Manage Your Monsters: Sketchbook Techniques for Creative Resuscitation | Avery Jepsen-Minyard | Skillshare

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Manage Your Monsters: Sketchbook Techniques for Creative Resuscitation

teacher avatar Avery Jepsen-Minyard, Artist & Imagination Enthusiast

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (1h 2m)
    • 1. Class Trailer

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. What Is Perfectionism?

    • 5. Meet Your Monsters

    • 6. Monster #1: Ideal Conditions

    • 7. Monster #2: The Blank Page

    • 8. Monster #3: Timidity

    • 9. Monster #4: Realism

    • 10. Monster #5: Decision Overwhelm

    • 11. Monster #6: Time

    • 12. Monster #7: The Critic

    • 13. What's Next?

    • 14. Conclusion

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About This Class

Do you struggle with perfectionism when you're making art? 

Do you ever feel like there are little monsters getting in between you and your creativity? 

If so, you’re not alone! As a perfectionist myself, I have always struggled with putting pressure on every single piece of art I make. It wasn’t until I adopted a more imperfect and playful sketchbook practice that I was able to find more freedom in my art-making practice. I’ve identified 7 ways that perfectionism has interfered with my creative process, and I’ve turned them into Perfectionism Monsters! 

Over the course of this class, we’ll learn to manage each of these 7 Perfectionism Monsters with playful sketchbook prompts and techniques designed to build your confidence and reignite your creative spark.

I’ll show you how to: 

  • Incorporate a ritual into your art practice
  • Mess up your sketchbook pages to make them more approachable
  • Build your creative confidence by working big
  • Use your imagination to transform the world around you
  • Set gentle parameters for your drawings
  • Find flow in drawing meditative patterns
  • Exercise self-compassion while making art!

All skill levels and ages are welcome. This class would be great for:

  • Seasoned artists looking to generate new ideas or mix up their current art practice
  • Beginners looking for a relaxed way to start an art practice
  • Perfectionists of any kind! 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Avery Jepsen-Minyard

Artist & Imagination Enthusiast


Hi, I’m Avery!

I’m an artist living in Portland, OR. Watercolors are my medium of choice, but I also love experimenting with other media (especially fluorescent ones) in my sketchbooks. I think everyone has the capacity to make art, should they choose to pursue it, and I love encouraging other people to be creative! 

