Why I quit posting my daily paintings on social media

I began my 30-minute daily painting challenge in November of last year.

I realized I’d been putting my art making on a back burner and thought daily challenge would reinvigorate my practice.

(You can read more about my challenge in this blog post and this one.)

My new challenge did help me tremendously to develop  a habit to sit and paint every day. Once it became a habit, I’d feel uneasy if I hadn’t painted by mid-afternoon.

But, I was also getting really stressed out.

It wasn’t the act of painting that was stressful – for the most part, I looked forward to my painting time, and it was calming and relaxing – but, I began to pressure myself to create something my followers would “like” on social media.

I knew intellectually the daily creative practice was ultimately for me but would feel bad when I got fewer “likes.”

Rather than creating something I felt like creating, I began painting something I thought my followers would respond to better.

Rather than being playful and curious, I was carefully crafting works that were attractive and well put together.

And to do so in 30 minutes became so exhausting! It’s like creating a concept, writing your first draft, editing, and publishing an article all in 30 minutes. I was making so many micro-decisions while I painted, and that was not enjoyable at all.

Plus posting my artwork every day became a chore – not only did I spend 30+ minutes for prepping, painting, and clean up, but it took extra 30 minutes to take a decent photo, edit the image, write the captions and hashtags for Instagram, and schedule the post every day.

It was taking the time and energy away (not to mention my social media real estate) from the work I should’ve been focusing on, which is making products and promoting them to generate more income for my business.

So I decided to quit posting my paintings on social media after day 183.

This is the last painting I posted officially.

I still sit down to make something every day. But rather than focusing on finishing a presentable piece in 30 minutes, I might just make a quick 10-15 minute painting or take longer if I feel like it. Or I’d collage. Or draw with pen and markers.

It just depends on what I feel like making that day, and since I don’t have the pressure to share and get more “likes”, I’m more relaxed and free.

The practice was actually enjoyable again!

These are some of the art I made after I quit posting.

(I still do share the peek of it on my Instagram Stories every day. But since the images go away after 24 hours, and you don’t have the “like” counts, it’s a lot less pressure.)

I realized it was more important for me to exercise my creative muscle every day than to create something that looks good every day.

I did lose some followers as a result, and I hate backing out of my word – but, I allowed myself to quit  because it was no longer helping me to achieve my goal.

So far, not posting my work hasn’t stopped me from making art every day (I’m on day 213 as of the time of writing this article), and I call that a success!

Who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind again in the future, and that’s OK, too.

When you set a goal, it’s important that you pay attention to the little voice inside of you and course correct when something doesn’t feel good to you any more.

There is absolutely no need for you to keep doing something that doesn’t bring you joy or bring you closer to your goal! Your work will suffer in a long run, and you’ll eventually get burned out.

And, burnout, my friend, is the worst enemy of an artist.

We all suffer from the “like” addiction, and recognizing how it hinders you from expressing your authentic creative voice is the first step in overcoming that addiction. 

Now, go do your thing 🙂 The world needs you to keep creating the things only you can!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

 

 

 

 

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New Drawing Tutorial on YouTube

Hello, hello!

My “Let’s draw a poppy!” drawing tutorial is on Sakura of America’s YouTube channel now!

You can watch it here:

It’s super quick and easy, all you need is colored markers (I use Sakura Koi Brush Pens), a black pen (I use my Micron), and a sketchbook.

I love drawing these cheerful poppies 🙂 They make me excited for the summer months ahead!

You can play with different color combos, too.

Purple & magenta poppies with green Gellyroll outline for the leaves and stems.
Yellow & orange poppies. They look like tiny sun 🙂
Blue and purple poppies with white Gellyroll lines.

These poppies are joy to draw ❤ Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag me (@honeyberrystudios) if you share your poppy drawings 🙂

Happy creating!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

 

 

 

 

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My Favorite Tool: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White™

Gouache is an opaque watercolor, and it’s one of my favorite medium to paint with!

I like it because I can achieve a flatter effect and can make crisp lines and shapes that look great against the white (or black) paper.

I use gouache paints from several different brands but wanted to highlight one gouache paint I like and use all the time : Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White™

I first learned about this product in August Wren’s gouache painting class on creativebug.

I like the look of crisp white lines and details on watercolor paintings, and even though regular white gouache from the tube works just fine, I became curious and decided to give it a try.

White lines show up so nicely against black.

It comes in a small 1fl. oz jar. I typically just dip the clean, wet brush directly into the jar to use it.

