Discover the Magic of Blind Drawing: 5 Tips to Unleash Your Creativity

Simple still life of jam jar of flowers set up for a blind drawing exercise

Have you ever tried blind drawing? I often use this technique as a warm up exercise as it’s super good for helping me to free up. This intriguing technique allows you to tap into your artistic instincts, creating unique and expressive artwork. By relinquishing the urge to see and control every line, blind drawing opens doors to a world of artistic exploration and surprises. In this blog post, I delve into the fascinating world of blind drawing and share my five essential tips to help you embark on this no pressure creative journey.

Simple still life of flowers in a jam jar for a blind drawing exercise

1. Embrace the Simplicity: Blind drawing doesn’t require expensive materials. Grab a jam jar from your kitchen and fill it with water. Now, head outside and collect a few flowers or leaves, which will serve as your subjects. This cost-effective approach allows you to focus on the fundamental principles of blind drawing without breaking the bank. Try to select an unusual shape of jam jar to give you an extra challenge.

2. Prepare the Background: Before you start blind drawing, consider preparing an interesting background. You can use watercolours, acrylics, inks or any other medium of your choice to add depth and texture to your canvas or paper. This provides a visually captivating foundation for your blind drawing experiment. You could also try collaging some scraps of paper onto the background sheet to give create interest, and provide something to respond to.

3. Trust Your Touch: When engaging in blind drawing, you rely solely on your sense of touch and hand-eye coordination. Choose a drawing tool that suits your style and preferences. I do like to use a fine liner pen but you could also try pencil, charcoal, art graf, biro or coloured pencils, just experiment with different options. Each tool offers a unique tactile experience, enabling you to create a variety of effects and textures.

4. Let Go of Perfection: Blind drawing encourages you to let go of perfectionism. Embrace the imperfections and unexpected results that arise from this technique. Allow your hand to wander freely, following the contours of your subject without the interference of your sight. The beauty of blind drawing lies in its raw and spontaneous nature.

5. Explore Texture and Form: As you progress in your blind drawing practice, experiment with different techniques to capture texture and form. Vary your line weights, explore cross-hatching, or use shading to add depth to your drawings. Blind drawing presents a unique opportunity to explore the tactile qualities of your subjects and express them on paper in unconventional ways.

Blind drawing is a captivating technique that invites you to explore your creativity without constraints. By using a simple jam jar, cost-effective natural subjects, and a variety of simple drawing tools, you can embark on a journey of self-expression and artistic discovery. Remember to embrace simplicity, let go of perfection, and trust your instincts. With these five tips, you are now equipped to dive into the enchanting world of blind drawing and unlock your artistic potential.

Why not give it a try? Click here to see a short video

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Three things you should know when deciding to Show At an Art Fair

How do you know if an Art Fair is the right place to show your work? For any artist, this can be a big decision as there is a lot of preparation, time, and financial cost involved. 

Picture showing banner for art fair outside Landmark Arts Centre in Teddington

The three most important things to consider are research, affordability & practicality.

Let’s cover the basics first, location, date, and costs.

Where is the fair? Is it close to where you are based? Will you need to pay for accommodation, food, transport, and parking?

Are you available for the dates of the fair? Will you be able to finish and frame the work to meet the deadlines of the fair, including labels and pricing?

Do you know any artists who have exhibited at the fair in the last year? Consider reaching out to them and asking them what they thought. Can you get hold of a previous catalog or list of artists and check them out? Prioritise investigating who is organizing the event. Check if there have been any changes to the management. 

Do you know any people who visited the fair as customers? What did they think? Did they buy any art? Was it easy to buy art? Did it feel spacious or were the artists crammed in? Was there a generally good vibe and buzz at the event? Were people leaving with paintings?

Can you find out what the footfall of the last fair was or the expected footfall for this year? Are there any reports of the previous year’s sales numbers? Remember not to compare yourself to other artists. Making sales is not the only goal. However, being armed with background facts on this topic is an advantage.

What is the process for sales? Are the artists responsible for packing or is there a packing facility managed by the event organizers?

