Finding Inspiration in Your Creative Space
I am so excited to share Miss Vanessa Brantley-Newton and her art studio with all of you today!
If you aren’t familiar with Vanessa, you are in for a treat. Vanessa has illustrated around 90 children’s books, and I’m going to give away her next picture book, Becoming Vanessa, at the end of this blog post. Vanessa’s vibrant style and representation of so many children just makes me happy.
And she has a way of bringing love and joy with her words as well. I shared one of her poems with a niece just yesterday. Vanessa really is sunshine.
Go ahead and watch the video, and then I’ll highlight some of Vanessa’s tips for making a creative space where you can find everyday inspiration.
Tip #1: “Find a place that you can call your own.”
Find a place where there’s light and quiet that you can call your own, where you can work and be enlightened, even if it’s just your kitchen table.
Vanessa got her first illustrating job for a major publishing house because a friend she didn’t even know worked as an editor came over and saw her work out on her kitchen table.
We all have to start somewhere.
Tip #2: “Find the things that inspire you.”
Books, music, fabric, chachkas, quotes, art—bring in whatever makes you feel happy and creative. Personally, I have a thing for plants (and books, of course). Vanessa finds inspiration in the art supplies themselves, as well as other things. I like the way she talks about how much she loves her office. “There is never a time that I come into this office that I am not inspired.” I want to feel that way about my office.
Tip #3: “Make it a sacred space.”
Vanessa says to make it a place where no one is allowed unless you invite them. (Parents, Vanessa and I see you. You may be at a stage in life where you need to invite your kids, and some of those days will go better than others.) She said it should be a place where you feel safe to meditate or pray or whatever it is you to to feel lifted and inspired.
Tip #4: “It doesn’t need to be a whole big office.”
She says you don’t need a big space with a lot of supplies. You only need the supplies that make you happy. And she’s right. As long as you have what you need to get the work done, you’re good.
While Vanessa is at a stage where she has a big office with a lot of supplies, she didn’t start out that way.
I just barely moved into a house where I have my own creative corner. For the first time in my life, I have a table where I can leave projects out, and I love it! I still don’t have tons of supplies, and most of the ones I have came from Vanessa a few weeks ago when I was telling her about my fun new space. (Yeah, when she said she loves to give away art supplies to friends, she really does that.) But I got work done before that. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with copy paper, index cards, pens, pencils, sharpies, Wite-Out, and tape.
I’m going to leave you with one last quote from Vanessa: “Create the space that you’re going to be most inspired in.”
Picture Book Giveaway
And now I’m going to give away Vanessa’s next picture book, Becoming Vanessa. The book doesn’t release until next month, so I will preorder it for the winner. Tell me something helpful you learned from Vanessa’s video in the comments to enter. This giveaway will close on May 15 at midnight, PDT. You can share this post on social media for extra entries. Just post a link (or let me know) in a comment below.
If you'd like to learn more about Vanessa, you can read this blog post I wrote about her a year ago. It includes some of her other books, what she teaches for Storyteller Academy, and a TED Talk she gave awhile back. She also has her own website and is a joy to follow on Instagram.
Thanks for reading!