The paint is quite thick so you could mix it with a little bit of water.

I typically wet the brush first and then dip it in the jar. If it seems too wet (like you can see the water dripping from the brush), I’d just wipe it lightly on a paper towel. Start with a tiny bit of water first, or it’ll be thinned down too much and lose the opacity. Do experiment!

Per the manufacturer, Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White™ isn’t meant for mixing with other colors, so I use regular white gouache for blending.

Unlike regular watercolor, which would allow the white color of the paper to show through, gouache is opaque, so adding white paint helps to create lighter colors.

I also use it to cover up or clean up any mistakes! It’s essentially a white-out paint 🙂

I don’t know if you can see, but I modified her wing size/shape with the bleedproof white.

And it’s useful as a base layer as well when you’re layering colors and you don’t want them to blend.

For example, in the painting below, I painted the chicken with grey/black, and then once it’s dry, I covered up the parts where her beak and wattles would go with Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White™ before I painted them with red and yellow.

You can see the little bit of grey showing through her comb where I didn’t lay the white first, and the yellow and red of beak and wattles show up brighter because I covered it up with white first.

I really enjoy adding extra details and texture to my work with Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White™, and if you like the look of it on my paintings, give it a try 🙂

You can get yours here.

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Dads Who Are a Little “Different”

Hi friend,

Father’s Day is only two weeks away! Do you need help finding a unique gift?

For some reason, I have a harder time picking a gift for my dad (or men in general) than buying something for my mom… 😀 It somehow requires more imagination to think of something he’d appreciate, so I end up getting him the same old sweets every year. Sweets are a sure bet for my dad !

In case you need fresh Father’s Day gift ideas, I pulled together a gift guide for dads who are a little “different” – maybe he’s not that into sports, maybe he likes to nerd out on board games. Maybe he’s obsessed with eating healthful foods (but likes to indulge every now and then).

Unique Father's Day gift ideas

1. “Authors Are My Rock Stars” T-shirt – Perfect for a book loving dad! Comes in variety of colors.

2. Pandemic Board Game – Does your dad enjoy playing board games (that are a little more involved than Uno or Yahtzee) with his friends? This cooporative, strategy game was recommended to me by my nerdy husband, and his friends also approve!

3. Healthy Creations’ Vegan, Allergy-Friendly Donuts – If your dad wants to eat healthy and has a sweet tooth to satisfy (or you want him to eat better :)), Chef Ariel has got you covered! Her super yummy gourmet vegan, gluten-free, nuts & refined sugar free donuts are made fresh and shipped nationwide from Seattle. Subscribe to her Donut of the Month Club, and get her delicious treats delivered to your dad (or you) every month!

4. “Thank You for Being An Awesome Dad to My Cats” Father’s Day Card – Does your dad have a sweet spot for his adorable feline family members? Refer your cat as his “grandkitty?” Then you gotta get him this card.

5. Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown – Is your dad into Star Wars? Always had a special bond with his daughter? This adorable illustrated book features Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, and his rebellious daughter, Leia, sharing funny and sweet father-daughter moments. They’ve also got Darth Vader and Son.

6. Espresso Coffee Scented Soap from Emily’s Handmade Soaps – If your dad is like me, and doesn’t drink coffee but loves the smell of it – Emily’s all-natural handmade coffee scented soap is perfect for him! It’s got real coffee ground in it for exfoliation and would make a great gift for a gardener dad, too!

Hope you found something your dad will love 🙂

cat lovers father's day card

p.s. My Cat Dad Father’s Day card was a big hit with my husband last year, and lots of my customers have gotten a kick out of it, too 🙂 You can shop them in my Etsy shop. I also have a Dog Dad Father’s Day Card here.

xo

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What I did during my sabbatical week

Hello! I hope you’re enjoying a nice Memorial Day weekend!

I’m not doing anything special… 😀 Since I quit my regular job almost 2 yeas ago (!!), I don’t keep track of holidays very much any more, except for the big winter holidays. Dave is out of town this weekend (he comes home later tonight, thou) so I’m just enjoying peace and quiet.

Speaking of peace and quiet (notice my smooth segue? :D), I was on my mini sabbatical a couple of weeks ago.

(If you don’t know what my mini sabbaticals are, I’ve been taking every 7th week off since October 2015 to rest and recharge. You can read more about it here.)

I’d been feeling tired, unmotivated, and low-energy for a couple of weeks leading up to it and knew I really needed that time off.

