20 minutes a day will build an art habit. Start today!

Supplies

  • paper
  • paint
  • glue
  • magazines
  • gelli plate
  • scissors
  • tape
  • sewing supplies
  • friends to cheer you on and for whom you can cheer

Misty Granade

Misty is ever-so-slightly obsessed with paint, glue, and paper. Her interests range across a variety of arts and crafts such as contemporary visual art, mixed media, book binding, crochet, and yarn spinning. When she isn’t in her studio slinging paint or gluing things together, she loves to read, cook, and spend time with family and friends.

I’ve always considered myself an artist. But there was a long stretch of time in my 20s and 30s when I didn’t make any art. I wanted to call myself an artist, but I didn’t have any art to show for being an artist. That drive to realize the title of “Artist” for myself is what called me to an art habit. And that habit made me into an artist.

In 2013, I made a New Year’s resolution to make something every day. At first I didn’t know what I liked to do–or could do!–so I tried anything that caught my fancy. My project parameters were to work for 20 minutes a day on something creative and then post a picture on the internet to keep me accountable.

I continued what I called my Make Something Every Day project in 2014 and 2015. In 2016 I only missed two days out of the whole year. By 2017, I considered myself a working artist, so I retired the Make Something Every Day project because I was consistently spending 20-30 hours a week in my studio.

I’ve made mono prints with a gelli plate, collages, postcards, art journal pages, books, altered books, travel journals, art on paper, art on canvas, crochet, a tiny bit of knitting, yarn spinning, paper marbling, pocket shrines, and artist trading cards. If it’s about gluing paper together, I’ve likely tried it. I’ve blogged about my art, built a website for my art, and this year began selling my art on Etsy. I’ve done two 100 Day Projects where I sold the pieces and raised money for charity. I’ve had art shows at local galleries and I’m preparing for a show in 2020.

I realize that this is the place in the infomercial where I tell you that you can have all of this for four easy payments of $29.99. But I’m going to tell you the secret for free. Are you ready?

It’s about showing up for yourself and your art every day. It’s about carving out time and keeping that time sacred for your wellbeing. It’s about letting a few chores go or delegating them to someone else in your house. It’s about not letting Netflix show you the next episode automatically. It’s about making a deal with your significant other that you will have 20 minutes of art time before your usual weeknight activities. It’s about getting up 20 minutes earlier and gluing things in your book before work.

But it’s also about NOT dragging yourself if you miss a few days because work was really hectic or if someone at your house is sick. Just make a deal with yourself that you will get back in it as soon as you are able. And then follow through.

Keep a notebook for ideas, or a Pinterest board or a saved file in Instagram. But don’t spend more time putting things into those idea buckets than you do on the actual work. When you are bored or feeling burned out, that’s the time to flip through your idea spaces and pull out something fresh to work on. Changing up what you are working on is one of the main tricks to keep from getting burned out. Don’t forget to get some sunshine and exercise; that keeps us fresh too.

I’d like to tell you that there’s a way to *think* yourself into being an artist, but it’s just like everything else: you have to show up every day for your artistic endeavors. 20 minutes a day is a bit over 121 hours in a year. 121 hours is definitely a habit.

When are you starting?

Action Steps

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Build a 20 minute art break into your schedule.

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Do it every day.