I love a good quote. I also love creating – and finishing – a watercolor sketch.
Combine the two and creating quote art is my favorite fast art practice of 2020.
I’m an encourager at heart. That does not mean positivity naturally flows through me. Developing a more optimistic, glass-half-full mindset has been a lifelong pursuit. It’s a constant work in progress. But thanks to a wise woman, I know the power of a well spoken word at the right time. Many years ago she told me the difference kind, genuine observation makes. “So few people notice the good in others. Even fewer people speak life out loud.” The right word at the right moment can influence and lift someone else.
If you’re not an encourager, let me let you into a little secret: the biggest battle most of us encouragers have is dealing with discouragement. Ironic, I know. So, along with learning to encourage others, I learned to encourage myself. That sounds weird, but it’s an important skills most people should learn.
Creating quote art is one way I encourage myself and stay encouraged.
At first, I created quote art cards as I listened to teachers and speakers, using watercolors to write memorable points.
Then I moved to pulling quotes and bible verses and adding them to illustrations.
Creating quote art is a fun way to boost your creativity, finish a project and have something lovely and encouraging for yourself or for someone else. (They’re super fun to send in the mail!)
Art made with quotes are also creative exercises we can do to “warm up” our creativity.
Creative warm up exercises are simple practices we do when our creative senses are feeling a bit dull. We may be tired, low on sleep, exhausted by too much work or family drama or hormones or all the above. I talked about it a little in this post and am writing more on the subject in a chapter of an upcoming book. Learning to move past that fatigue is hard, but we also know that passive forms of entertainment and distraction does little to restore us.
As I considered my own path and those around me, I realized how helpful it would be if we took some practice hints from our more athletically inclined friends. While they do practice an awful lot to gain mastery of their bodies and their skill set, they also warm up and they cool down. These exercises prepare their body and minds for the actual workout. I’m hardly athletic, but I wouldn’t dare go for my morning run without doing a few minutes of stretching and basic exercises.
Why couldn’t we do the same for our creative work? Some warmups that get us into the right emotional and mental and physical state to move into the deeper work of creating?
In this “Inspire Creativity” series, I want to share what I do to get inspired, stay inspired and continue to create.
I love art that is practical and lovely. Creating quote cards has so many benefits:
- Quote art can be made fast, in less than 30 minutes
- It’s fun. Who doesn’t love a good quote?
- They reinforce healthy mind habits.
- They’re something tangible to keep, give away or share in a prominent place in the home.
- Quote art encourages…our hearts, our minds, our bodies.
- One can use patterns and repetition of the same quote to create lots of different quote art, each piece having a distinct look (see example below of Jane Austen quote).
A simple way to create this fun project in less than 30 minutes:
Choose your quote. Pinterest is a good source for quotes. Other times I’ll use a search engine to search for more quotes if I’m looking for fresh content. I will use some of the quotes over and over in different kinds of art. For example, Elizabeth Elliot’s quote, “Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith” is one of my favorite quotes. If you follow me on Instagram or have been a reader of this blog for a while, you probably have seen me create art out of it. Below are two quite different renditions of the same quote.
Here are my (current) favorite sources for Quote Art:
As you can see below, I sometimes batch quote art, taping down two or three pieces of watercolor paper and moving between them. Moving from one painting to another and then back to the first one allows the watercolor to dry just enough before I add the next color without all the colors merging together.
Use scraps of watercolor paper or a 4×6 watercolor sketch pad.
If using illustrations, keep them simple. Usually the images I sketch are ones I’m familiar with: trees, flowers, stacks of books, sometimes a small home.
Finish the art with the quotes. Use watercolor or an ink pen (such as a micron pen). Sometimes I use watercolors to write in the quote, sometimes I use a micron pen. The less detailed the quote art, the more likely I’m going to write it in. Sometimes I won’t paint an image at all, I’ll simply write the quote with watercolor, then add in embellishments such as splatter art.
Note: If you are splattering watercolor onto your quote art, be sure to allow the watercolor quote to dry completely before splattering the paint. If you do not, the quote art will merge with the splattering and it will turn into a muddy mess.
Note #2: Don’t worry about having messy handwriting!
You’ll notice my handwriting is not fancy. Nor do I hand letter. But that doesn’t stop me. These are inspiring, creative pieces of art to encourage and uplift, not pieces I’m trying to sell. It’s not my goal to be a hand-letterer. Don’t let your lack of hand lettering skill bother you.
I hope this brief tutorial on creating quote art inspires you to try your hand at creating beautiful art. It makes for an encouraging project as well as a fun gift to share, or send as happy mail via the postal service.
Start 2019 in Paris!
Subscribe and paint the Eiffel Tower this weekend using a fun & simple watercolor + pen technique.