Which of these books on creativity have you read?


After seeing this post on Buzzfeed: 37 Books Every Creative Person Should Be Reading, I noticed that I’ve already read several and will probably want to eventually read them all. Do you have any favorites from this list? #25 is an all-time favorite for me.

3. Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott: Read this a long time ago. Remember it being sweetly encouraging.
4. Steal Like An Artist, by Austin Kleon: Read recently. Good info, but nothing that was really new to me
7. The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron: This is a classic. Excellent info to be found here. Do the work if you want to experience transformational growth in your life. (It’s not just about art)
15. Just Kids, Patti Smith: This has been sitting patiently in my Kindle for over a year…
19. The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White: Great info. “Omit needless words” is a classic.
21. Art & Fear, by David Bayles & Ted Orland: I’ve never read it cover to cover, but every time I crack it open and read a few pages I find something totally relevant.
22. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards: Just recently bought a copy.
25. The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield: One of the BEST books I’ve ever read. It’s about resistance. You do not have to be an artist to get a lot out of this book. It’s tiny – read it in an afternoon.
29. On Writing, Stephen King: I owned this a very long time ago. Can’t remember if I read all of it. The one thing that sticks with me is his mantra of “Write every day:”

Permission to Doodle


Are you a doodler?

By allowing yourself to be creative in a way that is not dependent on any particular outcome, you can focus on the process itself and simply appreciate your hand moving the pen across the surface of the paper.

The next time you find yourself waiting at the doctor’s office, the DMV, or when picking up your children after school, I’d like challenge you to reach for a paper and pencil and allow yourself to doodle. If this is something you don’t normally do, I think you might be surprised at how calming and meditative the process may be.

Image courtesy of butch_gordon on Instagram


Vision Board Video Follow Up

Stephanie Smith Vision Board

Back in December, I wrote a post about how I’d been interviewed in my art studio by a local television lifestyle program called “Save the Kales!” The segment was about using Vision Boards as a tool to being about a desired situation. Simple to create, the primary component is intention followed by collaging images and words that support your goal.

You can watch the clip on YouTube at this link.  (Filmed in one take, I was a bit nervous.) 

What Are You Reading?

Books and Paperwhite

I started reading The Goldfinch on Christmas Day and just finished the 800 page novel last night. While the concept was interesting, I found this book to be mind-numbingly looooong.

Contemplating what to read next: Dr. Sleep by Stephen King, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, or something else that you will tell me is wonderful and is a must read.

So… what are you reading right now, or what have you read lately that you really enjoyed?

Have You Ever Created a Vision Board?

Stephanie Smith and Jaime Karpovich

Last night, I was interviewed for a segment on creating vision boards for “Save the Kales” – a local TV cooking show hosted by the magnificent Jaime Karpovich. (Keep your eye on this girl – she is Food Network bound for sure!) 

Vision boards are used a creative visualization process to manifest some aspect of change in your life. Made simply by collaging inspiring images and words cut out from magazines, these boards can be used to inspire, maintain focus, shift perspective, and attract abundance into your life.

Have you ever created a vision board? What did you think of the process?

This episode will be aired in January and will be able to be viewed online as well.

The creative routine


Unsure of how other creative people (artists, writers, etc.) work, I seem to be at my best and most productive when I able to work when inspired. I had a friend that encouraged me to simply keep “showing up” as in, sit at the typewriter every day or in front of the easel every day, and creativity will eventually flow. I’m not sure I agree with that because it seems (for me) to generate a lot of wasted time and a lot of sub-par work.

As frustrating as the “showing up” felt to me, I’d feel an equal amount of fear if I didn’t do it because if I allowed myself to become distracted, I might never be able to tap back into that creative stream again. Ironically, I’ve since discovered that as soon as I have that thought and am able to push it away, I find myself right back in the creative flow. I guess for me, it’s all about having faith that the creative source is always there and is just waiting to be tapped. (Maybe if you look too hard for it, it just vanishes- like something from a Douglas Adams book.)

Image courtesy of cvg22 on Instagram

The Creative Retreat

Stephanie Smith Rhythm Renewal

Have you ever considered taking a creative retreat? I’ve been going to one in central Pennsylvania for the last seven years that includes a variety of expressive options such as hand drumming, African dance, writing, and mandala making. (Guess who teaches that class.) People of all skill levels have the opportunity to try new things in a safe environment- and speaking from experience, it can be life changing to do something you always wanted to with 100 people cheering you on.

8 Retreats to Spark Your Creativity

Art Making is Accessible to Everyone

Stephanie Smith Mandala

If I may, if like to share a little something with you about art that might make it more accessible to you. Children are able to create art without fear. Put any variety of art supplies in front of the average child and they will have a blast. Put those same supplies in front of the average adult and your likely to hear something like, “No thank you, I don’t draw because I’m not an artist.”

Here’s a few things that might help you warm up to the idea of making art. Continue Readering »

Friday Link Share!