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1. Class Trailer: Perfectionism is the mechanism our brains use to protect us from failure. As artists, it can feel like there are a bunch of little monsters just getting in our way whenever we want to make art, coming up to tell us little messages that we're not doing it right, that we don't have enough time, that we're not good enough, that it's too scary and that we should just quit and try something else instead. My name is Avery. I'm an artist in Portland, Oregon. I'm a perfectionist. I'm also here to encourage you to keep creating despite your little monsters. Making art has always been a really big part of my self-care routine, or at least I thought so until I realized that I have picked up some very harmful art-making habits. I become so obsessed with making perfect works of art that I've forgotten how to enjoy the process at all. As soon as I started maintaining a more playful sketchbook practice, I noticed a couple of things improving, so my confidence grew in art-making. I had more ideas and I had more energy for art projects, and my mental health improved. I just felt better overall. I was making an effort to spend more time with myself in a compassionate way, not putting pressure on what I was making, but just letting myself relax and enjoy the process of drawing, like I did when I was a kid. In this class, I'll walk you through seven different ways that perfectionism can show up. Each one is a different monster, each one has a message for you, and each one, I'll be proposing a solution to help deal with that monster. For example, we'll practice working big in our sketchbooks to help manage the timidity monster. We'll practice making a drawing with a set of parameters to help manage decision overwhelm. We'll be using our sketchbooks to create finished imperfect drawings. The goal of this class is really to help you build the creative confidence you need to keep coming back to your sketchbook and your creative practice in spite of your perfectionism. The class is divided into seven lessons, which means they could easily be done over the course of a week, if you'd like a deadline for yourself, or you can take them at your own pace. We'll use our imaginations. We'll draw a little bit from the world around us. We'll listen to our inner voices, get messy, and most of all, we'll just have a lot of fun. This class is great for anyone who struggles with perfectionism, no matter where they are on their creative path, and anyone who's interested in reviving more of a loving, playful, creative practice. I hope you'll join me on this little adventure of meeting our monsters and working in a playful way on our sketchbooks. 2. Class Project: The project in this class is going to be a series of sketchbook exercises. Each of them is designed to work with and manage a specific perfectionist monster. We'll be using our sketchbooks to create finished drawings. They won't be perfect, that's the goal. We want them to be playful and low stakes. Since it's divided into seven lessons, you could choose to do this class over the course of one week, if you want to give yourself a time limit, or it can be done at any pace. You're welcome to watch and draw along if you'd like to. Most of my videos will be a little bit sped up, so I don't expect you to be able to draw quite as quickly, but I always like having company when I'm making art. If you feel comfortable, I really hope that you'll share some of your sketchbook work with us. I'll be sharing a lot of examples of my sketchbooks, both good and bad, over the course of this class and I'd love to see what you're working on too. 3. Materials: As far as materials go, I encourage you to use what you have already. Maybe you want to try out some materials that have just been gathering dust on your shelves, maybe it's something you want to explore that's a little bit new to you. The paper in my sketchbook is relatively thin, so it's not going to work very well with paint. Of course, you could use paint for all of these exercises if that's something that you want to try, but just keep in mind that it might be a good way for perfection as a monster to pop up and tell you to procrastinate. They like to do that. I need my own sketchbook and by made my own sketchbook, I mean, I poke two holes on a bunch of papers and tied them together with a knot, so nothing fancy. The paper I'm using inside my sketchbook is like 67 pounds, so it's borderline cardstock, which I like to work with. We'll have some supplies that are just for preparing the sketchbook before we start working in it, so acrylic paint, a stamp pad if you have it, a cup of tea or coffee or any drink that will stain something. As far as drawing supplies go, I'm using really basic stuff that I already had in my house. I'll be using a big sharpie, some colored markers, a highlighter, a colored pencil, and my favorite Gelly Roll pens. I'm using Gelly Roll midnight pens, which work really nicely over black and the fluorescent versions are super bright and fun. I'll have a complete list of the brands I'm using in the class description, although anything you have around will do just fine. I'm really excited to get into these monsters with you, and I'll talk about perfectionism a little bit more in the next lesson. 4. What Is Perfectionism?: Since all of the lessons in the upcoming videos have to deal with perfectionism, I thought I'd take a little bit of time up of the top, just to go over a working definition of perfectionism, especially as it applies to artists. At its very base, perfectionism is the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection in your art practice. If we break that down even more, perfectionism is really just the fear of failure. This can show up in so many ways while making art. It can show up in procrastinating, because you're putting something off that you're afraid you'll be a failure at. They can show up in refusing to accept compliments because you feel like your art isn't good enough to deserve praise. You might obsess over how things could go wrong. Not finishing a project because you're worried you won't be able to make it perfect, or not starting something because the risk of failure is too high. As perfectionists, we have really high standards for ourselves in our art practice, which is a good thing on one hand because it means that we keep pushing ourselves to hone our skills and keep getting better and better. But on the other hand, if it's left untended, perfectionism can really get in the way. In my experience, perfectionism starts to affect people who are older, especially people who are getting back into making art as an adult, because there's such a disconnect between having an idea and putting it down on the page. I feel like younger people and kids tend to not overthink that process, which is where we get into trouble as adults. One of my favorite examples of this is my friend Audrey, who is the daughter of one of my coworkers. She would come into the office and we gave her this notebook full of blank paper. While I was at work answering phones during my job, she would be over in the corner just filling this book with characters. Every time I would turn around, she would have done like three or four drawings in the span of 15 minutes or so. Audrey was really good at creating impulsively. She didn't overthink her drawings, and she just let them develop organically as she drew. She also had a lot of fun drawing. I learned a lot from drawing with her. I tried to make more of a conscious effort to incorporate those elements of play into my own creative practice. I wanted to be able to create without overthinking it, to be able to just grab any supplies that were around and start making a drawing without judging it every step of the way. This whole approach that Audrey used of creating impulsively and playfully without any pressure is a really good antidote to perfectionism. I've identified seven ways that perfectionism has showed up consistently for me, and turn them into seven monsters that I think a lot of other people deal with when they're making art too. These perfectionism monsters will be the basis for the upcoming lessons. In the next lesson, I'll introduce each of them. 5. Meet Your Monsters: Because perfectionism is something that's so ingrained in us. We need to learn to deal with it when it pops up. I don't think we can ever defeat our perfectionism monsters completely. But we can get to know them, understand the messages that they're trying to give to us and keep some solutions on hand for dealing with