Developing my artsy side

I purchased the :glowforge: planning to just do practical things but since getting my PRU I realize that there is an artsy side to me that has been buried deep for years.
So my question to all you artists and art teachers. How do I go about further developing this side of myself?

Anything involving a pen, pencil, brush or the like is just out but things like photography and the like are in.



Practice, practice, practice. Make time every day to do something creative.

For me, with graphic design, early on I would find a poster or magazine ad I liked and then try to create something of the same style. I still make time to watch YouTube videos to learn new techniques and then go practice those techniques before I forget about them.

With photography, I have been interested in it since I was in high school. I read books off and on through the years but never really grasped some of the fundamentals. Like with graphic design, I find I learn the most when I read/watch a video about a technique and then immediately go out and practice.

One of the most creative parts of photography is finding the shots no one else sees. Towards that goal, starting last August, I have challenged myself to post at least one unique photo on Facebook each day. About once a month, that’s something from my archives. The rest of the time, it’s a photo I took that day. That has really forced me to look at everything I see differently.

And I’m with you on not being much with a pen, pencil, or brush. But, there again, I occasionally try to push myself once in a while. My current best selling t-shirt includes “primitive” drawings of ducks and a moose that I drew using a 1940s book on how to draw wildlife.

Keep us posted on how your artsy side develops.

Good luck!


is this because you think you can’t draw, or because you have arm issues? if it’s the former, if you wish to learn, i really suggest you try. find some good lessons, and draw every day - that’s how artists became good; they practiced a whole bunch. any other skill will require similar degrees of commitment.


I watch a lot of YouTube videos for my various crafts. As for drawing … I’ve always said it wasn’t something I could do.

When I started making cards for different occasions, I found there isn’t a stamp for everything I want. So, I’ll practice drawing on scrap paper, and then put ink to the project. I’ve surprised myself.

There are a lot of drawing tips on Pinterest also. They often work with circles or squares and then erase some of it as they progress. I tend to like to draw it as it is, and not erase.


such an amazing resource for skill building as long as you can find the good videos.


Or for those who still like books and are interested in drawing:

From art courses I’ve taken, these two books are a great start. Start with the first one.


That’s a wonderful revelation and it pleases me to hear that you recognize it and want to nurture it.[quote=“johnwills, post:2, topic:8791”]
Make time every day to do something creative.

I think John pretty much nailed it with his comment. Sometimes I have a hard time carving time out of my day ‘for me’, but I’ve been trying to do that as much as possible since getting the Glowforge. I wish I had started doing that years ago, but better late than never. The Glowforge has actually proven to be irresistible to me…more so than anything else I can think of in recent memory.


Experimentation, really.

Get your hands on as many different mediums as possible and go to town.

Don’t get locked into a rigid idea of how a project is supposed to turn out, especially if doing so keeps you from getting started. Let it flow.

Sometimes you just need to get into a project in order to get the inspiration.

Put down some random lines or odd balls of clay, or otherwise just do something, anything and you’ll find a spark somewhere in it. I remember in Elementary school, the art teacher Mr. Zitzmann would put a piece of paper in front of everyone then he would walk around the class with a marker and put a random squiggle on each piece of paper, then let us go making that squiggle into anything we wanted.


This,^ is the first step.
Buried so long because there have been other demands on your time. Now with the ability to indulge yourself, that spark will grow, and you will get better just like anything you practice.
You sure have a versatile tool for expression! :wink:


Keep a journal/sketchbook. Pull it out whenever you have some down time instead of pulling out your phone. I keep mine in my purse and add to it whenever I’m stuck waiting for a meal at a restaurant, taking a car/bus/train ride, or whenever I get an idea. Add found objects or things that inspire you by physically sticking them in, write your ideas down, or just doodle. I know you said you aren’t comfortable with drawing, but there’s no wrong way to doodle, and it can help get those creative juices flowing. Doodling can also help you to feel more confident drawing. You can also use it to practice those youtube videos others have suggested with no pressure.

These are some pics of my last two journals. As an art teacher, artist, and maker, I am interested in lots of different aspects of art and go through periods of focusing on one thing. These sketchbooks mostly focus on my art toys, but I found a few pages where I wrote some thoughts and tried to learn 3 point perspective. One page has some doodles and a photo I took of some NYC subway tracks where I added a monster with some white out.

Good luck with your future artistic endeavors.


i never get tired of seeing your weird little monsters pop up. :raised_hands:


I can’t wait to make more on my GF. I seriously have files for about 10 more than the 4 I sent to Ponoko and 30 or so drawings that could become one. The files take quite a while to create, but it will be totally worth it.


Strictly an eye, brain, hand thing. I get better at bandsaws and the like at a normal development rate but 50 years of off and on trying to draw I’m finally to the point that if you saw something lying around you’d say “your granddaughter is coming right along.” I don’t know the brain well enough to know if this might be related to my being dyslexic or not. Just something that has always been a challenge for me.

I can do just enough to act as a short-term mnemonic for ideas. So while this will never be my medium, it would be nice to get to the point of them being a long term mnemonic/ first draft.
I will take your advice and replace lots of my down time with doodling. My day job is either wide open or nothing so I’ll start playing with this.


As always, this group is wonderful. Thanx for the varied and great advice.


I was hoping that you would see my plea and respond. Thank you.

This is my thread so I’ll always be coming back to in but I have bookmarked this post in particular.

A lot of people here are my mentors and don’t know it. You have been one of them.


This. I’m the type who gets bored easily so I switch between crocheting, cross stitching, sketching, illustration prints, 3D Printing etc etc etc. And when I switch I do that for weeks to months at a time. Less now with kids though. I really want to get into resin casting but holding off due to the Glowforge. Once you find your medium practice it as it becomes such an awesome escape when life gets crazy!


We are at a show selling t-shirts today. Here is my wife wearing the Duck Duck Moose shirt I mentioned earlier.


I have a student who has some learning disabilities and also has some clear issues with hand-eye coordination. She can describe what she’s seeing but cannot get her hand to put on paper what she sees. She may say she sees a circle to the left of a square, but then she’ll draw the circle overlapping the square. I would generally never say that someone can’t learn to draw, but with severe issues like hers, I might make an exception. If these issues seem familiar, I would suggest focusing on doodling to strengthen your hand-eye coordination with things that don’t matter what they look like, and try to accept your limitations. That doesn’t mean accept that you can’t draw. It means accept that your drawing style may not look traditionally “good”.

I have another student who draws these very cool characters. They do have that 1st grader sort of feel in their drawing style, but they are fun and original. When he tries to draw realistically, he gets discouraged and says he can’t draw. I wish he would accept that his style is different and work to improve what he’s good at instead of trying to fit the conventional.

In your case, I imagine you may not feel the need to “learn to draw,” but it would be nice to be able to sketch out an idea at least. I don’t always fully draw out an idea before converting it to vectors. Sometimes I put a sketch in Illustrator and use the pen tool to draw over it. Perhaps that process would suit your skills better.


There’s going to be some experimenting to find the medium that’s right for you… or let the right medium find you.

Maybe drawing or painting isn’t your thing. Maybe pottery or clay sculpting trips your trigger. Maybe what you’re looking for isn’t so much an artsy side, as it is a creative outlet. Woodworking. Maybe you learn how to push the limits of Fusion 360, something you’re already into, and roll that creative energy into glowforge projects. Maybe you need a MIG welder so you can reclaim old steel junk and build sculptures out of it?