they had too many options on their menu. This overwhelmed the kitchen, the pantry, and the customers.

Well I too, had too many options on my menu. So many that it overwhelmed my work, my progress, and my time. How did I fix it and make it right and how can you do the same?


Do an idea brain dump. I needed to get all my projects out of my head and onto a single sheet of paper. I needed to see them visually.


Categorize. Take all your ideas, and place them into categories. I did this by thinking about goals first. I thought about what projects I wanted to get done in the next month, three months, and within a year. Then I thought about how realistic the aim was. This helped me to figure out which egg to hatch first.


Create a schedule for your project, with those goals in mind. NOT A TO-DO LIST!

The notion of a to-do list has been tripping me up for years. I thought that by writing down a daily task list, and then slaving to finish those tasks would help me make more art. I was wrong, though. I needed a schedule. A time and a place to make art and work towards those goals and tasks. If you want to be more creative, and make more art. You need a schedule, not a task list. This was my biggest Aha Ha moments of 2016, and it was life-changing.

When I started my coloring book for example. I knew that I also wanted to use the images for a 2017 calendar as well. This meant that I needed to make 12 images. So In the first week. I focused on sketches, to flush out my vision, and once I developed it. It was time to set a goal for finishing the main sketches. So, I set out to complete 3 line drawing a day for 4 days during my studio time. This gave me a daily accomplishment. As I'm still working on the project, I have daily goals to meet based off of my schedule not tasks.

This all sounds simple, but for some reason, when creativity knocks at our door. It takes the form of a door salesman, and presents us with all the possibilities but forgets to tell of about the cost. The cost for me was piles and piles of ideas and unfinished work. Don't let that be the cost for you.

Make room for artmaking, by focusing on finishing one thing at a time. Set deadlines, and work towards them. This is the secret to making more art.

Available Soon! 

Follow me on Instagram or Twitter for updates! @ Jennyannpaints

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An Intro To Scrumy!

An Intro To Scrumy!

Hi everyone, welcome back to The Time Management Blog Series.

I'm super excited about this last month in the series, because I get to share some of my favorite tools and apps for Time and Project Managment.  Take what you need from these tools, and make it your own. 

Today. I'm gonna introduce you to It's a great visual tool to see and manage all your projects at a glance. I've tried Asana, and a bunch of other tools. This was the only one, that seemed to click for me. Enjoy! 

The Artist Is Nothing Without The Gift, But The Gift Is Nothing Without Work.

- Emile Zola

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Check out past posts from this series! 

9.22.2015: Why Ask Why

9.29.2015: Daily Pick Me Ups

10.6.2015: Keep The Faith

10.13.2015: The Magic of Tidying Up

10.20.2015: Get Serious

10.27.2015: A Beginners Guide To                    Reckless Driving for Artists.

11.13.2015: Add More Energy

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Time Out!

Time Out!

You're doing an amazing job, with your morning routines, daily workouts, and motivational exercises. Now things are starting to slow down, and you’re adding minutes to your alarm clock, and taking more time to relax and chill. There’s nothing wrong with that. However you still have loads of work, and now tasks are piling up on a monumental level. You feel guilty, overwhelmed and just don’t know why you couldn’t stick to your schedule.

Well guess what. This is O.K. It’s also a part of Time Management. You are no robot, you are an organic, changing being. When your current suddenly changes. This is a great time to reflect, refocus your goals and to think about how far you’ve come. The point is to edit, and make changes in what was. If you want to sleep later, put it in the schedule, and make it work . This is the  time to create some new patterns that will kick you back into gear.

"Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out into the ocean." 

-Christopher Reeve​

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So please be kind to yourself. This is a part of the process. It doesn’t matter how many times you pause, as long as you continue to hit play.

It’s also a great time to see whether or not you’ve been overworking yourself. So it’s important to start scheduling more time for play in your schedule to balance out the work. Schedule it just like any other appointment, and make it a playdate.

This time is a blessing, because it allows you to stop, pause, and listen to what your heart is calling you to do.

If this is the place your at today. Take a moment to Reflect, Edit, and Schedule in some play time. Don't wait, do it now! 

​Check out past posts from this series!

9.22.2015: Why Ask Why?

9.29.2015: Daily Pick Me Ups

10.6.2015: Keep The Faith

10.13.2015: The Magic of Tidying Up

10.20.2015: Get Serious

10.27.2015: A Beginners Guide To Reckless Driving for Artists

11.3. 2015: Add More Energy To Your Day

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Add more energy to your day!

Add more energy to your day!

Where focus goes, energy flows.

To a certain extent I believe that, because like most Artists. I’ve lost myself in my paintings. Disappearing for hours during the process of painting, until I realized it was done. When you focus all your energies into what you want, energy flows to it.

That’s not what I’m going to talk about today though. Today we’re going to look at how to get more energy to do the work you want to do. You know what I mean. You just got off work, and you’re exhausted. It’s the only time you have to work on your art though. It’s times like these where it seems that energy is lacking.

You might me doing everything you need to self motivate yourself to get up and work, but it’s still not helping. Here’s why.

