Why am I so into creating small recently?


  • I get to see more progress in less time.
  • I get to experiment with different styles of art and writing. If I mess up or if what I'm trying doesn't work, I don't feel like I've wasted a ton of time. 
  • It's less intimidating because there is less space to fill.
  • Easy to share. I confess it's been awhile since I've used Instagram. Social media has always been touch and go for me, but if I wanted to regularly share a piece of art or writing, creating small makes it easier.
Overall, creating small allows me to get more satisfaction with how I use my limited creative time. Lately, I've been focusing on creating small art, but I have some plans on how to throw some small writing into the mix as well. 

How to Create Small Art

  • Decide on a medium
  • Use a small canvas or paper (4" x 6" or 4" x 4" are good sizes)
  • Set a day to start
  • Try to finish your art in one day (shooting for doing art that can be finished in less than an hour is ideal).

Trying to finish in one day means that you may have to avoid complicated subjects that require a ton of details. I have to confess though, my first small painting took me three days! It took so long because I was having a hard time getting what I wanted on the canvas, and I kept making changes. I think this is a normal part of making art, so be gentle with yourself if you find that you're not progressing on a piece like you wish you could.

It also took me awhile to figure out what I could paint in under an hour. When my paintings failed to meet my time goals, I finished the painting I was working on and examined what I could do to make my next project simpler.

I've seen advice that encourages making artwork featuring your favorite objects when you're first starting out. However, I strongly prefer drawing people over objects. Doing small art of people can be challenging if you're a perfectionist like me. But the following books have helped me let go of my perfectionism and get into drawing people more intuitively and quickly:

  • Drawing & Painting Beautiful Faces by Jane Davenport
  • Creative Girl Mixed Media Techniques for an Artful Life by Danielle Donaldson
  • Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley

I have Fabulous Figures also by Jane Davenport on my wish list. For more about creating small art in general, check out Daily Painting by Carol Marine.

Ideas for Small Writing

Doing small art has inspired me to give small writing some thought. I haven't tried it yet, but when I do, here's how I plan to go about it:

  • Pick a project
  • Use an index card
  • Set a day to start
  • Fill the index card with writing in one day (most likely, I could fill an index card with writing in under an hour).
What makes this different from small art is that filling the index card is the goal instead of finishing a project. This makes it a better fit for novels and longer works.

Right now, I'm working on multiple projects. I'm too far along with my current short story to give this a try, but the next short comic I have planned would be a good fit.

Other projects I think it would be fun to fill an index card with:

  • Flash fiction
  • Content for a zine
  • Journal entries by characters in one of my stories
  • A poetry collection
  • Writing separate paragraphs that are all related to one theme

When I try it, I'll make sure to share how it goes 😉. Overall, creating small has allowed me to create prolifically despite how insanely busy I am, and I find that invigorating and exciting.