The Great Art Supply Experiment

I’m making a mess, and I hope you’ll join me. I’ll talk about what I’m doing in a minute, but first a quick story about a duo named Kermit and Larry.

Follow along and actually use the art supplies you bought.  A creative art experimentation series with Carla Schauer at
I bought this awesome-looking stuff, now what do I do with it?

The Digital Art Story

Once upon a time, there was a little green guy. He wasn’t much to look at, kind of oblong, a little flat, buggy eyes…oh, and did I mention he wore a crown?  My friends and I named him Kermit the Geico Hamburger, because he looked a little like all of those things, and a lot like none of them.  His cousin, Larry the Punk-a$$ Lizard showed up the next day, and my career path took a sharp turn that I’m still following.

Kermit and Larry were born from my first Adobe Illustrator lesson, learning the basic tools of the program and playing around exploring its capabilities.  That was 2010, and I’m still learning more that I can do with it, and with Photoshop.  4.5 years later, I’m making designs I love with skills that have come a long way from the Kermit & Larry days, and all because I decided to learn something new.

Woodland Whimsy Collection Preview from Carla Schauer Designs
Woodland Whimsy Collection Preview from Carla Schauer Designs

I love Illustrator.  It’s ideal for a creative person like me, whose left-brained perfectionism loves the UNDO command and who will hit command+z and hide layers with glee to remove pieces of a design I don’t like and rework them until they look on screen like they do in my head. Puzzling it together is amazingly satisfying, and may does result in a happy chair-dance when it finally comes together.

Beginning Adobe Illustrator images from 2010. What a difference!  Creative Growth Experiment image from Carla Schauer Designs.
My first Adobe Illustrator images. They still make me laugh too.

The Art Supply Experiment

But starting this week, I’m also going to make a mess.  A painty, inky, whatever-I-want-to-use-y, mess.  I’m getting out my long-neglected art supplies, and beginning my Great Art Supply Experiment (doesn’t that sound fancy?).  I’ll be starting with my giant wall of acrylic paint, exploring textures and brushes and generally doing whatever I want just to see what happens.

So why switch up something I love to do?  For several reasons:

  • I miss making a mess!  I used spend most of my days designing projects for craft manufacturers, getting out the glue, paint, paper, flowers and whatever else was needed.  Having all the supplies out together was creatively inspiring.
  • I have a ton of artsy supplies. I bought them with the intention of using them for crafting, then switched to digital surface design and never did.  They are screaming “use me!”.
  • I love texture.  As a kid I had to feel all the clothes at the department store, which drove my mother bananas.  I can create visual texture in my digital work, but if I try to touch the screen it just makes a big smear.  😉
  • I’m a heck of a lot smarter at 40. My definition of “art” has broadened, I’ve seen artistic ability grow with practice (exhibit Kermit, above), and I know I can’t be the only one who was afraid of jumping in and trying something different.
  • My right brain needs a jolt.  It’s getting lazy with my left brain doing all the planning and puzzling.  No planning in these exercises for me, at least for now. Only discovering.  Something may eventually end up in my licensing portfolio, or my etsy shop, or it may never leave the page of the notebook.  I’m ok with any of those.

I hope you will join me in my art supply experiment. Grab some of the supplies you’ve been pondering, a play notebook, and maybe a black or white marker if you plan on doing any journaling in your pages.

Start an art supply experiment notebook. Follow along with Carla Schauer Designs and experiment with some new supplies you've been wanting to try.
My Art Experiment notebook, for wet and dry media.

I’m starting with acrylic paint and brushes.  Feel free to follow along with some acrylic experimentation, or use whatever speaks to you each day.  There aren’t any rules. I’ll be sharing my week’s art play experimenting every Saturday, I’d love to see yours as well!

Thanks for stopping by!

Note: Find the first week’s experiment here!


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