Top 5 Healthy Artist Habits

Updated: Sep 19, 2021

The new year often starts off with the intention to reset and be a healthier version of yourself. This might include meditation, less sugar, and reading more books. But have you ever considered setting healthy habit goals for your artistic practice?


Being an artist comes with a lifelong dedication to the craft. And that means you should take care of your artistic self so you can fulfill those big goals! But how exactly do you do that? Let’s take a quick look at my Top Five Healthy Artist Habits!


1. Stop Scrolling

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We all know that social media is bad for our creativity. You can get inspired through a set amount of consumption, sure. But the endless scroll of Instagram is more likely to zap your creativity by either falling down the rabbit hole of comparison or having too many ideas that you don’t know where to start.


If maintaining a presence on social media and interacting with your peers is important to you, give yourself a limited amount of time you can be on the app each day. This will vary from person to person, but I think the smaller the better.


By limiting your screen time, you’ll be able to use those lost hours to actually put work in at the easel, table, or studio. Afterall, your goal is to be an artist, right?


2. Move It, Move It

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Artists have this insane ability to sit around for hours staring at the same piece of paper without moving. But that’s really not a good thing. Humans evolved to be mobile and move around. We’re not supposed to sit in the same spot for the whole day. So be sure to schedule time in for movement.


You can set an alarm to go off every thirty minutes telling you to take a five minute stretch break. You can schedule a daily walk outside. You can get your daily yoga session in after lunch. Or you can even do all three! Prioritizing your physical health is extremely important as an artist. So just put the time in! We need to take care of our bodies if we want to be making new work in our 70s, 80s, and 90s.


3. Practice Makes Perfect

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Okay, so there’s no such thing as “perfect” art. But the more we practice, the better we get. Drooling over someone else’s skill level isn’t going to help you get better. So pick up the pencil or brush and get to work.


Drawing challenges are a great way to hone your skills. You could set a timer to complete one study every day. Or you can try the 100 day challenge! Or you could squeeze in practice on the train by bringing a small sketchbook and doing quick figure studies.


However you choose to practice, make it easy to accomplish and fit into your daily schedule. Bonus points if you manage to snag an art buddy to do it with you!


4. Rest Up

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It’s easy to feel like you must always be creating new art - especially if you just got finished doom scrolling on social media. But that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. A sustainable artistic practice requires output and input. Output obviously means creating new work. But input is a whole different story.


In order to refuel the creative tank, we need to allow time for rest and relaxation. Give yourself a break and enjoy finding inspiration. This could look like watching a movie, reading a book, going on a walk, talking to a friend, cooking your favorite dish - the list goes on and on. Just take some time to catch your breath and take in your surroundings. Even the great masters of ye olden days allowed time for rest.


And there’s no limit to this. Everyone needs different amounts of rest to recharge and get back to the studio! The important thing is to allow this to happen. You don’t want to burnout, do you?


5. Get Some Playtime

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As adults, we tend to think playtime is only for kids. But in the animal kingdom, animals of all ages take time to play! So why should we live any differently?


Giving yourself permission to play at the easel is extremely important. This allows for new experimentation, new discoveries, and threads of inspiration you never would have found if you didn’t allow yourself to just make a mess.


This should be a no pressure, zero expectations play session. Pull out a new medium and experiment with how it looks by layering. Try a different shading technique with your favorite paints. Make crazy marks in your sketchbook with vine charcoal. Whatever you choose should be fun! Allow your inner kid to really go crazy! This is just for you, so don’t worry about what it looks like. It’s all about how it feels.

 

Those are my Top Five Healthy Artist Habits! Even if you adopt just one, you’re setting yourself up for a successful AND sustainable artistic practice you can carry with you your entire life.


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Thanks for reading and happy creating!