Shop Talk

How to Stay Creative During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is in full motion and as usual can be a very busy time, especially for artists. With all of the sales, events, feasts, and evenings hanging out with friends and/or family, it might feel like there is little time to be creative. As you will most likely be on the move, taking the time to create some new art can be challenging. While you may carry a tiny sketchbook or a tablet with you, your mobile phone is fast, readily available, and can be very useful in keeping those creative juices flowing. Here are some helpful tips and app suggestions to help prepare you for your next masterpiece.

"The Night Gardener - Winter Park" by Eric Fan

Take Notes

As a creative inspiration can hit you at any time, even the most inconvenient ones. Whether you’re on your way to work, in a meeting, eating dinner, or trying to relax with a glass of egg nog, you don’t want to lose that new idea. The easiest way to capture them is to take a quick note. As long as you can get the idea down so that it doesn’t get lost in the jumble of holiday festivities and distractions. Your sketchbook is great for this but your mobile phone is much quicker and can be used while on the go. Taking notes is made even easier if your phone has a personal assistant like SIRI or Cortana. Just speak and the note is taken.

Here are a few helpful note taking apps:

Simplenote – This quick and easy note taking app can sync information with all of your devices, and allows you to search notes using simple tags. It backs up your notes and you can even go back in time to see previous versions.
(Available on iOS, OSX, Android, Kindle Fire, Win7, & Linux)

Clear – A task and to-do list app, Clear is a simple and colorful way to take quick notes and even set reminders for yourself. You can create separate lists, color code them, and the app is gesture based so it’s very easy to create new notes and change the status of them. This is easily one of my favorite apps, and very helpful if you like to organize your creative ideas in different topics. There is an OSX version as well that can sync your notes. For Android users, Koalcat’s Clear is a great alternative.

Evernote (iOS, Android) – The ultimate organizational app. Take notes, create to-do lists, take photos, and much more. Evernote syncs with any device you can use to access your Evernote account. The great thing about this app is that it can help you with those quick notes and ideas, and also be there for you with the more complex creative projects you are working on.

Example of Clear app in use

Quick Sketches

Aside from notes, being able to create a quick sketch is a great way to capture inspiration. If you have a few minutes while on the way to work or sitting at a cafe, quick gesture and thumbnail sketches are ideal on a mobile phone and you can create them with your finger, a mini-stylus, or even the edge of a cookie. Well maybe not a cookie but it’s a tasty way to be creative for sure.

Here are a couple of inspiring apps for sketching:

Paper – This free app makes it easy to sketch, draw on photos, create diagrams and much more. It has a very fun way to mix colors. For Android users Bamboo Paper is a good alternative.

Adobe Sketch – With this free paint and drawing app, you can make quick sketches or even finished works. If you’re connected to the Creative Cloud you can send your work to Photoshop or Illustrator and keep working on it. You can also use Adobe Stock and even make your own custom brushes for use in the app.

Tasayui Sketches – This multi-platform app allows you to paint and draw just as you would on paper. With realistic watercolor and pencil effects, this intuitive app is very fun and easy to use. (Available on iOS, OSX, and Android).

Capture Inspiration

The quickest way to document those inspiring moments throughout the day is your mobile phones camera. While we often use it to take photos of friends, selfies, or a stellar looking pizza, your camera can be a powerful tool in capturing textures, layouts, color schemes, and more. There are many fun camera apps out there and even your internal app is perfect for capturing inspirational imagery, you still need to wait send the images your computer in order to extract color schemes, use the textures you found and so on.

Adobe Capture CC to the rescue. This free multi-purpose app will not only capture images, but you can extract color themes and add them to your Kuler Library, turn the images into Photoshop brushes, create seamless patterns, turn images or sketches into vector files, and even apply the look of one photo to another. Everything you capture can be sent to your Creative Cloud account to be used in your other projects. Not only is that app fun, but helps to make new creative assets a snap.

Using Adobe Capture to create custom brushes

Promote Yourself

While promoting yourself might not feel like a creative exercise, it can really help to keep your momentum going. Sharing your new works and sales in social media will help to inform your fans, gain some feedback, and in turn add to your creative energy. During these busy holidays it can be hard to find the time to create a sketch or two let alone promoting your work, so we have a handy app that helps make promotion very easy.

Adobe Spark Post is a free app that helps you create custom social media images in seconds. Start with a custom template, add your image, change the text and your ready to share. The great thing about this app is that it allows you to resize the new post you have created for a variety of social media platforms. This way you don’t need to spend the time to create a new size for each platform. Very nice.

Finally, Look at Art

Take in inspiration from everywhere. Much like a great chef that enjoys eating food others make, as an artist it’s a great idea to look at art as often as you can. It gives you an idea of trends, how other artists approach certain ideas, and connects you to the artist community. Creativity is your world, fully immerse yourself in it. When you have a moment during a busy day take the time to look at some artists on Instagram and of course right here on Redbubble. Leave some comments, be inspired, and help keep that creative fire burning bright.

Share your tips or favorite apps to help others stay creative during those busy times in the comments below.

View additional posts by Josh


Art historian, burrito enthusiast, and Email Marketing Specialist here at Redbubble.