Energy doesn’t just come from the mind, it comes from the body. You see you have to develop a health plan for your life. It’s time. One specially designed for you from you. You have to raise the standards on what goes in your body, so you can reap the rewards of all that comes out of it. Being healthy, More Alert, More Fit, and More Energized.

That’s where energy comes from, that’s the final icing on the cake.

I by no means am an expert in this area, but I do know that when I started adding exercise to my day. My willpower was higher and I had enough fuel to carry me through the entire day.

It also had to do with what I was putting into my body, and paying attention to how certain foods made me fill. See pancakes in the morning may be a norm in homes across america, but pancakes zap your energy after eating them. This is where you have to pay attention and really figure out how to make a better choices, not only for your health, but for your goals.

You see I’m not telling you to go on a diet, lose weight , or to stop eating foods you like. I’m telling you to start realizing how food affects your productivity, and your goals, and how you can start changing that. If you like pancakes, plan the best time to eat them, it shouldn’t be when you have a pile of work to do. Ihop serves them at night..

We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are. ~ Adelle Davis
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Today I’d like you to create a health plan, one that designed by you, customized for your life. It’s goal is to fuel your body with more energy, alertness, and health, so you can get the best slice out of life.

Here’s how:

  • Spend a week writing down what you eat, and jot down it you feel tired afterward. This will help you record the foods that steal energy from your body. Also jot down what foods kept you alert, and energized. These are foods that fuel your day.
  • Add more fruits and veggies! Go google which one’s have the most energy, and then start adding more of those to your meals. Start by researching 3 Vegetables and 3 Fruits. Then play around with some recipes, while still being mindful what in the recipe can cause your energy to dip.
  • Find a workout that you LOVE. It doesn't have to be formal, or at a gym, it just has to get you moving. Like walking your dog. Something you can do daily to add fuel to your body. It can even be dancing in the mirror for 5 min. Have Fun!

​Check out past posts from this series! 

9.22.2015 : Why Ask Why!

9.29.2015: Daily Pick Me Ups!

10.6.2015: Keep The Faith!

10.13.2015: The Magic of Tidying Up! 

10.20.2015: Get Serious

10.27.2015: A Beginners Guide to Reckless Driving For Artists

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A Beginners Guide to Reckless Driving For Artists!

A Beginners Guide to Reckless Driving For Artists!

Do you have a Morning Routine?

Coffee usually starts the day for most of us. Me. I’m not a fan of coffee. It’s usually water, juice or tea. Anyway after that, what comes next? Depending on your career, or lifestyle. It could be a hop in the shower, then a commute to work, or some early morning emails, and online browsing. Maybe dropping off your kids to school. Oh and don’t forget breakfast.

This is your morning routine. Weather it was purposeful or not. It’s sets the tone for your day, and gets you going. What happens though, if you slow down and start recognizing patterns in your morning routine. Perhaps your being clumsy with your time, by spending so much of it surfing the web,  and fiddling your emails.

Your routine may be comfortable for you now, but I’d like to know how much time are you spending working on your creative work? Do you wish you had more time for it? Are you waiting until you retire, because then you’ll have lots of time?

Well I know a shortcut. It starts with your morning routine, and until you realize how it impacts your creativity.You’re never going to have enough time for your creative work.

So let’s start by realizing the purpose for a morning routine.

The main goal of a morning routine, is to tap into your brain fuel first thing in the morning. After all, science says that this is the time when your brain is most alert, and it’s willpower it’s highest. So why not use this brain fuel to power your day. That’s why it’s a good idea to add exercise to your day, first thing in the morning. Your willpower is at it’s highest. After that it starts to fade.

The best way to start by asking yourself a few questions every day, and jotting down your answers. I jot my down on notepaper that has a line down the middle. On one side I write today's priorities, and goals, and then below that I’ll write down what I wish I could also do today. On the other side I write people I’m waiting for, and people I need to contact. I also write appointments and meeting below that.

 Here’s how it works.

1. What do I want to accomplish today? Another way of phrasing this is What do I want to succeed at today. Steve Jobs went about it like this.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. -S.J.

2. Do I have to contact anyone today?

This starts by listing who you need to contact today, but also who you need to contact to move your goals forwards. Here’s an example.

You’ve made the time to create a new body of artwork, and you’re super thrilled about it. 20 new pieces! These deserve to be seen in a gallery. Where do I start?

Start is by listing the steps that you need to take that'll get your work in a gallery. Weather by researching galleries that mingle with your style of art, and then jotting down who (contact) you need to send samples to.

3. Who I am waiting for. ie. Who am I waiting to hear back from. 

So you’ve reached out to your contacts, and now you’re waiting to hear back from this. Artist often misunderstand this step. They contact someone, and then just wait. Here you wait for a while, then if no one replies after a few weeks or months, “Not Days” deepening on what it's for. You go back to your list, and you reach out again. Not in an aggressive way, but by way of a reminder, like how have you been doing if it’s a friend. Or by sending in a sample of your lastest work.

4. What are my Top 5 have-tos, also know as Priorities?

This is the time to really plan your day, by figuring out what you need to get done, and what you have to get done. . Then after you figure this out. It’s where the magic happens. Below this is where I usually write down what I wish I could do today. If this means being creative for you, or making some Art. Put it here, and be specific about. Like 10 minutes of drawing. Then if you’ve finished all your priorities, do it!