Rhodia LeCarre

Three Good Things at Little Flower Petals

Journaling Through Your Injuries at Creative Write Now

Where do you get creative? at Lifehacker

List It Tuesday: Been There Done That at Daisy Yellow Blog

Creative Thinking Exercises for the Workplace at Chron

Packing for India at Urban Sketchers

Marker Review…..2nd Edition at Draw Doodle Decorate


This Old Notebook at Patrick Rhone

You Can Have my Notebook When You Pry it From My Cold, Dead Fingers at The Digital Reader

The Post Office at Collage Journeys

12 Most Inspired Online Resources for Creative Juice at 12Most

Pen Shows: The 2013 Philadelphia Pen Show Review at Anderson Pens.net

Robin Quivers gives Howard Stern a $1700 pen at Examiner.com

Writing works wonders: Personal growth, creativity among benefits of journaling for children at The Joplin Globe

F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret of Great Writing at The Passive Voice

51 Examples Of Matching Ink To Pen To Paper at Inkophile

Lisa Cargile’s Pencil Photography. at Pencil Revolution

Waterman Early Crusader at Fountain Pen Restoration

The Power of Handwritten Notes and Reminders at Journal in a Box

Myths About Our Right and Left Brains at Psychology Today

“Feels so nice, I’m afraid to use it”

It’s not the first time I’ve heard this – and to be truthful, I’ve said it a few times myself. You see, touch, or smell a fine new stationery product and all of a sudden you get this feeling that nothing you could possibly have to say is important enough to mar a single pristine page. But that’s just our inner critic trying to get the best of us.

Having the courage to put pen to paper is to be commended because many people don’t share the belief that everything we could ever wish to write is important. But I believe it is- at the very least, important to us in the moment that we are writing it.

In the art workshops I teach, I tend to focus more on the process of creating than on a finished product- because for many, the need exists to simply express themselves via art, writing, music, dance, without needing to be judged on the quality of their efforts.

Now go ahead and take the plastic off that fancy notebook sitting in your desk drawer and just write. Or doodle, scribble, draw… It’s all good. (Plus, you can always buy more.) 

Image via  LehtMoJoe on Flickr.

Picasso’s Sketchbook


“In the first weeks of 1907, Picasso took a slim little book – a since-battered leather wallet that was nothing much to begin with – and began to confide, day by day, his ideas about what could be done with the human figure. Sometimes the image was flat, wiry, schematic. Sometimes it had sculptural volumes, with plenty of ins and outs where ins and outs were called for. Only very rarely was a line crossed out, or a second thought as much as hinted at.” from an article in The New York Times

Want to try your hand at keeping a sketchbook? Here are a few articles to get you started:

  • How to keep a sketchbook
  • Sketchbooks
  • How to use a sketchbook to boost creativity
  • The sketchbook- a creative diary
  • The1901 Picasso sketch above was previously sold by The Court Gallery

    Sandra Strait Reviews the Clairefontaine Graf-It Pads

    We recently sent our friend Sandra Strait a Clairefontaine Graf-it pad to try out. She put this paper to the test by drawing in it with a multitude of different products including: pencil, colored pencil, alcohol markers, watercolors, drawing pens and more. Continue Readering »

    Sandra Strait, Clairefontaine, and Rubber Stamp Madness!

    From our good friend Sandra Strait (aka Molossus) of the blog Life Imitates Doodles.

    “This is a picture I did in my Clairefontaine Carnet de Voyage travel album for a Design Team blog hop with Viva Las Vegastamps! They decided to use it as an advertisement for the fall issue of Rubber Stamp Madness! Yay, Clairefontaine! Your excellent paper made it possible!”

    Congratulations! Sandra is well known for creating her amazing art with Zentangle inspired designs and patterns. You can actually read about the entire process that Sandra used to create this image in this post.

    Sandra’s original review of the Clairefontaine Carnet de Voyage travel album can be found here.

    Image above © Sandra Kay Strait.

    Take a Community Art Walk

    Since participating in the Lehigh Valley Art Wars last year, (a local live art competition) I’ve met and have become inspired by dozens of amazing local artists including Joey Gourniak, shown here in his Easton, PA art studio.

    I had the opportunity to visit Joey in studio last weekend when he opened it to the public as part of the 14th annual Easton Open Studio Arts Tour Continue Readering »

    Everyone is an Artist

    Once I started calling myself as an artist, it’s interesting how many people have shared with me that they have no talent for art.

    I beg to differ.

    While art to some may be the ability to create 3D renderings of what the eye sees, I believe that art=creativity and that it doesn’t have to come at the end of a paintbrush. It can come in the kitchen when looking in the fridge and cupboards to see what you can “whip up” for dinner. It can come when planting a garden and deciding which plants should go where. Putting together a slide show presentation for the boardroom is most certainly creative as is juggling your schedule to get all of your errands completed this week.

    I just wanted to make sure you received the credit you deserved. :o)

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    Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

    Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.