A few months ago, I started experimenting with ways to work art into my morning routine (more like anti-routine, thanks ADHD) and have found that it truly helps me kick-off better days. Not only am I more productive throughout the entire day, but I feel better about myself and have noticed changes in both my mood & confidence when starting my days with art. There are lots of ways to try this, but to make it easy, I've compiled 5 of the simplest ways I start my mornings with art for y'all to chew on and possibly try.
1. Sip & Sketch
If you're like me and enjoy starting your morning off with a cup of tea, coffee, cocoa or just water (yay hydration!) - this is a great opportunity to grab a sketchbook and go to work. It takes a couple minutes to steep my tea and a few more to cool, so during that time, I'll doodle freely and enjoy. No agenda, just making space for my mind to wake up in a creative space.
Tips for trying: Wherever you have your morning drink (or snack), keep a sketchpad and pen close-by. That way, you can grab it and get to work without thinking, "Where's my paper? Now I need something to draw with..." and next thing you know, you've gotten distracted and are folding laundry and maybe this is just me but you get my point. Set your sketchbook out the night before and make it easy.
2. Quick Clean
Sometimes I'll get up after a busy night before and my workspace will be downright messy. This used to overwhelm me, but now I take it as an opportunity to clean/organize for 5 minutes and find it's a super satisfying way to start the day. Added bonus - taking time to do this sets you up to create later in the day without the barriers a messy space provides, so win-win!
Tips for trying: If your space is large, consider focusing on one part of the space vs. the entire thing - make it doable! The goal is isn't to do a deep clean, so save the big stuff for later. Also, if you're a content creator, I find timelapses of this process to be easy, satisfying videos to make/enjoy.
3. Color Combos
My practice is super color-centric and as such, I'm always playing with different color combinations and seeing which work well together. This has become one of my go-to morning activities for two reasons; 1. It's easy, and 2. It gets me thinking. Personally I work with a variety of paints and mixed media supplies like pens, pastels, etc. but this can work with whatever medium you prefer, including digital!
Tips for trying: Don't be afraid to try color combos that make no sense to you at first - this is so great for your brain in the morning! Let your mind work through the combinations you make, observing and appreciating them without judgement. I've found this attitude helps me start my mornings with a sense of openness and as an added bonus, has led to some pretty color color pairs that I might not have considered otherwise.
4. Enjoy the Light
If I had to pick a favorite practice right now, it's this one - probably because it's winter where I am and light is precious. If I get up and the light is right, I'll take a few minutes to photograph my art, record a new piece of my practice or just enjoy sketching/painting without the interference of artificial light. Not only does the light itself boost my mood, but I find it's a way to start my day off with gratitude for what the light provides for my art.
Tips for trying: If you're in a place that's light often, this can still work - but consider how you might interact with the light differently. Maybe there's an interesting shadow you can create with or a place outdoors you can spend 5-10 minutes in. It's pretty cold right now but when the weather warms up, I'll definitely be taking my morning art practice outside whenever possible! Starting my mornings with art and nature is such a win for me.
5. Detail Work
This last one might seem counterintuitive, "Why do detail work when my brain is just waking up?" is a totally reasonable question. In the case of my art practice, a lot of layers and small details are infused throughout the process, and often include repetitive actions. If there's a piece of art waiting for a series of small marks or texture details, this is something I'll take on first thing in the morning, allowing myself to get into a flow with that repetitive motion. It doesn't require much thinking and allows my brain to wake up through the act of doing, making it easier to take on bigger creative projects later in the day.
Tips for trying: If detail work is something that typically bores you, try this tip in combination with #1 - make a cup of tea/coffee, put on some great music and spend 5-10 minutes doing the details. After a minute or two, you might notice yourself on autopilot in terms of the details, allowing your brain space to kick into gear at a pace that's comfortable.
After starting my days with art and seeing the results, I've committed to this practice for the foreseeable future. It just makes me feel So Good! If this is something you've tried or would like to, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Comment below or engage with our community on Instagram.