Finding Your Creative Process

Happy Monday everybody! I hope you had a great weekend and are ready to power through this upcoming week. I know for me this upcoming week is going to be super busy, but I am feeling totally rested and ready to talk any challenge that comes my way!

Some general housekeeping information; Ben and I are moving the first weekend in March so be prepared for a late blog post, newsletters will be sent out on Saturdays now, and there is a fun freebie at the end of this blog post!

In other news, this past week I participated in Amira D. Rahim’s Insanely Inspired Instagram challenge (check out her amazing feed here) and I actually saw some improvement in my clicks, likes, and comments. I’m always a bit skeptical of these things because there will always be variation in the results, but overall I really enjoyed the week. So a huge thank you to my followers for being active and a big hello to new followers!

This week’s blog post is all about Finding Your Creative Process. We are gonna get deep down to the roots of how to create works you are not only happy with, but are strong, independent, and don’t need no man’s approval! 


My Creative Process

When I am thinking about making a new piece (or new series), I find myself doodling the ideas all over the place! Napkins, white boards at work, on the steamed up mirror after a shower- no place is safe! At this point, I know it is time to get serious. I will start searching the internet for reference images, artist who have done similar works, and maybe some motivational quotes that can fit into the project to keep my momentum up.

Once I have gathered all the essentials- supplies, research, coffee- I am ready to start sketching out the pieces, I will take the main theme and push in 13 different different direction before I settle on a what design I like most.

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This, of course, never goes as planned, which is totally fine! My paintings especially always have multiples layers of redos and changes. The process of making those creative mistakes and changes are a part of my process. They are apart of what makes my art work for me!

Step 1 – Inspiration

The first thing you need to do when trying to nail down what your creative process is, is your inspiration. Where does it come from? When do you feel most inspired? What makes you lose inspiration? Do you struggle finding inspiration? (pssst, I wrote a blog about this also!)


I find inspiration from my dreams, strange parts of nature, and my subconscious. When I am running low on inspiration, I look to books and nature documentaries to really get my juices flowing. I also will write down ideas on scrap paper or in the notes in my phone so I will remember them later on.

Step 2 – Research

So you have found what inspires you! Great! But do you know anything about it? Do you know  all the varietals in that species of flower? Do you know how many different shades of blue, grey, and green you need to paint that ocean scene? Are there other artist creating this work already?

Creativity requires input, and that’s what research is. You’re gathering material with which to build. – Gene Luen Yang

You should be a near expert in what you are creating, whether it is object based or not. You should know every nook and cranny of that object or style, so when you manipulate it, you are doing it with purpose. The research you do before starting a piece of work will only build on your knowledge and further inform you work. Don’t think of it as boring work, think of it as new possibilities! You may find your next series of work while deep in research.

Step 3 – The Rough Draft(sssssss)

When I first started having to write papers in school the rough draft was something I hated. The teacher would make us handwrite our projects in pen so they could not only see our in the moment edits, but also so it was easier for them to point out our grammatical mistakes. There was no autocorrect, no spell check, and certainly no paper reading programs. It was always a super disheartening way to start a project.


However, the rough draft phase of a project is now one of my favourite parts of creating because there are no really mistakes! Do you wanna skip ahead three chapters in your novel and write a juicy bit between two characters? Go for it! Do you wanna sketch out an idea for a tiny world on one of your flower series pieces? Go for it!

The rough draft phase is all about put your ideas on to paper and stretching them as far as you can! It is also a great time to really tighten up a series theme and decide what sort of style you want to create your work in. This an excellent time to test out materials, styles of creating, and different forms of presentation.


You have reached the final step in your creative process. You are making the work you know you want to create and you know exactly how you want to do it. Sure there maybe a fuzzy fine detail yet that you haven’t work out, but you know it will be worked out! For me this detail always comes in the form a question from my husband (previously my mother), “What are you gonna do with that?” (but this topical question is for another blog post on another day!)


All the effort and hard work you have put into your process with shine through in the works you are creating. The artist you emulating with subtle and beautiful. The knowledge you possess on the subject matter will knock the socks of your readers! This time spent will always be rewarding in the end. 100% worth it!

But what if?

But what if this doesn’t always work Ashley?

Well if this doesn’t always work, and it won’t trust me, it is time to deviate from the process. Have a lot of fun on a piece. Try something new. Don’t lock yourself down into something that will only lead to burnout and tears.

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The most important aspect of creating is having fun.

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