them. Imagine that all of these perfectionism monsters are like your employees that you never hired, but they're just sticking around. It's up to you to manage them and to delegate or undelegate the tasks. Their jobs which you never hired for are to protect you from failure. They're going to get in the way whenever you are taking creative risks. In the next seven lessons, I'll be introducing a different perfectionism monster and offering a solution to help keep them at bay. Here are their perfectionism monsters will be managing in this class. First step is the ideal conditions monster. This monster tells us that everything has to be just right before we can sit down to make art. Number 2, is the blank page monster who tries to stop us from beginning of drawing before we even make the first mark. Number 3, is the timidity monster who keeps us from working too big or too boldly in our sketchbook. Number 4, is the realism monster who can make us obsess over making our drawings accurate. Number 5, is the decision overwhelm monster who can bog us down with creative options while we're making art. Number 6, is the time monster who tells us that time that isn't productive, isn't valuable. Finally, monster number 7, is the critic who tells us that our finished artwork is not good enough. If all of these monsters represent the ways our perfectionism can stop us from making art, then our sketchbooks are the sacred ground, or we can be brave enough to try managing all of the monsters. In addition to the upcoming drawing exercises, I'll be walking you through one for each monster. There are a number of monster antidotes, I'll keep coming back to over the course of this class. These are just some little reminders you can keep in your [inaudible] whenever you are making art. Setting parameters, it may seem intuitive, but setting gentle limitations for our drawings can actually free us up for more experimentation. Will work to set parameters and rules for all of the upcoming sketchbook drawings. Whether that means committing to a specific subject matter or picking out a limited color palette. Commit to your marks. Even though it's called a sketch book, I would encourage you to try really hard not to sketch things out for drawing, this might feel really scary and it can feel like you're faking it. But I think practicing committing to your lines can be a really helpful exercise in building your creative confidence over time. Imagination; allowing yourself to be playful with whatever subject matter we're working on. Bonus points, if anything feels really silly or it makes you laugh. That's always my mark of a good drawing. Self-compassion; allow yourself to approach these exercises with as few excitations as possible. Your monsters are going to show a lot of resistance at first depending on how long it's been since you've talked to them and that's okay. This class is about learning how to co-exist with your monsters. Enjoy the process. Even though some of the other exercises might be challenging, even though you might feel resistance from your monsters, try and find some little parts of them that you can enjoy. How can you really lean into parts of the art-making process that make you happy? Done is better than perfect, especially when we're talking about stuff in our sketchbooks. My perfectionism tends to come out when I'm trying to wrap up a drawing. Sometimes it's really hard to say this is the last mark I'll ever make on this drawing that's final. But I want you to get used to the feeling of finishing and moving on to the next thing. It doesn't mean you're never coming back to the drawing in your sketch book, but it means that you're done with it for now. Let's get started. 6. Monster #1: Ideal Conditions: As a lifelong art supply hoarder, my perfectionism shows up a lot in waiting for the perfect art supply, or pen, or sketchbook, or paper to come along to really take my art to the next level. The ideal conditions monster says, everything has to be just right before we can start making art. Everything has to be perfect. The truth, of course, as we all know, is that nothing will ever be perfect. So we need to do what we can with what we have to create a friendly environment for you to start making art. My best solution to this monster is to just create a very small achievable ritual that you can use. Something that can separate you from your regular life. Something to signify, this is when we're making art. This can be a lot of things. You might want to use one of your favorite mugs to drink tea, you might want to light a nice candle, or gather some precious objects to keep nearby for company. Take a of couple minutes and find something that you can keep nearby to help make the art process a little bit less scary for the next video. 7. Monster #2: The Blank Page: When people found out I was drawing again as an adult, I would receive a lot of art supplies and sketchbooks as gifts. I was thrilled to receive gifts, obviously. That's awesome. But it was a great opportunity for me to fail, and I was really terrified of all these mounting blank pages in front of me. I didn't feel like a good enough artist to deserve them or to use them, but what I was really looking for was permission to make my mark in these sketchbooks, no matter how fancy. The blank page monster says, "Your art will ruined me. It's too scary to start from scratch. This paper is too nice for you." Again, this is just your perfectionism protecting you from failure. I have a few techniques that I'll talk about that you can use to make your sketchbook a little bit less intimidating. But what I want you to remember is that you are in control of the space. Your sketchbook is whatever you want it to be. It does not need to be in Instagram worthy. You don't need to share it with anybody. It can be just yours. So really let your intuition guide you here. What feels good to you? What kind of marks you want to make in your sketchbook? How scary is the blank page and how much do you want to cover the page up? Basically, all of these techniques are designed to help you not start from scratch. So you're not opening your sketchbook to a completely perfect white page every time. You'll need a writing implement of your choice. Acrylic paint, a paintbrush, a jar of water and a towel, a stamp pad if you have one, and any kind of beverage that will leave a stain on your page. You can absolutely pick and choose from all of these techniques, but I want to encourage you to do this first exercise along with me. It may feel very silly at first, but I think it can be really valuable to give yourself permission on the first page of your sketchbook. This little message from yourself can give you encouragement on off day, and it can serve as a reminder next time you visit your sketchbook that it's already been marked as a safe space for you to experiment. As an added bonus, your permission slip can serve as a cover page, so you're not looking at an old drawing every time you open your sketchbook. I'm going to write, "I deserve to be here", on the first page of this sketchbook. So I'm giving myself a loving message, something to start this book off on a good note, then we can move on to the next techniques. The next technique is to make a mess. Tea, coffee, or any other beverage that leaves a stain will work for this exercise. This is a fun way to add some texture and color to your sketchbook pages, and it feels really wrong to purposefully spill your drink on a book. It's a real challenge for me as a perfectionist, but working off a page that has already been stained is really freeing. I have a strong cup of tea. I've spilled a little bit into the saucer underneath it, and I'm just going to use the base of my teacup as a stamp. As I turn the pages and continue stamping my way through my sketchbook the tea stains will come off on the opposite side of that spread. They'll make some interesting symmetrical patterns. And they might also drip into the binding or bleed through onto the other pages. This is a really good exercise in letting go. Depending on the thickness of your pages, putting this much liquid on them can warp the surface of the paper. This is an effect I actually enjoy because it challenges me to work a little bit differently than I normally would and makes those initial blank pages less intimidating. The next technique is to cover some ground. So instead of staining the plain white pages of your sketchbook, you can cover an entire spread with acrylic paint. This not only creates a new texture for you to play with, because acrylic paint will change the feeling of the