If you find that time still isn’t being nice to you. Then it’s time to add Art and Creativity as one of your top 5 priorities. Minus the excuses. It's not a maybe at this point. It's a have to.

5. What am I grateful for? 

You can start with Three good things that went well for you recently, and how they made you feel.  This allows you to become more positive, sleep better and Yes, even improve your immune system. So express your gratitude daily, and then watch your outlook on life change.

P.S. As fabulous as I like to think I am. Questions 2 and 3 were  recently added to my morning routine. I discovered that the Author and Business Coach Brendon Burchard and I shared a similar mindset when it came to jotting down my goals to plan the day. I however was missing numbers 2, and 3. It was significent because it was the final piece in making my day as an Artist more productive.

Here's the link to his productivity worksheet he talks about in the video. I also still like jotting things down my own way on my pad of paper, so just take what you want from it, and incorporate into what works for you.      P.S. I am in no way an affiliate of Brendons products or business. I just love his thoughts here, wanted to share them with you. 

So what does driving recklessly have to do with making art?

Well being in the drivers seat puts in control of what direction you'd like your creative life to take. You can drive reckless, and never have enough time to spend working on your passion. Don't be reckless with your passion. Start steering it in the right direction. 

I saw a qoute by an unknown author that said. Routine doesn't allow us to progress. 

I believed this a long long time ago. I know better now. Morning routines allow you to be spontaneous, by realizing your goals first thing in the morning to break in your day! 

Here's a peak at my morning routine and the routines of some other famous creatives. 

6:30 a.m:  Wake Up! Tall glass of water, sometimes tea.

It used to be 4:00 a.m., but I discovered that I like to paint at night.

6:45 a.m:  Exercise....Oh yes. I try!

I choose either a cardio, or a strength, if I can’t decide I’ll flip a coin. I also think about benefits of health do I want to work on.

7:00ish: My list.

I  jot down my goals, and priorities for the day, along with everything we talked about in this post.

7:30 a.m: I open my laptop.

I head to my email to reach out to my contacts, and then see if I received any messages back from the people I jotted down on my list.

8:00-9:00 am: I let my rebellous side free! 

I’ll have some me time, and do whatever the heck I want to. It’s how I get procrastination out of my system. I’ll watch a show on netflix or comcast online.. “One” or I’ll go look through my instagram, facebook, or twitter, and maybe post some things. I’ll also eat breakfast. It’s usually a tofu scramble, with broccoli, potatoes, and a vegan or vegetarian sausage. Sometimes even a bagel and tofutti cream cheese. Or a waffle, or vegan french toast. This largely depends if I went grocery shopping. When I haven’t that’s when I grab the flour for waffles or vegan french toast.

9:00 am: I'll start working on my projects and goals for the day! 

Discover how some of the world's greatest minds organized their days.
Click image to see the interactive version (via Podio).

Check out past posts from this series! 

9.22.2015: Why Ask Why? 

9.29.2015: Daily Pick Me Ups​

10.6.2015: Keep The Faith

10.13.2015: The Magic of Tidying Up!​

10.20.2015: ​Get Serious

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Get Serious!

Get Serious!

Welcome to Part 2 of It’s About Time. The Time Management Blog Series for Artists.

This part of the series is all about navigating our day to day. In order to make time for our creative habits. We have to gain some control over our day. That starts by implementing systems, structures, and routines.

This is far beyond what my past self would had said.Who was a rebel against the notion of structure and creativity being in the same sentence. However back then I was spinning in circles. Yes I reached a few of my goals, but it also took me twice as long, and I never really finished or jumped on projects. It even cost me an opportunity to publish a children’s book with a major publisher. Why, because I didn’t have all my systems, structures, and routines in place. The publisher had loved my picture book dummy, and wanted me to make a few edits in the story, then send it back to them. I never got around to it, and eventually lost the contact information. So I hope you understand, no I need you to understand that this is important.

"The grass is greener where you water it.  "

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We as Artist have to start expecting more for and from ourselves. We have to lay down the myths that exist. That says we’re messy, we’re not financially literate, or that we’re starving. Maybe this is true for some of you. If so, that shouldn’t stop you from making improvements in yourself. It shouldn’t stop you from learning, growing, and advancing your skills. Those myths are excuses we Artist use to justify our shortfalls and bad habits, to say it’s O.K.

Is it O.K. that none of your work ever gets to be seen or  sold. Is it O.K. that you never have time, energy or money to make the art that lays deep within you. Is it O.K. that no one takes your art seriously! It’s not O.K. and until you start taking your Art seriously, no one else will.

"Learn the rules like a Pro, so you can break them like an Artist." -Pablo Picasso

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So this week I’d like you to make a list of excuses you’ve been using to justify your shortfalls bad habits. Then I want you to write an apology letter to your creative self, stating three things you’re going to do to make improvements so you too can move forward more successfully with your art.

Then next week we’re going to dive into a Morning Routine or Ritual that works for you.

Check out past posts from this series! 

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