Have you ever sat down to a blank page, ready to create something wonderful - then ground to a halt?

Did you have a zillion ideas and couldn’t decide which one to choose, or was your mind as empty as that page and wouldn’t come up with anything?

Or was there a great idea in your head - but the minute you sat down, pen in hand, it seemed a bit obscure and you convinced yourself no-one would want to buy it?

I imagine you don’t have the luxury of time to sit there for an hour pondering. You’re trying to earn a living at this and need to draw something.

So what sells? What can you count on?

Birds, butterflies and flowers.

They’re about as commercial as it gets. Year in year out, they feature in designs for just about every product you can think of.

If you know anything about my artwork, you’ll know I do them over and over again. Not because I’m an avid nature enthusiast (I can barely name a species), but because they sell.

They’re also beautiful, offering endless possibilities for exploring colour and form. When I want to try out something, they’re perfect vehicles for a new technique. They’re versatile and can stand alone as the primary focal point in a design, or be used as decorative elements for other subject matter.

So when I’m faced with that blank page and a small window of time, I design a bird, butterfly or flower. Over time I’ve built up a bank of imagery that I pull from whenever I need it. I’ve also strengthened my style a lot, by repetition.

I’m setting myself a challenge to create a single bird, butterfly or bloom every day. I’ll be posting to IG stories and feed. Please join me!

Tag @victoriajohnsondesign and #birdsbutterfliesandblooms

(Since #inktober2019 is running simultaneously, why not do it as part of that too - it’s great motivation for all of us!!)

Think small - nothing fancy or polished. Try something new on a scrap of paper. Do it while you’re watching telly. Humble beginnings often lead to interesting outcomes.

To see what I mean, have a look at these sketches. I drew these birds while sat in a deck chair watching my kids swim - and had no idea they’d become Editor’s Picks in the Minted West/ Elm competition the following year.

The little, scrappy butterfly sketches were the basis of some of my best selling designs ever. They became a fabric collection and numerous cards.

I hope you’ll join me. I’d love to see what you do!

(HINT - if you’re interested in my course, Create Collections, you’ll find this comes in handy for the next one - running very soon.)

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Have you signed up for my FREE GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR ARTWORK IN FRONT OF CLIENTS. Hundreds of artists have and here’s just some of the feedback.

‘Just a quick note to say thanks very much for this fabulous & incredibly useful & reassuring guide - much appreciated! I was a purchasing director for 15 years (in hotels not art) so know that buyers are (mostly) human but have still been utterly terrified to approach anyone & am sitting on a pile of unpolished & unseen work just as you say in the document! This is such a useful guide & really breaks everything down into manageable non scary bitesize pieces. Thanks again for your generosity and I can’t wait for "Create Collections.'

‘What a helpful guide to getting organized to get clients! I have had in the back of my mind what I needed to do, but it was all a jumble.You spelled it out so beautifully! I really appreciate it!’

‘Just wanted to say thank you so much Victoria. This guide is a brilliant confidence booster! It will really help me prioritise as I come to a point where I'm ready to share my work. Lots of work to do - but having some focus and must-dos is such a great start. Thank you thank you thank you!!!’

‘Thank you so much for your very succinct and useful guide. It's so kind of you to share your experience in this way. I'm just starting out on my creative journey so I'm a little way off selling anything just yet but was keen to get an idea of what's involved.’