Jumpstart Creativity!

Jumpstart Creativity!

As an artist, I am often asked where my creativity comes from, or hear "non-creatives" talk about how hard it seems to get into a project. I'm a big believer in the idea that anyone can be an artist regardless of background or skill level. Here are some tips for those of you who think you can't create a masterpiece - I know you can! 

Start Cheap
If you’re nervous about the high cost or pressure of creating, consider using inexpensive materials, or things you already have.

Collage - Use old magazines, photographs, books from Goodwill, or found objects. You can cut them up without guilt, and recycle remaining scraps!

What you will need:

  • Cardboard or heavy cardstock- this makes a great surface to paste onto.
  • Glue, spray adhesive, double-sided tape.
  • scissors/paper punches.
  • Start simple - you don’t necessarily need a lot of elements to create a really cool composition!
  • Find a theme - a theme will help you when you’re gathering materials, and give you imagery to look for when cutting up magazines and books!


Zine - Zines are a quick way to explore a topic you care about and they are traditionally cheaply made. These can be fun to make copies of to give to friends, or distribute around town!

What you will need:

  • paper - regular copy paper works great, or you can print onto colored paper for an added effect!
  • Pens, pencils, markers.
  • An octavo fold works great for small zines - just google "how to fold a zine", to find a great tutorial.
  • Fold the paper and figure out where each page goes before you start drawing on the page.

Start Small
Sketchbook/Notebook: Buy a small notebook or sketchbook to make quick sketches when inspiration hits. This is very low-pressure because nobody else ever has to see it, but these sketches might inspire a work you are proud to show off.
In art school, sometimes hundreds of thumbnail sketches are required per-project. It is important for beginners to know that professional artists continually practice, plan, and fail. Great works don’t magically appear. Don’t get discouraged if your first attempt isn’t what you want it to be.

  • Ditch the internet. Websites like Pinterest have great, curated content and can be a source of inspiration. However, relying too heavily on others for inspiration can lead to your work not being your own.
  • Art films and documentaries are my go-to when I’m feeling low-inspo. They give me a sense of optimism about art and being creative. A few of my favorites are Beauty is Embarrassing, Abstract (Netflix), and The Self Practice (Vimeo)


My Favorite Creative Tools 

Most of these items can be found at any craft store or hardware store.

  • Red Micron 01. Sketching in red makes everything look better to me.
  • Pentalic Sketchbook. These are just a cheaper version of Moleskines. Gotta save that money.
  • Spray Adhesive. Gets everywhere, beware, but works wonders.
  • X-Acto knife. Use with caution, and know that every artist has earned their fair share of x-acto scars.
  • T-Square. Great for measuring and lining things up.
  • Self-healing cutting mat. I use mine for everything from cutting to backing screen-printing projects to using as a painting splash-guard.

If you have any questions or are interested in seeing some of my work, just visit Julia-Dobie.squarespace.com, or check me out on Instagram @juliaraie. 

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