I had a couple of work stuff and chores to take care of but didn’t plan too much else. Had dinner with a couple of friends but otherwise enjoyed my alone time, which is super important for an introvert like me! (Dave was out of town for work for most of the week.)

On Tuesday, I went to my pottery class. I had a few underglazed mugs that came out of the kiln so I glazed them.

I find glazing (putting the shiny coat once it’s fired once) to be the hardest part! I tend to lay it on too thick, I guess, and it tends to crack once it’s fired…:( I hope these mugs will turn out OK. (BTW, I talked about the joys and struggles of being a beginner on this blog post!)

On Thursday afternoon I block printed! My pottery instructor asked me to make a studio apron for her, so I’d been designing a new pottery-themed art for it.

Pottery tool block print ❤

It was more complicated than my usual design, and I loved how it came out! And she loved the apron 🙂

On Saturday, I vended at the Bastyr University Herb & Food Fair! We had such a gorgeous weather and had a great turnout!

This is my booth!

Shows are a lot of work, but most of the time it’s worth it! This fair had a nice laid-back vibe, and the shoppers were super nice 🙂

And lots of cute dogs, too!! <3<3<3

The show was more successful than I expected, which is always a plus 🙂

Although my sabbatical was a bit on a busy side, I was so energized and ready to go by the time Monday rolled around. I was so focused and productive.

It confirmed my belief again that taking a regular time off isn’t a luxury for me or my business – it’s a requirement for my success and happiness! 

If you’re curious about how I spend my sabbatical weeks, you can read my past sabbatical blog posts here!

Have a great week, my friend 🙂 Do more self-care!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

3 Books to Boost Your Creative Motivation

Do you like to read?

I have friends who are constantly reading multiple books at any given time – I’m not one of them 😀 I would get so confused if I did that!!

But, I do like to read for fun and also read books that are related to business and creativity (which is also fun for me!)

If you’re looking for motivational, cure-your-self-doubt books for your creative practice, I highly recommend these 3 books!

They’re all pretty easy to read and offer lots of practical and actionable tips.

1. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist, available here.

I’ve heard of this book recommended for artists for a long time but just picked it up a few months ago and loved it!

I loved Austin’s drawings and encouraging messages throughout the book.

Especially this piece in the picture above spoke to me when I was feeling my work was all over the place (I’m interested in making art in different medium and styles etc. Who isn’t??) and feeling insecure about it.

I’d also been intentionally avoiding watching tutorials of artists whom I admired (and I thought our work had similar vibes) because I was afraid I’d unintentionally copy their work.

But after reading the part about human hands not being able to copy something with 100% accuracy, I felt better about it and totally let go.

Now I watch whatever classes I want from whomever and learn something useful without “stealing” their work. After all, I can only make work that looks like mine. It was liberating!!

2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic, available here.

I may be an anomaly, but I didn’t know about Elizabeth Gilbert until last month 😀

I’d never read Eat Pray Love or watched the movie. Somehow I never came across her work until I watched her interview with Marie Forleo on this episode of Marie TV. 

I was actually listening to the podcast version of the show while I was on my afternoon walk, but it was SO GOOD I had to stop and post the screenshot to my Instagram Stories 🙂

Her advice for nurturing creativity while living with fear was so spot-on. I also really appreciated her sense of humor 😀

As soon as I got home, immediately ordered her book on Amazon and devoured it.

I always find it encouraging to hear that someone as successful as Liz wasn’t always so successful – reading about how she had series of day jobs and received hundreds of rejection letters for many years before she could make a full-time income from writing reminded me that I need to be patient and keep making art and putting it out there even if I don’t see the desired outcomes, like, right NOW!

 

BTW, I started reading Eat Pray Love after I finished The Big Magic. It’s good 🙂

3. The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

The Crossroads of Should and Must, available here.

My dear friend gave me this book back in 2015 while I was contemplating whether or not to quit my job to pursue art full-time.

I had so many questions – mostly out of fear – about making a transition from my regular job to being a working artist.

What if I fail? What if I don’t make enough money? What if Dave loses his job? Do I have what it takes? What if I lose my passion??

This book addresses many of those scary questions and offers helpful tips for finding your passion and following them in a way that makes sense to you.  Elle helps you to become more confident with your voice, making time for your creativity, getting over your fear, and much, much more in a compassionate and encouraging manner.

Just reading the first couple of chapters about Elle’s own transition from a well-paying job to being an artist helped center me while I was going through the big changes in my life.

My situation was different than hers, but it was encouraging to know that it is possible.