What sort of publicity and marketing is on offer? Is there a social media presence? What excitement is being created for the event? Are there signposts in the local vicinity directing visitors to the event?

Is there plenty of parking for visitors and are the transport networks good?

Recently a friend did an art fair in Central London where there was no parking during the week, so she had to pay for a courier to deliver her work, meet them at a specific time and then hang her work in an allocated one-hour slot, this all needs to be taken into account as it can impact your costs.

Do you have time to attend the fair, so you can see for yourself if your work would fit, what the visitors are like, what the set-up is like, is there a buzz at the fair? Are sales being made? 

Is there an entrance fee for visitors? Is there an opening night? Does this include additional attractions of refreshments or music? 

Most important, the fair needs to be the right fit for you. Will you be able to meet the deadlines, cover the costs, deal with the logistics, and feel comfortable talking about your work in this environment, being in a busy hall with lots of other artists and possibly Galleries?

Checklist to help decide if an Art Fair is right for you.

  • Do some desktop research, research, research – do as much as you can
  • Check online to find a previous list of exhibitors, reach out to them and ask what was their experience?
  • Contact and speak to the organizers. Has anything changed in how the fair is managed since the last event?
  • Is it an established event?
  • What is the expected footfall, was this achieved last year?
  • What were the sales last year? 
  • Are there any online reviews from previous fairs
  • Check social media, does the fair have a good following? Is there regular marketing?
  • Visit the Fair – if this is possible it is well worth taking the time to visit the art fair in person. 
  • Is there good signage in the vicinity of the fair so visitors know where to find it? 
  • If you can attend the opening night or the private view. What kind of vibe was there?
  • How are the stands laid out in the venue?
  • Get a copy of the stand layout. Are there stands that are a bit out of the way or hidden? 
  • Be brave, talk to the artists exhibiting. Ask them if they have exhibited at that venue before. In my experience, they are always happy to share their knowledge.
  • How are the drop-off and hanging organized? Often you are allocated a specific time to drop off your work, does this work for you? Can you do it yourself or would you need to hire a courier (for example if the fair is in Central London)
  • Is there parking available for the duration of the Art Fair and if so what is the cost?
  • Where is the Art Fair, will you be able to commute daily or would you need to book accommodation, as this will be an additional cost.
  • Does the Art Fair organize the packing, is there a charge?
  • Is there a commission charged
  • What type of work is on display, would your work fit in and be shown to its absolute best?
  • What is the price range of work?
  • How do the stands look?
    • Is there good lighting?
    • Would you need any additional furniture?
    • A table to put a signup form on and display cards
    • A folding browser for unframed work
  • What is the cost of the stand?
  • Will you need accommodation?
  • What are the transportation Costs?
  • What are the parking Costs?
  • Are you available on the dates of the fair?

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Three super simple top tips to help abstract painters generate new ideas

Collage picture of rusty farm roller, cropped to show composition, two images in black and white

In this Blog post I want to share how I use photos I took on a recent trip to Cornwall to help inspire my work and share some image manipulation tips to help spark inspiration for generating new ideas.

The trip was a flying work visit and there really was very little time to be creative in my sketchbook as by the end of the day I was totally exhausted and not feeling at all creative. Yet each day during my lunch break I always managed to get out for a walk, the weather was glorious with wall to wall sunshine and as I enjoyed the beautiful weather I spotted interesting things on my walk that captured my attention.

I always carry my phone so I took lots of pictures of an old rusty roller that I stumbled across on the side of the road.

This type of roller is used for rolling the fields. It improves seed to soil contact across the whole field by consolidating any loose soil left after drilling, this promotes successful and consistent germination which is the basis for a competitive crop.

The roller was pretty big, and very rusty with the ends displaying a vibrant shade of teal blue with deep scratch marks. The blue was in such contrast to the rusty shades so it really caught my eye.  Blue and orange are known as complimentary colours sitting opposite each other on the colour wheel, already this old roller has potential. I took lots of close ups of the colours, marks and shapes, I was starting to get a fizzy feeling about this old, rusty roller. 