paper that you're working off of, but it also has the added benefit of taking a color decision off of your plate when you come back to the spread next time. Even just working with black over a colored background can be really compelling and fun. I'm working with a damp brush to spread this paint is thinly as I can across my paper. This is another good opportunity to not get too concerned with making it perfect. I'm coming up really close to the edges, but I'm not falling off the page, so I don't risk my pages sticking together. While you're painting your sketchbook spread, have a little scrap paper on the side so you can paint yourself a test swatch with the paint you're using. Once this is dried, you can experiment with the different materials you might want to use, so you can see how they layer over the paint. Which materials feel the best to you? How does adding paint to your paper change the feel of it? My go-to materials for drawing over acrylic paint are colored pencils, sharpies and gel roller pens that you might make some interesting discoveries. The test swatch can be really important because there are some materials that have a tendency to not dry completely when they're used over acrylic paint, because acrylic paint repels liquid. So this will save you a little bit of heartache in the end too. The next technique is to add some texture. I'm using a stamp pad to add some texture to the sketchbook spread. It's on its way out, but it makes an interesting pattern if I stamp and drag it across the page using up the rest of the ink that's in there. Here's an example of the same technique but with a darker stamp pad, it has more ink in it. Both of these stamp pads use permanent ink, so I know that they won't mix with the other media I layer on top of them later on. If you don't have a stamp pad, you can get creative with other ways to add texture to a page. You could use a kitchen sponge dipped in acrylic paint, or a leaf or a branch or fabric. The options are really endless and this is an opportunity for you to have fun, just get messy. Take some time to go through your sketchbook and see if you can make a mark of some kind on every single page. When you're noticing the fear of the blank page monsters starting to creep in or your shiny new blank sketchbook is stopping you from making a drawing, give yourself a physical permission note to use your sketchbook. So you always have a message from yourself to look back on whenever you turn to that first page. What message do you need to hear from yourself next time you sit down to make art? Mark up your pages without overthinking it. I promise you the first mark is the one that will be the hardest, and it will just get easier as you go along. Experiment with different texture techniques. So you have lots of options next time you come back to your sketchbook. Embrace the mess. This is the ultimate antidote to the perfect white page and a good way to practice letting go. These exercises, however you approach them, should just serve as reminders you've already touched every page of your sketchbook, and now it's your own personal territory for new and fun art experiments coming up. 8. Monster #3: Timidity: When I first got back into drawing as an adult, I got very hung up on line work. I would use these tiny little 0.005 micron pens and make really painstaking fine details in my sketchbook. I didn't take up a lot of space and I didn't really feel like I deserve to take up space because my art skills weren't where I wanted them to be. The timidity monster says, ''If we work small, our mistakes will be small.'' That is true. But it also means that we're keeping ourselves in a little box that doesn't need to be there. We're like a little plant whose roots have grown and we needed a bigger pot. It wasn't until I started experimenting with big basic shapes in my sketchbook. Instead of starting with line work that I really felt like I had more creative freedom. I started to look at things around me, not in terms of impossible to replicate tiny lines, but more in terms of their big basic shapes and the potential behind them. Pretty much all of the exercises in the upcoming lessons will have this approach, we'll be looking at basic shapes and simplifying things as much as possible in our sketchbooks. But I hope that slowly over time, working with shapes instead of line as the first stage of a drawing in your sketch book will help you to grow and confidence. It's definitely helped me quite a bit and it's really helped to inform a different style that I work in now. Your assignment for the timidity monster is to practice working with big basic shapes. Create a sketchbook spread with two big imaginary creatures in it. Try and fill as much of the page as you can. As far as materials go, keep a limited palette. I will always recommend this. Choose two contrasting colors, one for each creature, and then choose up to two other colors that will layer well on top of the ones you've already chosen, those are the ones we'll be using for details. Again, I'm going to keep reminding you to find where you can relax and enjoy the process. Because taking up space, if you're not used to it can feel really weird and a little bit vulnerable. Find the places in the drawing process that you can relax and think about how your two creatures will interact. I've chosen a sketchbook spread that has some texture I want to use for my background. This is a texture I made with this stamp pad. Here are the supplies I'll be using for my two main shapes, I'm using a black sharpie and a pink marker. Then for my details, I'll be using a hot pink in a white Jelly Roll pen. We're going to jump right in and get some big simple shapes done as quickly as possible. Try to take up as much space as you can with this first shape, more than half the spread. Try to avoid lifting your pen up off the page when you're putting down these initial shapes and you'll be less inclined to overthink your shape this way and let your line flow around the shape you're drawing. This is a great opportunity to practice commitment to the marks you put down. We'll be completely filling the shape in. These first lines are super low stakes. I'm adding some ears here. I'm not redefining the lion as much as I'm changing the outside of the shape that I'm drawing. Since we're drawing imaginary creatures, they can really look however you'd like. I tend to draw these big, rounded creatures, but your creatures could be spiky or blobby or whatever feels good to draw. For this next shape, how is interacting with the first creature? Mine are facing each other. I'm going to maybe have their faces looking at each other. Yours could be standing in a line. They could be stacked on top of each other. We could just be seeing your second creature's feet because it's really tall. We'll talk about this a little more in an upcoming lesson. But filling in these big shapes with whatever tools you've chosen is a really good opportunity to practice, relaxing, and enjoying the process. I'm always looking for the little pockets in my art practice where I know my creative decision-making is done. I can sink into the physical sensation of drawing even just for a couple of minutes. I can make small adjustments as I fill in my shapes and intuitively round out the parts of my creatures as they come to life a little more. Now that the big basic shapes are down and they've had a minute or two to dry. It's time to add details with your other art supplies. What are the simplest face shapes I can add to give this creatures some personality? My favorite part to start with is the pink noses. I'm going to use my Jelly Roll pen and you can see it lighten as it dries over the course of this time-lapse. Working in layers like this is one of my favorite ways to work. Not only because it translates to painting, which is what I mainly do for my art practice, but also because it requires me to commit to things in stages. Once I've established the initial shapes and fill them in and adjusted them a little bit. I don't adjust them again. I just let them be and move on to the next stage. We're going to be using that process in almost every lesson in this class. I think it's a really good exercise for perfectionists because you're working on committing and recommitting to those shapes that you're putting down. You're not fussing with things forever. Once one stage of the drawing is over, we don't return to it. Of course, you can always come back to your drawings and change them as you see fit. But giving them a little bit of space and committing to finishing the whole process