An Art Teacher’s Take on Getting in Touch with Your Inner Artist

Chapin Shearer Schnick is a past president and vice-president of membership for Eta/Purdue, and is a current seventh-year art teacher in Indianapolis. She has presented at both the National and Indiana Art Education Association Annual Conferences about harnessing student creativity through engagement and physical activity.  Email her at

Two pages from the “30 Things I Love You More Than” book I made my husband for his 30th birthday.

Two pages from the “30 Things I Love You More Than” book I made my husband for his 30th birthday.

No matter your art experience—whether you have shown work in a gallery, sold items at a craft fair, or harbor a Pinterest crafting addiction—you can probably agree that flexing your creative muscle can be incredibly relaxing.

To celebrate”Inspire your Heart with Art Day” on Jan. 31, I encourage you to try one of the following, or even share your own idea in the comments.

Listed by degree of difficulty/amount of time required.

  • Head outdoors with your camera or smart phone and snap shots of your favorite locations around town.
  • Use an app like Phonto or Photoshop Express on your phone to add text and a pretty border to your current profile pictures on social media.
  • Download Flipagram or Animoto to easily turn your favorite pictures into a free shareable video with music of your choice!
  • Write a meaningful note to someone you’ve been meaning to call and “snail mail” it. (Bonus points for including a drawing, photo, or gift card!)
  • Comb through your existing Pinterest boards (ones you haven’t visited in weeks or months) and start on that project you were SO excited about when you pinned it. If you have put off creating a Pinterest account, today is the day to do it.
  • Make a book for a loved one that outlines the things you love about them and draw an image to represent each. (Google image searches for reference are totally acceptable; I do that, and I’m an artist/art teacher!)
  • Make a date with a friend or family member to do some cookie or cupcake decorating. Beautiful, fun, and yummy to boot!
  • Utilize Shutterfly to make art using favorite photos for that bare wall space you haven’t been sure how to fill. Shutterfly is notorious for amazing freebees, if you sign up for the newsletter. I have only paid shipping on my Christmas cards and annual calendar for the past four years.
  • Put all of that great scrapbook paper you’ve hoarded over the years to good use and create a one-of-a-kind work of word art. Write a favorite quote or your family’s names on the white side, and then carefully trace around each letter to easily make them into bubble letters. Cut out and mount on another pattern or color. Note: an inexpensive x-acto knife will come in handy for the “guts” of letters, like the interior triangle in an “A.”
  • Sign up for a local pottery, drawing, photography, or painting class. These are available at your local art museum, libraries, and community centers, and usually run under $100 (plus the cost of materials) for a multi-session class.

Now go forth, be creative, and report back here!

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