How Artists Are Staying Productive Indoors

How Artists Are Staying Productive Indoors

For most of us, staying at home all day has become a temporary new normal. That probably means working from home or taking classes online, or worse, doing nothing at all.

Either way, COVID-19 has affected everyone to some degree, and it’s really easy to let the current situation get you down and want to do nothing but sit on the couch and stress binge on your favourite TV show. 

If you’re feeling lazy, you’re not alone (trust me, I’ve been there). That’s why for the past few weeks, we’ve been inviting some of our friends to take over the Etchr Instagram account and give us a peek into their lives during quarantine. If you missed it, join us now as Kiki, Manelle, Jill, Melanie, and Shari discuss everything from their daily routines, their art inspirations, and even down to their secret recipe to staying productive.

What do you do in a day?

Kiki: My typical day is I wake up, I brush my teeth, and then I get breakfast started. Then I’ll work on a sketch first. I find the mornings to be the best because the bright light comes in and the birds are singing and it’s just the best way to start the morning. I find I’m most productive in the morning.

Manelle: In a day I wake up and I usually try to start writing. I like to write a lot of stories, and writing is harder, so it’s easier for me to do it when I’m fresh. And after that I’ll do chores, and in the afternoons and evenings is when I’ll work on drawing and painting.

Jill:  What we’ve been doing is kind of trying to get out of the house by going for walks. The time I spend in the house is in between my studio doing work for my full-time job and playing Animal Crossing.

Melanie: In the morning I’m usually up pretty early and I love to get my coffee and watch the sunrise. Then I like to read poetry or something inspirational and write in my journal. It really helps a lot during this time.

Shari: It’s nice during this quarantine period to take the time and observe the details of something as intricate as a pineapple. I’m doing a lot of bread baking during this quarantine, and sketching. 

Above: art by Shari (@sharisketcher)

How different is your life now from what it was before the pandemic?

Kiki: I’ve gotten back into art. I was doing a 365 challenge for 2019, but about 3 months before the end of the year, I stopped. So, when this [pandemic] happened, I decided I wanted to get back into art.

Manelle: One of the big differences is my husband is home, it’s not that different for me personally. I still try to wake up and write and whatnot. The other difference is probably like a lot of you, it’s hard to get things done. I wish I was watching TV right now. I’m sure a lot of you guys are feeling that, too. BUT I’m keeping going.

Jill: Most days I usually do one or two paintings and I’m usually happy to do that, but I tend to give myself a little bit of slack these days because there’s just a lot else going on.

Above: art by Jill (@jillgustavisart)

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Kiki: A lot of artists like myself never know what to draw, so I think prompts and challenges are good ways to remain creative. I’ve also been really loving to create cows. I find that when I create things I truly love and enjoy, it’s going to show. Things I don’t enjoy as much when I draw them don’t turn out as well. 

Manelle: Stories. I love stories. I love reading them, and watching them on TV, and going to movies. Especially reading, though, it’s one of my favourite ways to get inspiration. Second to that is just life — it’s a combo of stories people have told and just what’s going on in life, and feelings and thoughts you have that you want to express and get these ideas about. 

Jill: When I am in the studio, sometimes I’ll have a clear idea of what I want to accomplish, and other times with a little less direction. So I have a couple of different ways I use different things in my studio to come up with ideas and spur some inspiration. For starters, when I’m looking for inspiration, I like to keep things out and in visible sight. I have corkboards with a range of stuff -- past projects, colour charts, paintings, works in progress, prints I’ve bought, paintings I’ve bought, and different stuff I like experimenting with to spur some ideas. Artbooks also give me a lot of inspiration if I’m not sure which direction I want to go to. I have everything from painting, drawing, calligraphy, photography, and digital drawing. 

Melanie: I have a stack of inspiring books to choose from in the morning, and then you must have stickers — many, many stickers!

Above: art by Manelle (@talesfantastic)

How do you stay productive?

Manelle: I’ve been trying not to look at the news too much. It’s really tempting to want to look at the case counts in my area and see what’s going on. I think we just want this COVID-19 thing to be over, but looking at that stuff doesn’t actually help so the past couple of days, I’ve just refrained. I’m a lot happier and it’s been a lot easier to get things done. The other part is — just having deadlines has helped. I’m planning to do a KS in June for my mermaid project which is a story writing and illustrating project. I’m gearing up for that and I’ve been doing a lot of research and planning which has helped keep me productive. 

Melanie: I’ve recently started a happy project of small watercolour paintings that has really kept me motivated and inspired to continue creating throughout this *sigh* WOW that we’re going through together. 

Above: art by Kiki (@kikikreates)

What can you leave for artists in the same situation?

Kiki: My biggest tip for everyone during this time is just to remain calm and don’t fixate on what the media is saying, because that could get you even more anxious and paranoid -- and that’s not good for creativity.

Manelle: My biggest tip for now, right now when things are absolutely nuts, is not watching the news. And just waking up every day and choosing to have hope.

Jill: You have to remember to give yourself a little bit of space, creatively as well. 

Melanie: I think now more than ever is the time to realise that we are one — to find our own ways to find inspiration going for ourselves and for each other.

Shari: During the quarantine, it’s really important to have a routine going and get a little drawing in every day. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, but it has to be from life because that’s what keeps you sharp. 

I hope Kiki, Manelle, Jill, Melanie, and Shari brought you some inspiration and motivation with their art and words for you to keep on keeping on. 

It's important to remember that is there is no right or wrong way, or a magic formula when it comes to dealing with a pandemic. This is difficult. Trying to fill those extra 40-60 hours you now have is a challenge all on its own, not to mention the added pressure that comes with it.

It's okay to take some time and give yourself some space if you need it. There's no need to pressure yourself to be creative or productive just because others are -- we're all working through this differently. Instead, focus on the good things and move at your own pace. If the best thing that you can do now is simply live through this, that is 100% acceptable!

Who do you want to see?

Since a lot of you have been spending a lot of time indoors, we want to make sure we could give you the right tools to stay inspired and productive during these challenging times.

We've been reaching out to our community's favourite artists and inviting them on our Instagram to share their tips for productivity and art tricks for the best results.

If you have someone in mind that you'd like to hear and learn from, please let us know in the comment section below!

With love,
Mar and the Etchr team.

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