before you do so, I think it's really helpful. Next I'm adding eyes with a white Jelly Roll pen. This is a good place to experiment with different eye shapes, especially if you don't have a go-to technique for drawing faces. I'm waiting to make sure the eyeballs are dry before I add anything else on top of them. I'm going to make my creatures interact in another way. They're already standing next to each other. They're interacting there, but making their eyes look toward each other can help me tell even more of a story about who they are and what their relationship is. I'd like to add little hairs to my creatures to indicate that they might be fuzzy. Although I've stopped drawing every single hair, It's something I used to do. I'm adding a speech bubble as my final finishing touch. This takes up a little bit more space on the spread, so I get an extra gold star for that. Also, it gives me a chance to practice lettering, which I really enjoy. It's one more way that my creatures are interacting with each other. Not only are they bear like and they have a relationship, but they can also talk. We're getting a lot of information about these guys. With that, my drawing is done. I hope this exercise was a good challenge for working big and also using your imagination. Taking big basic shapes and turning them into friendly creatures can be a really good way to make the process feel less intimidating. I hope that it's something that you can continue to work on in your sketchbook. We'll be applying a lot of these techniques to the next couple of monster that we talked about in the next lessons. You'll have an opportunity to keep working on these basic shapes as we go. Managing the timidity monster. Challenge yourself to work as big as you can in your sketch book. Experiment with imaginary creatures. What shapes do you enjoy drawing? Committing to big shapes right away, frees us up to work on smaller details later. It's easiest if you just dive in and let these big shapes give you a place to relax. Where can you enjoy the process? I can't wait to see what kind of imaginary creatures you come up with. Make sure to share them with me in the gallery. 9. Monster #4: Realism: When I talk to people about making art, a lot of people tell me, I'm not creative or I can't draw, and I just don't believe it. I don't think it's true. I think every single person has the capacity to make art. But I really think those people are trying to say is that they can't draw the way they want to, or they can't really translate what they see in the world perfectly to the pages of their sketchbook. Wanting things to be realistic is a really big perfectionism monster and I think it's the indicator of where perfectionism starts, especially when we're growing up. For example, when I was in fourth grade, I have a very clear memory of trying to draw a picture of my mom. She was wearing her reading glasses and I had drawn this part of her face perfectly. I was so proud of myself. I had the hair, eyes, nose, everything looked just like her, except when I got to her mouth, I could not figure out how to draw it. I would draw it, erase it draw it again, erase it. I ended up with this half-finished drawing of my mom with a gray sneer where I had erased her mouth a million times and I just gave up on it forever. One of the tragic things about getting older, I think it was just having more ways to judge ourselves especially when it comes to making art. Because looking back, it would have been really great for me to finish that drawing and I could see what my fourth-grade self thought of my mom. That would have been a nice piece of my personal history that I'm sad I didn't get around to finishing. The real is a monster tells us why draw something if it's not going to be accurate, if it's not going to be perfect, if we can't perfectly replicate what we see in the world, right into our sketchbook. As you've probably noticed, I tend to work in a style that doesn't rely completely on accuracy or being realistic. I found that I enjoyed drawing and painting objects and characters and creatures and weird stuff that exist in a different reality from ours, there are different rules. Giving myself that freedom to disconnect my art practice from reality has really encouraged me to make a lot of new creative discoveries. It's informed my whole style and my way of working. I want to encourage you to try this on to, you have the power to transform anything that you look at, no matter how simple or seemingly unimportant into something extraordinary, that's the power of art. I really believe that this is one of the best things you can do for yourself is to reconnect with your imagination, especially as an adult, especially if you feel like your world is a little bit lacking in the magic department because it can make the world feel a little bit a friendlier place. The world is hard enough as it is without trying to make a perfect hand or trying to do anything perfectly really. When you're living your life and you're going around just looking at things I want you to start to imagine how you might transform them into something else. Everyday objects might become the basis for a character, you might play with scale and notice that these mushrooms might be a really awesome backdrop for a little imaginary monster. You might have a friendly face on a tree that you walk by every day. You'll also start to notice places where people have taken it upon themselves to inject a little bit of their imaginations into your life. I just think that makes the world a better place. Once you start to look at the world more in this way, you'll start to notice patterns. Shapes that tend to come up over and over for you. I'm a big fan of shrubbery. I just love a trimmed little tree like this I think it's very funny. But you also start to notice colors that you like. We're always looking at building our visual vocabulary so things that might pop up later in your creative practice. All this to say is that the solution that I'm proposing to the realism monster is to just temporarily throw realism out the window. Your assignment is to transform an everyday object into a little character with the personality in your sketchbook. Choose a simple object that appeals to you, something with a shape that you might like to draw. Make sure to limit your color palette and keep the colors unrealistic too. I choose a funny, sprouted onion that has been neglected in my kitchen for a while. But I really like the way it looks. It has a lot of character already. I'm going to draw the general shape of this onion in my sketchbook and then transform it into a character without thinking about a realistic transition. I've chosen four colors here, so another limited palette, but blue and pink are a nice departure from the way this onion actually looks. I'm playing with reversing the colors here too. I'm using the cooler color, the blue for the onion bulb, and the warmer color, the pink for where the greens are. Just like we did in the last lesson, try and take up as much space as possible in your sketchbook spread of this initial shape. As much as you can try to keep your mark-making tool on the page and moving. Use the object as a jumping-off point so don't worry about replicating exactly, but allow it to inspire a shape that you can turn into something else. I'm refining and rerunning the outline of this onion to get the shape that I like and I'm picking and choosing what to include. I'm simplifying the shape as much as I can as I go. I like the way these two colors are overlapping. They're creating a nice third color where they intersect. This is going to be my character's head and I'm going to let the rest of my character's body fall off the page. It'll be a bust or a portrait of this little person, onion guy. The next layer is adding a face and you have this little scrap paper over here to get my gel pens moving because sometimes they can group up. Try and make your decisions pretty quickly as you add more details, anywhere you put a face is exactly where it needs to go. You're in control and just allow your imagination to guide your hand and see what happens. Then I'm make accessories and my character to give them more personality. I think glasses are always my go-to to make something look a little more sentient. But you could add some jewelry, interesting clothes. Using bright or unrealistic colors like this can help create that separation for you because then you've really created something that's entirely new. My transformation from a normal object into an imaginary friend is complete. I hope this exercise helps to ignite your imagination and takes a little bit of pressure off of the realism aspect of drawing. When you're running into the realism monster in your art practice and you're getting hung up on replicating what you see in the world perfectly to your page remember that, any shape, no matter how accurate can be the starting place for something really magical. Start keeping a shape collection if that's something that inspires you. Take some pictures when you're walking around your neighborhood or scrolling through Instagram forever. I see you, I know have taken a hard stance against accuracy and realism and I'm sorry if I've offended you. But learning to draw realistically is really about building your basic observational skills. Even with an exercise like this, you're still learning how to look at things and you're always taking in information. The more you do this, the more you'll be able to see things, and the more you'll be able to translate them to your sketchbook. I'm really excited to see the characters you come up with. Feel free to share them in the project gallery, and I'll see you in the next lesson. 