Of course, I loved all the art and lettering! When I got the book, I paged through quickly to see all the art first 🙂 Do you do that, too?

If you read any of these books, let me know what you think! Do share in the comment if you have other recommendations!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

p.s. I’m going to be on my sabbatical week, so no new blog post next Sunday! See you in a couple of weeks 🙂

Have you met Lucy, the Yoga Chicken?

In my recent daily paintings, I did a mini series featuring Lucy, the Yoga Chicken.

What got me started was this illustration of the chicken sitting and meditating. It was particularly a busy day, and I was feeling like a chicken with its head cut off – but wanted to feel calmer.

Meditation chicken

A friend saw it on Instagram and suggested I do a series of chickens in yoga poses, so I thought, “Why not? That sounds like fun!”

So, for 10 days, I illustrated a chicken in various yoga poses!

Triangle pose
Eagle pose
Standing Bow Pulling pose

I used to be an avid Bikram Yoga (a.k.a. Hot Yoga) practitioner and many of the poses in the series are may favorite from the practice then.

Pigeon pose
Tree pose
Child pose

Along the way, I started calling her “Lucy.” It just came to me out of nowhere and I thought it would make a cute name for a chicken 😀

Camel pose
Rabbit pose
Savasana, the corpse pose

She’s such a good yogini!! 🙂 It relaxes me just to see her in these poses!

Do you practice yoga? What poses are your favorite??

I hope Have a centering day 🙂

xo

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Handmade Gifts to Delight Mom! (Order by May 5th)

Mother’s Day is May 14th!

I’ve got a variety of gift ideas for your creative mom in my shop

And if you’re a mom yourself, feel free to share this post with your family so they get the “hint” 😉

OK, here goes!

1. Mother’s Day Cards

First and foremost, sending your mom a Mother’s Day card is the easiest way to make her smile 🙂

Blue Lilac Mother’s Day card is perfect if you want something different than the usual pink and purple cards.

Hen & Chicks Mother’s Day card is so adorable! Is your mom a gardener? Or a chicken aficionado? It has the message “Happy Mother’s Day!” inside.

Pink Bouquet Mother’s Day card – there is nothing wrong with loving flowers! This warm watercolor flowers will make her feel loved ❤

2. Blank Kraft Journals

These small (5″x7″) kraft notebooks are great for recording your thoughts and feelings, keeping your garden logs, or jotting down ideas for an exciting project!

They’re available as singles or a set of 3 – you know, in case you want to keep one for yourself 🙂


Blue Succulent Notebook is available here.

You can order your Green Leaf Notebook here.

Watercolor Circle Flowers Notebook is available here.

3. Hand Printed Canvas Totes

Does your mom frequent the local farmer’s market? Or always lugging lots of books and knitting projects wherever she goes?

My hand printed canvas totes are sturdy and you can fit a lot in there!

I designed and carved this artichoke design and hand printed them myself! It’s color fast and machine washable (though there will be some shrinkage.)

I have a very limited supply of these and not sure if I’ll be making any more, so order NOW if you want it! You can also see totes with lemon design here.

4. Art Prints

I’ve handpicked a few art prints your mom might enjoy 🙂

Rooster Friends art print is such a crowd pleaser! In fact, one of my customers ended up buying 2 of these because her mom saw it and really loved it, too 🙂

Be Gentle with Yourself ❤ Frankly, I think all of us can use this reminder sometimes. But I know moms especially could use a gentle push to take care of themselves 🙂

Does your mom encourage you (and her grandkids) to eat more vegetables? This Eat a Rainbow art print will make her kitchen brighter and gives everyone a fun reminder to eat more veggies 🙂

What do you think?

If your mom loves colorful handmade art, she’ll be delighted to receive your gifts from Honeyberry Studios

And, if you live in the U.S., be sure to place your order before Friday, May 5th to ensure timely delivery before Mother’s Day.

Have a lovely day, friend!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

p.s. Missed the link to my shop? You can go here 🙂

On being a beginner

I’ve been taking a pottery class at a local community college since January.

And, I LOVE it.

Growing up in Japan, I’ve always loved pottery and wanted to learn. My husband gave me the class for Christmas last year, and it’s turned out to be one of the best gifts yet!

Black poppy tiny dishes

First of all, I appreciate having a creative outlet that’s not related to my business.

When I’m playing with the clay in the pottery studio on Tuesdays, I’m there to enjoy myself and create whatever I feel like creating. It doesn’t matter if it looks wonky. I don’t have to wonder if it’s going to sell.

