We all know that, for us, art-making is our way to express ourselves. It’s how we explore our creative side. But, for many of us, finding the time, motivation, and skills to make art can be a challenge. That’s why taking small steps is so important. It’s by taking small steps that we travel our art path.
Small consistent steps will build momentum and help you move past obstacles that will inevitably emerge. Small steps will take you steadily towards your art goals. The power of consistent small steps in art-making is a concept that lies at the heart of the HowToPastel blog which is on the verge of celebrating its 10th anniversary!
Yes, almost 10 years ago (it will be a decade in June), I started the HowToPastel blog. And it started with taking small steps.
The blog began as a need. My gailsibley website had been active for a couple of years when I realised that many of my readers wanted more information on the “How To” part of my art. So I decided to create another website.
Here’s what I wrote in a post encouraging GailSibley.com readers to subscribe to the new blog:
“You might ask, Why a new site? Well, the main reason is that I have different people interested in different aspects of art on my gailsibley.com website. Some are interested in the art and a bit of process while some want more detail on pastels and how to use them to create pastel paintings. So I decided to create a new site, a place where people who are interested in learning how to pastel can find out more in-depth information. There’ll definitely be some crossover but the How to Pastel website will be completely focused on soft pastel.”
And so HowToPastel was born. I cobbled it together because I knew very little about building a website. The main thing was taking small steps toward my goal. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t perfect – it was just temporary, to get me going. This makes me laugh because the temporary site stayed for almost 10 years! But finally, we have a newly painted site!
As excited as I am about our new look, I’m even more thrilled that you’ll be able more easily access all those pearls of wisdom and inspiration found within the many many posts. They will bubble up all over the place, ready for you to discover them. I’m so thankful to my many guest bloggers!
The old website was simply one continuous line of blog posts. Yes, categories and tags were listed on the side but unless you did a search for something specific, you wouldn’t just come across all the goodness within. I hope this reno rectifies that!
Looking back I’m amazed at this HUGE library of resources.
And the thing is, it all began with taking one small step. It began with one idea. It began with one commitment. This was the beginning of a 10-year journey. And, if I’m being honest, looking back at my first post with the lovely Frank Frederico (and eek, my first brave videos of interviews from the IAPS Convention the same year I started this blog), I cringe a bit. But you know what? Those were my first small steps. And they were what brought us to this point almost 10 years later!
This idea of taking small steps relates to art-making. If you’re struggling to get painting, then think about one small step you can take today.
I suggest a small sketch. Or a quick colour study with your pastels on a small piece of paper. It doesn’t matter what it looks like! All that matters is you do it. That’s what I did with the HowToPastel blog. I didn’t worry about what it would look like or how well it would be received. I just needed to get started with one post, then do another and another. And slowly but surely, there’s now a mass of art posts waiting for you to discover and explore them.
Each time you make a mark, you’re taking a small step forward. No mark = no step. Big journeys begin with small steps! And as much as big leaps help you travel forward fast and far, it’s the small steps that are way more sustainable.
Make no mistake, obstacles to your small steps will arise. Life has a way of throwing you off course. Challenges arrive. You need to remind yourself of your commitment to yourself and to your art journey. Which is why some days, those small steps may need to be really really tiny. A doodle. That’s it. But a doodle is a step. And prioritizing art-making will help you overcome any block, even if it’s just making a few lines on paper.
In 2015, I made a commitment to do a sketch a day for a year. Seems like a simple idea but I couldn’t believe how difficult was to achieve that task each and every day. Some days, all I did was a scribble, a few lines, but I did something. And that’s all that mattered.
So take small steps. And also know that those small steps need to be consistent. Taking one step and stopping doesn’t move you forward. Taking one step and then another does.
It’s about the doing, not the result. The results will come on their own…by your doing!
Small steps, taken consistently, will lead to big results in your art-making. So take those small steps each day towards your art goals.
It’s often said that you shouldn’t look back but in this case, I am. And I’m amazed and grateful for all those small steps I’ve taken on this blogging journey. I’ve come a long way since that first blog post! And I want this for you. To look back on the art path you’ve taken and see what taking all those small steps created!
So today, if you haven’t done anything in your studio, take that small step. Grab a sketchbook, put on the timer for five minutes, and draw something. Even if this is all you do for 30 days, at the end of the stretch, you’ll have 30 sketches. And I know you’ll feel great when you see what you’ve accomplished! You’ll have made progress and there’s nothing like it to build your creative confidence and commitment to taking more small steps. This is the start, or maybe it’s a continuation, of your art journey.
So tell me in the comments, what are your own experiences in taking small steps towards your art goals? We want to hear about your progress and successes. What’s worked for you? What keeps you from taking those small steps?
Thanks for being here on this very first post of the renovated HowToPastel website! I’d also love to hear what you think about our new look. It’s been a year in the making!
Until next time!
PS. A HUGE thank you to Tynan Brouwer, my creative web developer/designer/consultant extraordinaire, for all the hours and ideas he put into this new HowToPastel. It wouldn’t have happened without him!