10. Monster #5: Decision Overwhelm: We've talked about filling our sketchbook spreads of big basic shapes, but what happens on those days when you just don't know how to draw, and it feels like making art is just a series of creative decisions you have to make? Feeling overwhelmed by decision-making is a great environment for you to give up on your sketchbook. The decision overwhelm monster says, I don't know where to start. We better not make art. There's too many choices to make. As a solution for you, I have a very basic exercise that I think will come in handy. We're going to be creating a grid of faces. This exercise is really about taking out as many decisions as we can. We're committing to our choices ahead of time, and then just giving ourselves a place to play. Here's what we've already figured out ahead of time. Number 1, composition is a grid, done. Number 2, subject matter, human faces, done. Number 3, we're going to be using a limited palette, as always. Number 4, we're going to break down all of these drawings into stages. Because we're committing to one subject matter, that means we can lay out all of the basic shapes ahead of time, then we can make a bunch of different passes through all of these phases and add to them as we go. We've already been doing this, in the previous spreads that we talked about, but this spread is a little bit more assembly line style, and making pretty quick decisions as I go along, and each stage is really clearly defined, so I know when I'm done. The benefits of this approach are, we know the layout works ahead of time because it's a grid, grids tend to always look pretty good, I think, and it's a sneaky way for us to practice a bunch of different variations on one very specific theme. For us, we'll get to try out a bunch of different faces. We can experiment with shapes and different styles. It's also a good way to explore a set amount of supplies and see how they interact with each other, how they lay on top of each other and make new colors, depending on what you're using, and I think you'll find it's really relieving to get a few decisions out of the way before you begin drawing. Grab some supplies, and let's get to it. I've got a sketchbook spread that has some texture I'd like to experiment with. I'm going to do a four by two grid because I think it'll fit nicely in my sketchbook. When you're laying out your grid, just make sure you have enough space around each of your head shape so you can add to them and they can grow into their future selves a little bit as you draw, lay down your initial shapes with as much confidence as you can. Like we talked about before, getting his big shapes down. This next pass, I'm going to add some ears, optional. Took up all my characters. You can see that I've added only one ear to those two characters in the right-hand corner. That's a little creative shorthand that I do for myself, so I know that in the next pass, I'm going to have those characters heads facing a slightly different direction. I'm going to have them looking at each other, just to play with those interactions. You can experiment with different hairstyles here. Keep it simple, and find where you can enjoy the process. I'm using this colored pencil to color in the hair, which is making a nice texture that I really enjoy, and giving myself a little outline before I start coloring it in is making me feel like I have less decisions to make. I'm making my decisions quickly, and then I'm giving myself a place to enjoy the process. People who have hair that comes down under the base of their head, I think it's a really funny effect, so I have one of those. Drawing things like crack me up is a really big part of my creative practice. I'm always trying to make things a little weird for myself. Next pass, just add noses. There they are. I'm varying the size and shape. I'm not thinking too much about their placement, just slapping them on the faces. I'm enjoying the field of using this little fine tip pen to color them. In. The next pass is eyeballs. I'm using the same shaped eyes for all the characters, since they're really small, and I use the simplest cartoon anatomy rules when I'm drawing people. They're not very realistic, but typically eyes are about halfway down the head, and they're parallel with the tops of your ears. Keeping them placement consistent is useful for me, especially on this assembly line approach where I'm trying to make as few decisions as I have to. I'm adding eyebrows for some reason, going backwards through this grid, I don't know what I was thinking. I'm living dangerously by working the opposite direction through wet ink. Adding pupils and mouth with my blue gel pen. You can play with the eyes looking different directions, characters interacting with each other like these two down in the corner here, giving each other a nice little look. This final pass is the chance to give extra personality to your characters, if it feels like something you'd like to add. My drawing is done. Repeating this exercise might reveal some patterns to you. There might be a color palette that you wind up using over and over that really works well for you, you might find a couple of characters that keep showing up in your spreads, and you also might find that a certain style solidifies. You might learn more about the way that you like to draw, which is sketchbook gold, honestly. Try some different variations on this too. You could do robots, and animals, you could do plants, just remember to keep your initial shapes really simple as per [inaudible] and go from there. If we're dealing with the decision overwhelm monster, how can you limit the decisions you have to make? Commit to a layout ahead of time, start an art assembly line. I think this exercise is a really good one to do if you just have a little bit of creative time. You could set up your face shapes one day, you could come back the next day and add noses, next time we were back at eyes, it can really build gradually over time. It can be nice to have one of these grids going in your sketch book all the time, so when you turn to it, you know exactly what needs to happen next, because these people have no eyes. Find some meditation and the repetition of this exercise, how does that feel, and remember to just set parameters for yourself. It's one of the best things you can do. I can't wait to see your grid of faces. Remember to share it with me in the project gallery. Let's move on to the next lesson. 