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Happy January and 2023! I am very excited to see what we create in the days, weeks, and months ahead!
The first Creative Spark prompt will be sent out on Friday, January 20th. I decided to begin a little later in the month so that we can get settled into our routines and ease into things.
Before we begin, there are a few more things I wanted to share: what to expect, a note about the prompts and sharing your work, 3 things to prepare, a warm up exercise and a bonus exercise (both are optional, I thought they might be fun to try)!

  • Prompt & inspiration emails will be sent on Friday mornings. 
  • Check-in emails will be sent on Tuesdays. They will include inspiration from our community as well as a tip and/or PDF.
  • You can find all past emails/prompts and the official calendar for the entire year at the Prompt Library (you can download and print a copy of the calendar if you'd like!)
  • There's also a PDF Library (where you can find all the PDFs I send in one spot.) The first PDF is a mini calendar I created and mailed to early bird subscribers. I wanted to share the PDF version with everyone in case you'd like to use it! Each month features a different quote by a different artist that can be cut out and used in collages, multi media pieces, etc.
  • And I'm putting together a Resource Library (with YouTube Videos/blog posts/books for more instructional content, ie: how to create a collage, how to use gouache paints, etc.)

My intention with these prompts is to give you a starting point, to spark an idea, to encourage thinking outside the boxes we may put ourselves in, and to look at things from a different perspective. It's not about following a prompt exactly and there is no “right” answer. Go in whatever direction it leads you towards. Be open to whatever you feel inspired to do. The only thing you're not allowed to do is put pressure on yourself or listen to any critical self talk! Be present, have fun, and enjoy your process, however it may unfold!
I encourage (and hope!) that you'll share with our community your thoughts, ideas, process photos, and/or final sketchbook pages. All you have to do is reply to an email and I will include it in the following check-in email. (If you'd like something to be kept between us, just let me know!) 
Sharing our work can be really scary but please know that this group is made up of some of the kindest and most open-minded creatives I know! There is no judgement, just an exchanging of ideas and energy and inspiring one another. It doesn't matter what level artist you are or how much experience you have, the unique way you interpret the prompts and the marks you make are valuable. Seeing what we are all making helps cultivate a sense of community that I really enjoyed in the past so I hope you'll consider sharing :)
There is NO pressure at all to share on social media, please do what feels comfortable for you. If you will be posting, I'd love for you to tag me so I see it and share it! If you're using Instagram, please add the hashtag #creativesparkNL so we can easily connect and see our posts in one spot. (I'll try to include any posts I see in the check-in emails too!)

    • Refer to the previous email for supply suggestions and a few of my favorites
    • Use whatever tools you'd like/what you already have! You're NOT required to buy anything or have a wide range/variety of supplies. Utilizing what we already have or what's around us in new and different ways can be really exciting and fun!
    It's so much easier to get started when you don't need to clear off a table or find space to work on!
    • It doesn't have to be big or fancy--a kitchen table, a corner of a desk, etc. Just make sure it's clean and uncluttered.
    • If you're able to, leave your sketchbook out on your workspace so you can walk over and get started anytime/right away. If you can't, keep everything you'll be using/need in a box/basket so it's easy to grab and begin. (I recommend doing this either way, esp. if you get messy like me :))
    This might be the hardest to do but it's the most important! Commit to making time for this practice that you want to do and enjoy doing:
    • Consider what days/time frames work for you. It can be flexible and change throughout the year but if you're able to schedule it in/have dedicated time, it really helps!
    • It doesn't have to be a lot of time, 15 min is a great place to start.
    • Get honest and come up with a plan you'll be able to stick to! It's OK to start off small, you can always increase the time/# of sessions as you go!
    • Set alarms and reminders (I do this for just about everything!)

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Take some time to look through your supplies and see what you have to work with. Test them out to make sure they work, get a feel for them, and see what colors they make on paper. This can be a great way to break in your sketchbook and get those first few pages going! 
You can create a reference (draw in boxes for swatches then notate the medium and color) or just start painting/coloring/drawing to create an abstract piece! Do whichever sounds the most fun to you--keep it easy and relaxed! This can also be an on going project where you continue swatching until you go through all your supplies. 

Inspired by a year of stitches, I thought we could create a year of marks to help us document our creative journey throughout 2023! Below is a suggestion of how you can do this but feel free to interpret and execute however you'd like.
  • Use a large piece of paper, such as multi-media or watercolor that can withstand different mediums. Pick a size that's easy to frame so you have the option to do so later (I think 11x14 would work well.)
  • Split the paper into 12 parts to represent each month. I like the idea of using tape to create a border and peeling it off as each section is completed. You can also split it up into circles, other shapes, or keep it loose and less structured without any guidelines.
  • At the end of each month, fill in a section/add to this piece of paper. It can be a swatch of a color, using a tool you've connected with, making a small drawing or painting in your current style, or doodles and notes.
  • Put your year of marks sheet somewhere visible throughout the year. Tape it onto the wall, keep it on your desk, add it to a bulletin board so it isn't out of sight out of mind.
Here's another beautiful example of this idea by Karen Turner who hand embroidered a section of cloth every single day in 2022 (365 seems like quite an undertaking so I thought we could start off with the 12 for each month)! She's doing it again this year and trying different templates, I like being able to see these beginning stages!

If you haven't filled out the short survey I shared in the previous email and would like to, you can do so by clicking here
Keep an eye out for the first prompt of the year that will be sent out in a few weeks! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the warm up exercise and thinking about creating a year of marks page! 
Talk to you soon,
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