Drawing in the Margins, Coloring Outside the Lines

December 21st, 2006

Here's another idea about how to bring creativity into your everyday life: Draw in the margins!

I get ideas when I read. When I own a book, I will often draw in the margins of the pages, filling them with whatever is going through my mind (doodles, sketches of art ideas, poems, thoughts about what I just read, things to remember, etc...) I used to think of books as something so precious that you should never soil them with writing. But once I got started, I really came to love it. And it's fun to look back over my notes later on. I may not make a piece of art from every drawing in the books I mark up, but by getting them down on the page, I give these ideas the opportunity to come to life, whereas I might forget them soon after otherwise. It's also a great way to make the book my own. Getting the ideas down as I read also allows me to concentrate more fully on what I'm reading instead of floating off into my head.

So try this: When you're next reading a newspaper, a magazine, an essay, or a book (that you own!) keep a pen or pencil in your hand and get that inspiration down in the margins. It's not a formal place for art-making, but it's a great way to infuse creativity into your everyday life.

I think another way to get your creative juices flowing, no matter where you are is to change your perception of what an art surface is. So, yes, a book or newspaper is a great start, but where else can you go?

I was thinking about Self Portrait Tuesday last night and the theme which is "red." I went into the bathroom and pulled out my collection of lipsticks. I don't wear lipstick (I do up my eyes, when I wear make-up), but I have a bunch of lipsticks, ones my mom gave me mostly and some I've purchased to try and not liked; a bunch of them are from as far back as high school. Yikes! I found the most red one I have and put it on and laughed a little. I look weird in lipstick I think. As I pondered my rosy lips, I was suddenly inspired to go further. I took the lipstick and began to draw in swirls and curls on my face. I used every lipstick I had, orange and bronze, peach and maroon, and then some eyeliner and eye shadow. It was loads of fun. I took some crazy pics after.




Face as canvas, sure, why not? I would love to do body painting on a person sometime. When the fiansor got home later, I showed him the pics and he got a  kick out of them. He said he liked them because it looked like I got into character. Later, it made me think a bit of war paint, a more feminine version of it.

I was planning to submit this birdhouse ornament to last week's Inspire Me Thursday and now it's late, oh well. I usually paint or collage ornaments every year and I did this one last night. You can get the little paper mache ornaments at craft stores, I painted this one with gesso and drew on it with colored pencils.


Can you tell I had some fun last night? Yep, I also got my period and felt ten times better. Perhaps that's why I was drawn to explore the red theme. Oddly enough the day I got my very first period, at the late blooming age of 14, I was wearing an all red jumper thing, I was dressed head to toe in red. Just another example of the subconscious busting through in colorful ways. I love that.

5 Responses

you are ambitious and filled with wonderful ideas; what an inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

hugs and blessings this holiday season,

Leah this is a wonderful post! I am smiling at your fun night. I wish you lived just a little closer so we could have an art night! We can still do that but you know everything has to be schedule when you have children!

I LOVE your “war paint”
The phrase “love paint” just popped into my head.:)

So cool!

and I too write in my books! I just started last year when we read the Artist Way. Now I write in my books all the time. I retain more and looking back is so much fun!

Have a great day!

PS I sent you an email to be a guest author on the Create a Connection blog. Let me know when you get it.

Hi there – long time no comment (from me anyway). I draw/write in book margins too. It takes a lot of self control not to do it in library books.

Neat makeup you’re wearing :D

I love it! Have you seen that book Body Painting: The Masterpieces of Joanne Gair?
here’s a link to it:

(sorry, i don’t know how to do it the easy way). Your face painting reminds me of that. I’ve always had the desire to paint myself entirely silver or gold. I like thinking of the body as a canvas…as a work of art.

As for drawing/writing in the margins…oooh! I can’t help myself. I don’t draw so much as I write notes to myself as I read. My husband makes fun of me for doing it because he thinks it’s a product of too much education. I like to think of it as having a conversation with the author. ;)

Happy Holidays to you!!!

i declare that art will fully saturate my 2007. you’re an inspiration for that.

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