11. Monster #6: Time: Everyone's got a different story about time. Either we have too much or too little of it. We have the wrong kind of time. We're running out of time. Our time isn't productive. It's too productive. Even as someone who loves making art. I still have trouble finding time to make it, but I don't have a hard time scrolling through Instagram and looking at other people's dogs. Part of this as because sometimes it feels like whatever I'm working on isn't going to be productive, or I don't have enough energy to make some real headway on a serious art piece. Of course, I would argue that any amount of time you can spend in your sketch book is productive. Making messes and making art that you don't like as productive, even if it feels like it's not. There is a monster that tells us that we should be doing something else. Why would you spend time doing something if it's not going to be productive? Especially because making art is so risky, your assignment is to give yourself permission to use time inefficiently and maybe even lose track of time by making a meditative repeating pattern in your sketch book. I used to not be able to understand why someone would want to spend time filling up a really big shape with their really little marker. I would watch videos of other artists who use a really fine tip pen to fill in a really big space, and I was like, why don't you just use a giant paint brush, you'd be done by now. But now I can really appreciate the more meditative aspects of this, because art is such a big part of my self-care process, I find it really useful to sprinkled these more meditative drawings into my other practices. They give me a chance to take a little bit of pressure off of the outcome of my drawings, which is always something I'm trying to get better at. With this pattern, give yourself parameters as always, and see how you can make a pattern with the least amount of decision-making. How can you use this time inefficiently? Maybe use small tip markers to fill in bigger shapes and really let yourself enjoy the process of doing so. The added effect or the bonus of this is that we, as viewers get to see this really nice texture that you've spent time making. We can just see more of your hand in the marks that you're making too. I keep coming back to the number 4, but I think you should limit yourself to four different colors here. Maybe you limit yourself to four different shapes. If it's helpful, you can draw them out ahead of time. I always like to give the shapes the rule as I go actively drawing and assembling a pattern like this over time is a really great way to use your time inefficiently, quiet down your time monster. It's also a good place to relax into the process. I've chosen this pre-painted sketchbook spread and a few markers and a pencil. I may or may not use them all, but I like the way they look together. If you're having a hard time deciding on which tools to use for a pattern, just pick one and go for it. There are lots of different ways to make patterns, but I like to use a randomized assembly line approach. I make rules for myself and make choices intuitively as I go along. Thinking about this pattern coming together in stages, like the grid of faces we did before. Keep a shape or a few shapes in your mind and see how you can arrange them on the page one shape at a time. If it's helpful, you could draw these out as a little key for yourself before you begin so that you can commit to your choices, but don't plan it out any further than that. I'm going to start by laying down the biggest shape first, and then I'll work through the pattern in stages, adding the smaller shapes to the pattern as I go. First, I'll draw my big blue flower shapes of my highlighter. I'm going to play with rotating them and falling off the page. I happen to know this highlighter works well over my acrylic paint background because I tested it out on my swatch beforehand. My role for this shape is that, they're just not going to touch each other and I'm going to rotate them randomly. That's all I know. Drawing slowly, really committing to my shapes here, so I can get to the fun part of filling them in and relaxing. You could do all your outlines first and then color them in whatever feels best to you. Falling off the page here. Those are dry and my green flower shapes are going to come in next. Same shape as the blue ones, and the rule for these ones is that they're always going to touch a blue flower. Drawn the outlines first. Rotate them randomly and then coloring them in. Using this fine tipped pencil to really get some nice texture in there. Just enjoying the feeling of drawing over paint. Overlapping shapes is a good way to experiment with color here. How did the different colors look when they layer on top of each other? How can you use your time inefficiently as possible? I'm really liking the texture that's coming out of this pencil. Next shape, one of the smaller ones, little irregular shape I'm going to draw with my gel pen. The role for this shape is that they're just not going to touch anything else. It'll be scattered around filling of the blank spaces, laying them out ahead of time, creating a coloring book for myself. I can go back and fill them in. Here's a really fine tipped pen that's nice to draw with. I'm not thinking too much about the result here. Just meditating on all these blues and greens, which are so nice together. For the final touch, I'm adding these really bright dots. Just anywhere that feels like it could use a little something. Adding a pop of really contrast and color at the end of making a pattern can be a good way to fill blank space. I'm done. As you can see, my end result is a really imperfect pattern. Looking over it now, I can see all these ways that I might want to change it if I wanted to make it more perfect, which I'm trying not to. If I wanted to make it more symmetrical, if I wanted to make it evenly distributed. But the point of this exercise was letting go of those expectations. I really enjoy this process. I was surprised at how the highlighter drew over the paint. That was a nice almost watercolor effect that I didn't anticipate. Then also using my green colored pencil to really make a nice colored pencil texture, I found that really relaxing and I could really let myself relax into those shapes and enjoy the process, which I think is a success. When you feel like your time could be better used elsewhere, or you're having trouble finding time to use in your sketchbook, even just for five minutes, how can you give yourself permission to use time inefficiently? How can you pick the smallest art supply to fill up the largest shape? Any amount of time you spend working in your sketchbook is valuable even if it's just five minutes. Even if you spend all of those five minutes filling in a third of a shape, let yourself get lost in the drawing process. Really let yourself feel the physical aspect of coloring something and it feels good to you. Remember, you do have plenty of time and you definitely have enough time to make art. 12. Monster #7: The Critic: The critic is the part of your brain that holds your entire practice up to unrealistic standards. I really envision the critic as being like the state director of all the other monsters. It's the boss. It's Like walking around, holding a clipboard, looking very disappointed. As you're making art, the critic is delegating and sending these messages through other monsters to you to get in your way. When all that fails and you do finish a piece, or you finish a sketchbook spread, the critic pops up and it was like, this is too risky, you're a bad artist, those are just bad. You are safer if you don't try making art because then you'll be less likely to make mistakes. We know the critic is trying to protect you from failure. It's not a big surprise that after you finish something, you'd be judging the end product very harshly. The question here is how can we calm the critic down after we've made something? I think it's important to maintain some relationship with your art practice, both past, and present. It can be really cathartic to visit your old sketchbooks and see where you were at 10 years ago and compare it with where you are now. I think it's a good record of your progress as an artist. You can see where you are struggling, maybe some different monsters used to come up for you, and now they don't. You also might surprise yourself and be inspired by old ideas you have, and maybe at that time your skills weren't quite where you wanted them to be, but now you feel like you can use those ideas to make them into something new. For our final exercise in dealing with the critic, your assignment is to give some love to a past sketchbook piece. This could be a piece that you were overall unsatisfied with and put it away for a couple of years, or a couple of days, or a couple of hours, or it could be something that seems a little bit unfinished. It might have a lot of blank space or big fields of color that you might want to layer on top of. This could also be a sketchbook spread that you really hate. See you might want to paint over it and start fresh. It's also a good way to practice some time-traveling, self-compassion. If it's been a while since you've made this piece of art that you're going to be drawing onto, how can you communicate a message to the person you were when you made it? What did you need to hear at that time? Here are some examples from my sketchbook where I went back and wrote little messages to myself. You can incorporate some new media, or some texts if you'd