Behind the scenes look at my creative process

Overcome art supply envy + cute kitten mixed media drawing

Art supply envy + cute cat mixed media drawing

There were always differences between artists with more means and those on a very tight budget. But in the internet age, we can literally see each others’ paint palettes from across the globe, and it breeds a green-eyed monster called the art supply envy. If you're experiencing it as well, in this episode of Nela's Art Chat I'm sharing some tips how to deal with it, while I'm drawing this cute fantasy kitten with watercolors, colored pencils, and ink. Watch, listen, or read the transcript

Art & creativity for mental health & wellbeing + mixed media self-portrait process

Art and creativity for mental health and wellbeing

In this episode of Nela’s Art Chat I’m sharing the process of creating a mixed media self-portrait, and discuss how creativity and the arts can improve our mental health and help us maintain a healthy outlook on life, give meaning to our life, and help us deal with daily challenges and grief. I would love for more people to learn about this power of creativity that anyone can use in their life. Watch, listen, or read the transcript

Doorways of inspiration

Doorways of inspiration

How is it that sometimes I can be so full of inspiration and drive to create, but other times I can’t even get myself off the couch? Why is it so difficult to remain in the state of forward momentum? How could I reinvigorate that creative spark after the fire has died out? I’ve tried to answer all of these questions, and more, in this essay. Read more...

How to balance personal & commercial creative work + Mixed media cat painting process

How to balance personal and commercial creative work

Finding balance between personal creative practice and paid work can be a challenge. Our jobs may not give us 100% of the creative fulfillment that we need, and we also may have our own inspiration and ideas we want to follow. Personal practice is an excellent way to stave off creative burnout, and it helps us keep our skills sharp and develop our unique style. In this episode of Nela's Art Chat, I offer tips how to justify spending time on creative practice, and incorporate more spontaneous creativity into your life. Watch, listen, or read the transcript

Creative professionals: design your client process

Client journey map workshop

Imagine there was one important thing that you could do that would result in better client satisfaction, higher productivity, attracting more ideal clients, more money, and less stress for you—would you do it? Who wouldn't, right? This magical-sounding method is designing your very own signature client process. In this article I’ll explain why I believe that any creative consultant would benefit from it, and how to get started if you don't have a process yet. Read more...

My logo & brand identity design process explained

My logo and brand identity design process

If you’re preparing for your new logo and brand identity design project, I’m sure you have many questions, especially if you’ve never worked with a designer before. In this article I explain what my brand identity design process looks like, so you can see all the work that goes into it. Read more...

Creativity in digital isolation

Creativity in digital isolation

“Common sense” marketing advice for creators is to publish something every single day. I know many folks who show up daily or almost daily, and it works for them. It’s an excellent marketing technique if you can pull it off. I’m not doing it, and I don’t think it’s the right way for everyone. I want to talk about the positive side of not having to put on a show every day (or every week, or even every month) if you’re not the kind of person who can or wants to do that. Read more...

Stop comparing your art to others + Winter fairy drawing process

Stop comparing your art to others

There are positive and beneficial sides to comparing our work to that of other artists, and there are also plenty of drawbacks. In today’s episode of Nela’s Art Chat I’m drawing a magical winter fairy colored pencil portrait while talking about how to productively compare your art with others’ so you can learn from it, and how to change your mindset so you don’t fall into the black hole of hating your own work because it’s not “good enough”. Watch, listen, or read the transcript

Coping when art turns out bad + Mermaid watercolor painting process

Coping when art turns out bad   Mermaid watercolor painting process

Sometimes you put in a ton of effort into an artwork and in the end you realize that it just sucks. It doesn’t look anything like you’ve envisioned it, and you feel like you’ve just wasted a lot of time on something that wasn’t worth it. In today’s episode of Nela’s Art Chat you can watch me paint a mermaid that did not turn out the way I wanted, while I talk about 4 different ways you can deal with similar “art fails” of your own. Watch, listen, or read the transcript

Art “just” a hobby? + Creepy portrait drawing process video

Art just a hobby

In today’s episode of Nela’s Art Chat, I’ll show you my process of drawing the sketch “Skin deep”, while talking about a subject I feel is quite important: what if you don’t want to be a professional artist? What if you want to remain an amateur forever, or at least at the moment? There’s a lot of pressure on creatives to earn money with their skills, and I can tell you from personal experience that sometimes it’s not a wise thing to do. I’m much happier keeping my drawing and painting practice personal, and I’ll tell you why I made this choice. Watch, listen, or read the transcript

Should you do an art challenge? + Mermaid drawing process video for Mermay

Should you do an art challenge video

Inktober, Mermay, Drawing August, 100 days project, 36 days of type... there's no shortage of art challenges, and many of us are asking ourselves "Should I do one this year?" If you've never done an art challenge, in this episode of Nela's Art Chat I give you some of my tips on how to decide, and how to prepare if you do end up doing one. You'll also be able to watch a time lapse of my ink mermaid drawing from start to finish! Watch, listen, or read the transcript

Step by step hand-lettering process: “Moonlight”

Step by step hand-lettering process: “Moonlight”

In my quest to improve my lettering skills, I do practice projects for fun. Some of these assignments are based on the book "The ABC of Custom Lettering" by Ivan Castro, which I thoroughly recommend. Check out my latest step by step lettering project: from calligraphy, to sketch, to vector and Photoshop artwork. Read more...

From art block to a new art series: Notes from navigating my creative process

From art block to a new art series

Writing about art for me is writing about my process—not only the physical process of painting or drawing, but the process that happens in my mind, because that’s where most of the struggle is. In that spirit, this article isn’t a how-to, and it isn’t focused on technique—I’m documenting my thoughts here like I would in a journal. Learn how I managed to get over my crippling self-doubt and started painting with joy again. Read more...

The making of “Santa Muerte” photomanipulation

The making of Santa Muerte photomanipulation

I loved digitally editing photographs since I was a teenager. It grew into elaborate collages that required a lot of painting to get everything look like a part of the same image. Today, I'll show you how my last piece “Santa Muerte” has evolved from the original photograph, to a final composition that included collage, painting as well as vector drawing. Read more...

Sketchbook Adventures: Summer Lettering Fun

Sketchbook adventures: Summer lettering fun

I thought it would be fun to share some of my sketchbook explorations here more often, just like I did with my sketchbook flip video. Today I want to share a peek into my lettering practice. This post is very photo heavy and contains lettering from a couple different sketchbooks. Read more...

Painting process: Sing Me Of Better Times watercolor painting

Sing Me Of Better Times painting process

I realized I haven't shared any of my creative processes in a while, so I decided to share some work-in-progress photos of my latest watercolor painting, Sing Me Of Better Times. This is not intended as a how-to by any means and I'm not describing every step in detail, but I hope it will still provide some value to you. Read more...