5 Reasons To Sketch and Draw

“Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see – to see correctly – and that means a good deal more than merely looking with the eye.” Kimon Nicolaides

Even if you think you can’t draw, getting started with simple line sketches can get you in the groove. All you need to get started is a pencil, paper, and a little courage to make mistakes. And don’t forget to have fun along the way.
According to the dictionary, the difference between a sketch and a drawing is:
draw: verb… produce (a picture or diagram) by making lines and marks, especially with a pen or pencil, on paper.
sketch: verb…make a rough drawing of …
Here are my top 5 reasons why we should all experience sketching and drawing:
  1. Draw to experience greater freedom of expression. Drawing is like adding another language, after all art is a visual language.
  2. Draw to develop the right side of your brain, the creative side, which will help you view things with a different perspective and enhance problem solving skills. This is like working a muscle.
  3. Draw to expand your perception and awareness. Drawing teaches us to see differently. When we draw we begin to have more of a sense of awe and wonder because we see more of the usually unnoticed details.
  4. Draw to unleash and enhance your imagination which will allow you to be more daring. Expanding your creativity adds value to all aspects of your life.
  5. Draw to just have fun! Drawing can help you relax and relieve stress by getting lost in your drawing. It gets your mind off the stressful things previously occupying your mind.

Reconnect With Your Creative Self! ~Maria



10 Travel Sketching Tips

“Travel is the only context in which some people ever look around. If we spent half the energy looking at our own neighborhoods, we’d probably learn twice as much.” Lucy R. Lippard


Recently I began urban sketching to improve my skills. Aside from taking a travel sketching class and a few online classes on Craftsy, I am practicing my sketching and have put together these 10 tips which have helped me. You don’t need to travel far to enjoy and improve your sketching skills but you do need to practice.

10 Travel Sketching Tips

1. Choose your subject.

2. Decide what to keep and what not to draw in your sketch.


3. Keep it simple.

4. Break the scene down into shapes. Look for the contours of your scene.

5. Practice Single Line Sketching – Draw your horizon line using one single line, meaning that you should try doing this without picking up your pen. Think of single line sketching as visual notation…controlled scribble…a ball of string unrolling across the landscape.


6. Speed up. Speed forces you to simplify.

7. Loosen up. When you are trying to find the right line in your contour it is more likely you will find it after drawing several lines. This will prevent your sketch from looking stiff. Capture the essence of your scene, not all the details.


8. Travel with minimal supplies.

  • A small to medium sketchbook
  • HB pencil and eraser
  • One or two archival ink pens such as Micron
  • For adding color you can include a few watercolor pencils & a water brush.

9. Practice sketching from life as well as from your photos.

10. Practice Practice Practice! Sketching is a skill and will improve the more you practice. Keep a sketchbook and sketch every day if possible. Sketch objects in your immediate surroundings. Go outside your own backyard, your neighborhood cafe, or park and sketch.


Reconnect with your creative self!~Maria

Museum Day

It was all about inspiration, learning, and stealing like an artist at the Blanton Museum. My friend Damita Miller-Shanklin invited me to spend a creative afternoon with her so we decided on the Blanton Museum since she had never been. Before going in, we sat on the bench and did a quick Snapseed lesson on our iphones. I personally love using Snapseed when I travel to quickly edit my photos on my iphone.


The exhibit “In The Company of Cats & Dogs” is up until September 21st. We even participated by drawing a dog and hanging it alongside others, although I’m thinking that was meant for children to do –  but why not, it was fun.


We enjoyed stealing like an artist at the museum….after all these are some great pieces of art and one thing we focused on was looking for details within a painting….details that speak to us and seem to stand on their own.

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When we came out I noticed a mom with her children leaving the museum. I liked how the little girl climbed the bench and walked alongside. It reminded me of when my kids were young and so I had to capture this.


Lastly, I just had to capture this fabulous majestic Texas star in front of the Bob Bullock museum on my way to the parking garage. I do love Texas!


Until next time, “Be Inspired to Create!” #bi2c ~Maria

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” Friedrich Nietzsche



It’s Not Trash, It’s Poetry

Every day I seem to get a lot of junk mail and magazines I’m sure I never ordered. I used to throw it all away without even thinking about it until I learned about blackout poetry. I first came across a TED talk by Austin Kleon talking about this so I bought his book, Newspaper Blackout. It totally changed how I look at text, particularly magazines but really, anything and everything can be your victim. All you need is a black marker. It’s fun creating things for friends too. These are some of my blackout poems.

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(You’re lucky to experience Love. This is Life.)

photo 3(Boredom created to keep you engaged with yourself. Get serious there’s a game to be played soon. Fun pays off.)


(Travel to me is diversity in which nature is prepared by consistent spirit.)

IMG_4897(Diego & Jerry Lynn at their marriage dancing.)  I used the actually wedding invitation to make a card with a photo I took at the wedding. I wrote a personal note on the flap and mailed it back to them.

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Until next time, “Be Inspired to Create!” #bi2c ~Maria

Get Help Where You Need it

Even as someone with an art and publishing background, I have found that I really needed help with so much if I was going to take my “art & passion” to the next level. I have come to slowly but surely rely on talent around me to get the social media presence I need and want.

I am surrounded by talent! I needed a video interview of myself….my son Erik Gatling is a videographer…. I made a phone call to him and now I have it. I needed some profile photos as well as a couple of banners to rotate on my site….my daughter Nicole Gatling is a photographer/designer….I have some great photos and banners.

Mostly, I needed someone with a creative mind who also had a strong marketing and social media sense. I needed someone who really got what I was about to pull all of this together, look at the bigger picture, and help me create that image. Linda Battson of Vision Hitch has done that for me. Her publishing company, Slow Burn Books, published my second edition of “Be Inspired! Create Something Everyday”.  She gave me advice on launching my FB page, Be Inspired To Create, and brainstormed with me to find a unique hashtag: #Bi2C. On this site, she has made improvements and has given me priceless advise and tips.

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Do what you do well and get help where you need it most.

Until next time, “Be Inspired to Create!” #bi2c ~Maria