like. That feels good. Just anything to turn an old piece of art into something new, and bring it up to date. I'll be revisiting my sketch for drawing from the last exercise, my little onion head. This spread has some extra blank space around it that I can fill up and some fields of color that I can play with layering on top of. I'm going to briefly consider where I want to start drawing before I just jump in with my highlighter. I'm using all the same art supplies as my last drawing, but you can use whatever you'd like. I want to draw something coming out of this hand and maybe add some more shapes to the spread. This could be some magic or some little ghosts. Depending on what kind of drawing you're adding to, this can be a good excuse to experiment with layering, or drawing over some existing artwork and combining some of the techniques we've used already in this class. If you really don't like one of your old pieces and it really bothers you, how can you recycle it into something totally new? You can paint over most of it with acrylic paint and then draw on top of that something totally unrelated. You can color over it with black ink and draw on top of that with gel pens. I'm just adding some little shapes here to fill up the space there to turning into little ghosts. I'm going to draw a little pattern on this shirt I think. A little more contrast. It's more interest to the shirt. I'm using my very small pen to color and shapes. Then I'm using the assembly line approach again here. If I'm training this to go so I'm just going to draw other faces, one face at a time. For those noses, I'd like to do, I think I'm out with my white gel roll pen. It doesn't always take much to change something you're unhappy with to something you're happy with now. This was our final monster for this class. The critic doesn't know what he's talking about. He's got a job to do. I'm here to tell you that any art that you make in your sketchbook, any time you spend with your art supplies is absolutely valuable, and it's an important part of who you are. When you feel the critic creep in after you finish something, remember that your sketchbook isn't static. It's always there. You can always return to something that you thought was finished. You can always look back and reference the shapes that inspired you. You might be surprised at what you find. Something that was really cringey can actually be really appealing. Some ideas that you thought you couldn't bring into fruition, might be more achievable now, you never know. Practice some time-traveling self-compassion. It can be really cathartic to revisit some old pages where you are struggling with one of the monsters we've talked about so far. See if you can combine some techniques we've used to create something new out of something old and shove it in your critic's face. I can't wait to see how you apply these techniques to your sketchbook. I hope that it helps you keep the critic at bay. 13. What's Next?: In my experience, sustaining a creative practice is just as much about cultivating a healthy mindset about creativity as it is about putting in the hours to hone your craft. I wanted to just briefly go over a couple of my tips for sustaining a creative practice after you're done with this class. First of all, be gentle with yourself. I know this may seem obvious, and I know I've probably talked about it a million times in the other lessons, but this is so important. This goes for your creative routine too. You might be someone who really wants to carve out some time every day to work in your sketchbook. But just be careful that that's not another perfectionism monster that's getting in your way. I've had some experience with committing to daily practices because I read in a book that some famous artists did it. But it doesn't mean that it's going to work for everybody. Once I missed one day, I'd feel really guilty and it felt like a failure and it's just not. Anytime that you're devoting to your sketchbook is a success. Please remember that being creative doesn't mean you need to draw or make art for 10 hours a day, every day. It means you're open to inspiration wherever it appears. It means you're looking at building your shape collection, like we talked about, that you're starting to notice things that inspire you. That you're collecting colors that you want to incorporate into your art, that you're learning to see things in a different way that translates to your art. Personalize your practice. Because you're a different person every day, different things will work for you every time you sit down to make art. Sometimes I want to listen to music, sometimes I listen to a podcast. I like to keep an arsenal of good stuff going in the studio so that whenever I come in, I have something I know will keep me there for whatever amount of time I'm dedicated to my art practice that day. Make yourself a little sign to hang up in your creative space with a little message that you need to hear. Mine says play. I used to have a sign that said practice, but I realized it was really stressing me out. Now I'm thinking about the play when I'm coming into the studio. You could try making your own sketchbook. There are lots of really awesome Skillshare videos on this. I really like making my own sketchbooks because I can pick the paper and I feel the pressure's really off because I'm starting with a very imperfect book. Keeps some variety in your practice. I cannot tell you how many times this has happened to me, but I'll be working away on a painting and I'll get to a place where I feel really stuck, and then I'll take some time away from it and work with a completely different medium. By the time I come back to the painting, I'm reinvigorated, I can see the answer. Sometimes plugging away and grinding on a project is not what the project needs. I'd encourage you to try lots of different things in your sketchbook, really mix it up. You could experiment with paint or collage, you could try out different markers, you could dry crayons, anything, keep it varied and keep it fun. I also have what I call the wet brush rule. That's basically the idea that if you have a little bit of paint left on your brush, you just paint until it's gone. Sometimes that means I'm starting two more paintings at the end of my painting day, I'm just putting some basic shapes onto a couple of new pieces of paper on my sketchbook and a more abstract terms, that means if you have literal materials that you need to use up before you wash your paintbrush, use them up. But also if you have extra creative juices in your brain or wherever creative juices live in your body, use them up. Because we know that every day as humans can be a little bit different and our creative inspiration can vary from day to day, how can you invest your excess creative funds into yourself, into your sketchbook so that next time you come back on an off day, you already have something to work from. Maybe you finished a drawing and you have an extra five minutes, that means you can lay out a grid of faces for the next time you come back. It could mean just taking a few minutes to sharpen some pencils so that next time you come back to draw, you can just start right in. Draw your monsters if new ones come up for you or the monsters that we talked about in this class show up looking like different monsters, draw them in your sketchbook. Giving a physical shape to these shadowy monsters can be really helpful. I really enjoyed drawing the monsters for this class and now I can envision them popping up when I'm running into them. Come back to these exercises anytime you're feeling stuck or if your monsters are popping up. I hope these techniques are ones that you can turn to time and time again. I hope they inspire you to keep drawing in your sketchbook. 14. Conclusion: We have dealt with so many monsters together. I really hope these exercises were helpful, and I really hope you'll keep turning back to them as you fill your perfectionist monster show up. Thank you so much for joining me for this class. I've had so much fun working on these monsters and making these lessons for you, and working on my own perfectionism, and putting this class together. In the next seven lessons, I can't wait to see the art that you make, the ways that you use these techniques in your sketchbooks, and the way that you deal with your monsters as they pop up. I believe in you. As a recovering perfectionist, I'm here to talk about all things perfectionism. Just drop a comment in the comment section, ask me any questions that you have. I hope to see you again. Bye.