So how can these quick snaps help me in my painting? It really is quite a simple process; here are 3 tips to help you get started.

Tip 1

Go through the images and edit them using the cropping tool, picking out the details that have interested you, this might be; colour combinations, shapes, textures or lines.

Duplicate the photo so that you can make several different crops of the same image. Try rotating the image to see how it looks, does it make you notice something different? Try putting the image into black and white, and also simplifying the shapes.

Tip 2

Print the images and make photocopies so you have a selection to play with. Next cut them up, rearrange and stick different combinations together. Be discerning in your choices.

Tip 3

Now that you have a few ideas, take out your sketchbook and create rough thumbnail sketches, at this stage you can tweak the composition. Try using black, white and grey. Concentrate on the shapes and negative shapes and keep it simple.

These three easy techniques start to spark ideas which might later end up in a finished painting. This playing stage is so much fun and there can be endless combinations. 

So even on a busy work day I can find time to see the joy in something that I walk past, elevating the everyday! Whether that is shape, colour, line, marks or texture, I pick out the elements that give me a nudge and that is all the starting point that I need. 

Sometimes these studies remain in my sketchbook as a record of the feelings, thoughts or experience I had at that specific time. They may inform other larger studies or even a body of work at a later date. Either way is fine by me, no pressure to create just enjoying something in what some people would just walk straight past.

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Let’s discuss annual planning

Picture of list of artist tasks for planning purposes

If, like me you are in the middle of your annual planning process you might find these steps useful as a way to reduce the feeling of overwhelm…..

At the moment everyone seems to be busy planning for the year ahead,  working on calendars, scheduling events, courses and generally trying to fit in all activities that they want to get done in the coming year.

I myself am in the middle of planning and I’ve noticed how overwhelming it can feel, so I have taken a step back to apply some of the techniques I have learnt in the corporate world to help me get clarity and progress.

There is so much to do at times it really does seem unmanageable, but a simple step by step approach has really helped me keep focussed and gain momentum.

Step 1

Write down all the ideas you have for the year, these can include the following but you may have many more, so just jot down whatever pops into your head. Once it is out of your head you can see the wood for the trees and more importantly make some informed decisions of which items you want to pursue.

Step 2

Using a priority rating of 1,2 or 3, with 1 being the most important, rank each item. So for example, if you have already signed up for an Art Fair and paid the fee this might be ranked as 1, alternatively if you haven’t yet checked out the Art Fair to know if it fits your work or schedule then I would suggest ranking it as 3.

Step 3

For each priority 1 item you need to think about what does each one actually mean in terms of tasks that you will need to do to achieve them, taking the Art Fair example. Add these as steps beneath each item. For example here are a list of tasks when considering Art Fairs:

  • Research the art fair venues and organisers
  • Make a decision on which location suits you best based on location, cost, dates and any feedback you can gather from other artists you know.
  • Understand what will be available on the day; table, light, stand to display your work
  • Think about creative ways to display your work; step ladders or small easels
  • Do you need help at the fair on the day?
  • Do you already have the work available or do you need to create work
  • Arrange Insurance
  • Arrange transport & parking 
  • Think about food and drink on the day
  • Order labels and price your work
  • Order business cards or flyers to give to customers
  • How are you going to market the event
  • Will there be promotion done by the event organiser, maybe you will need to provide a brief statement of your work.
  • Do you have packing for purchases made at the event
  • Do you have a method for collecting for contact details

Step 4

Review your priority ratings now you have a fuller understanding of the amount of work for each activity, you might feel that there is too much to do, or you simply don’t have enough time to carry out all the tasks, in which case you might decide to change the priority or in the example of the Art Fair you might choose to select a different date.


By breaking each activity down into tasks, you are creating a manageable  ‘To Do’ list that makes it easy to see what work is involved for each task, and will keep you on track. It is always nice to be able to tick things off a list and things will seem far more achievable. If you find that you have forgotten something, just add it to the list, and by having said list you can clearly allocate tasks to other people to help, therefore further improving your productivity.

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