Back to the Drawing Board

Here’s some artsy fun for those of you who like to sketch. Today I’ll show you how to make an inexpensive and easy homemade drawing board with no power tools required. These drawing boards are nice and flat and have a bit of give which makes them a pleasure to use. I made three sizes, one to use on an easel and the other two to use on my lap. I think they would also do all right as an inexpensive lap desk under a laptop computer.

You will need:

  • a piece of drywall/gyproc several inches larger than the paper you will be using to draw on. The best way to get this is to ask for a few scraps at a construction site or at a building supply store they often have broken bits that are too small for building but great for our purposes. Take care to select flat and smooth pieces.
  • ¬†2″ wide masking tape
  • A boxcutter or utility knife
  • Straight edge
  • pencil
  • An old box or something to protect your cutting surface
  1. Place drywall on a protected flat surface and mark out the size of your drawing board using the straight edge. Try to get the corners approximately square.
  2. Place the edge you will be cutting a few inches out from the table to protect the table. Then, using the boxcutter and the straight edge cut through the top layer of drywall paper.
  3. Grasp the edge of the drywall and snap it along the cut. It will (usually) break straight along the cut line and dangle by the paper along the underside.
  4. Flip the drywall over and carefully cut through the remaining paper with the boxcutter. Try not to rip the paper. It is way easier to flip it and cut from the paper side down rather than to try to cut along the chalky part.
  5. Smooth out the edge as best you can. It won’t matter too much if it’s a little rough because you are taping it anyway.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for remaining three sides.
  7. Take a 2″ wide strip of masking tape the length of the side you are working on and center it along the edge so that when you fold it over it is tight and even along both sides. Trim excess tape.
  8. Repeat for remaining sides.
  9. Ta Da! You now have a drawing board.

Please let me know what you think of the drawing boards in the comments below.

Thanks for dropping by and ’til next time, Shine, Just Shine!

~ Julie


How to Get Creative When You’re Crazy Busy

Do you ever get that nagging feeling that things aren’t quite right? You get up in the morning and race through the day doing tons of stuff and collapse on the couch with a book or in front of the TV, completely drained. And somehow, beyond all reason, feeling like you haven’t got a thing done. I can relate. Everything takes too much time. Or so I thought until I found a few creative hacks for the crazy busy.

Here are a few tools that helped me get back into the creative groove:Finding Time to Create - Journals IMG_3510

Keep a notebook of great ideas and projects you’d like to do. I have a few different styles, one has my own ideas and projects in it and another has little bits of artsy fun. Pinterest is a great source of artsy ideas and, a terrible time vortex! These notebooks are your guide to cool things you’d like to do.

Pick a few ideas you’d like to try and put them on index cards… or something Finding Time to Create - Play Time Cards IMG_3512more high tech if you prefer ūüôā¬†and take them wherever you go so while you are waiting (because face it we all have to wait a lot!), you take out your card and write down small steps that take 10 minutes or less. For example locating your drawing supplies or cutting out 2 collage images and so on. That way, when you are waiting or going from the laundry room to the kitchen, you can do a tiny little bit of prep so you can actually start your project. Then when you have a small block of time, it can be as little as 20 minutes, you can get started on the project. Tiny little bits of time can be filled with happy creative activity. Cleanup works the same way. The benefit of this is that it also increases happiness by creating anticipation and afterglow.

“Wait!” You may be saying to the computer, “this won’t work, I don’t have Creating an Art Pack to Go- packs IMG_3523a space to leave my stuff out.” Well, you don’t always need one. Sometimes you just need a bag or box. I prefer cloth because my cat has a serious plastic chewing habit. You can even put it on top of the fridge or on a hook to keep kids and pets out. In it you have your handy dandy notebook of ideas, your index cards (I store them in a pockets I make in the notebook) and some basic supplies (like your pattern, crochet hook and 1 skein of yarn, or a pencil case with pens, pencils, glue and scissors along with your art journal and a few pages ripped from a magazine to cut out and use for collaging). The point is keep it simple and keep it handy.

“Oh, come on! I don’t have time for anything!” you might wail. I hear you. Here are a few super simple ideas: – take a packing tag or small bit of watercolor paper, a few watercolor pencils, and¬†a water brush and make a mini painting.¬†If you prefer textiles, make great crocheted or knitted spa washcloths or¬†dishcloths for yourself and your friends. Or get a tiny notebook and a pen and take it with you everywhere. While you are¬†waiting for something, pull out your little notebook and create a cool doodle or¬†zentangle, write a six word memoir, try your hand at Haiku.

By keeping things simple and handy you can take a few minutes in the midst of the daily chaos to scratch that creative itch.

How do you fit creativity into your daily life? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for dropping by and ’til next time, Shine, Just Shine!

~ Julie



Creativity: Our Birthright

Creativity: Our Birthright

“Who do you think you are to follow your dreams?”

I am an artist. I am writer. I am a dancer. I am a musician.

“You’re not a real artist, writer, dancer or musician, no one pays you to do those things.”

I am.

I create.

Life sometimes hands you a gift like this little poem by Langston Hughes

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Shine, Just Shine is my dream and today I took the first step.

~ Julie