For a few hours, I can focus on the joy of simply creating for the sake of creating, which sadly, gets buried under a pile of business tasks in my day-to-day.

Tiny bowls. I use the ones with line drawings for nuts, chips, dips, etc.

When I’m making my pottery pieces, I feel like a total beginner. 

When I’m hand-building a cup, 95% of the time it flairs out and becomes a bowl. 2 out of 3 mugs I made has cracks where I attached the side to the bottom piece.

My tall cups are definitely not round when you look at them from the top, and it’s not level when you look at them from the side. None of my pieces are even in thickness.

More wonky bowls and cups!

I see the beautiful pieces my instructor and more seasoned students (some of the students have been in the class for 15+ years!!) make and get so inspired.

Some of them make stunning wheel-thrown bowls and cups while others make complicated and unique sculpture pieces. They’d come to the studio with a big bag stuffed with their own tools, brushes, and bottles of special glazes etc. (All I bring to the class is my brushes to paint underglazes on :D)

Throughout the quarter, we do a critique every time our pieces come out of the kiln.

Although I love all of my pieces, including the flaws and wonkiness, I feel a little embarrassed to see my pieces on the table among more sophisticated pieces other students had made. 

Being a beginner allows me to be humble and reminds me to be patient. It reminds me that only way to get better is to make less-than-great work many, many, many times.

Poster by Nikki Hampson

You may have seen this Ira Glass quote about imperfection. It’s a classic and such a good reminder for any creatives learning something new!

Being a beginner also allows me to be less precious with my work.

I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m less afraid to make a mistake (or don’t know if I’m making a mistake…:D) It’s like I have a permission to be more experimental and playful, which I tend to forget when I’m doing my “work” work.

And, when I make something for myself purely for the joy of it, it often resonates well with my audience, too.

Cats & dog bowls. Underglazed and fired once.

This is another lesson for me – Sometimes I think too much about what other people may want from me when I create my illustration work, and I’m no longer listening to my intuition about what I want to create.

I have to remind myself that people can tell when I create something from the place of joy and delight, and that’s what speaks to them the most.

I’m continuing to take the class this quarter and can’t wait to make more wonky pottery pieces!

Fellow artists and makers – do you have a creative hobby that’s not related to your regular work? 

Tell me in the comment! 🙂

xo Yuko

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My Favorite Tools: Sakura Koi Watercolor Field Sketch Box

You probably know I’ve been painting 30 minutes every day since November.

(You can see my daily paintings on Instagram!)

My favorite painting tool to use is this Sakura Koi Watercolor Field Sketch Box. You’ve probably seen it in many of my drawing tutorials 🙂

It comes in several pre-set colors (between 12 and 48), and the colors are so fun and vibrant!

I use the 24-color set, by the way.

Since I’ve been painting with the blues a lot lately, my blues are almost gone!

Exhibit A

But since I have the exact colors in the Sakura Koi watercolor paint tubes, I could just refill the slots and keep working with the same set.

pretty blues ❤

Needless to say, this Field Sketch Box is super handy to take with you when you’re out and about, but I use it even when I’m painting at home.

With this box set, your set-up is so easy. You just open up the box, and you’re ready to paint.

I usually paint on my crowded desk or a small dining table and don’t have a lot of room to spread out, so its compact size is ideal.

I also mix Sakura Koi watercolor with other watercolor or gouache (an opaque watercolor) paints.

Here is an example of a painting where I used watercolor and gouache.

I just squeeze a little bit of a paint on the palette and use it as is or create different hues by mixing them up with the existing colors.

The set comes with a refillable water brush.

(By the way, don’t throw away the black plug that’s attached to the barrel handle – that’s what keeps the water vessel filled while transporting it in the box. You can still transport the brush filled with the water with the brush tip and the cap on, but it won’t fit in the box. Just FYI! I totally threw it away when I first opened my box and deeply regret it :D)

When I paint at home, I typically use regular watercolor brushes with a jar of water, but the water brush is convenient when you’re traveling and don’t have access to water.

It’s got small sponges on both sides of the paint cakes to clean your brush with. I just use paper towel to clean my brushes, though. Just a habit, I guess.

My palette tends to get messy – I’m ok with that unless I need a clean surface to blend my paints on.

Embrace the mess!

I just take a wet paper towel (or you can spray some water with a spray bottle) and wipe the area clean. That’s it! So easy.

If you’re looking for a fun and economical way to play with watercolor painting, you should give it a try! You can locate a store near you here 🙂

xo Yuko

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