Art Inspiration Booklet for 2010

January 6, 2010 at 5:07 pm 6 comments

This year I got inspired. It was time to do something different.

For the last few years, I wrote up a “business plan” for my art business each January. It’s a Word document, about eight pages long, all text, no pictures. Frankly, it’s not much fun. And not surprisingly (especially in 2009) not much use either. (See this article about why business plans are pretty useless.)

I have all sorts of plans and goals for 2010. Some for my personal life, some for my art. I have my word of the year picked out. I’ve thought about what worked in 2009, and what I want to do differently in 2010. I have ideas that I might or might not actually do, but I need to write them all down so I don’t forget them. In short, I need a way to write this stuff down, but the stodgy old business plan format isn’t working for me any more.

Just in the nick of time, I found Lisa Sonora Beam’s blog, where she shows how she makes a visually appealing booklet (she calls it a “strategic planner”) to contain all her plans, goals, and ideas for the new year. What a great idea! As she says, creative people need visual stimulation. You can see what her booklet looks like here. It’s pretty fabulous. (She does have the advantage of being a collage artist.)

Inspired by her adorable booklet I decided to scrap my usual art “business plan” in favor of my own version of the booklet. It was so much fun to make! Here’s a peek:

OK, the cover isn’t the most exciting part. It gets better inside, where I’ve collaged images of other artists’ work for artistic inspiration and visual stimulation. This is the stuff that gets my creative juices flowing!

The first page lists some of my personal values (“integrity,” “honesty,” etc.) plus my word for the year, “prolific.” I chose prolific because I intend to create more art than ever this year.

The next page lists my personal goals, like decluttering and daily exercise. Additional pages include my artistic and business goals, and some ideas for better time management.

I collect pithy sayings, so I put some of those in the booklet too.

I was pretty frugal about the materials I used. The pages are some old cardstock I had lying around (standard 8.5×11 inches). I cut out some images from an Artful Home catalog, choosing art that inspires me. I also printed out pictures I’ve collected from the internet of other artists’ work.

I stapled the booklet down the middle, then painted each page a with a different background color or pattern before gluing down the various pictures. I used Sharpie pens to write in my various goals, plans, and ideas. It helps that I took a class on collage, because this is not my usual medium! The class emphasized working quickly and spontaneously, so I was able to put the booklet together in fairly short time.

For once I find I’m looking forward to using my plan. Just looking at it makes me feel good. So much better than a business plan!


Entry filed under: Creativity, Holiday, Inspiration, Motivation, Organization.

Goodbye 2009 (blowing a raspberry or two) The 2010 Los Angeles Art Show


  • 1. Judy  |  January 7, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Barbara this is so cool. I’ve never done a business plan — boring. But this idea is so perfect for snagging all the quirky ideas that can sometimes just dissolve into the ether! I’m gonna have to make me one. I started making planets (beads) right before Christmas, and am having so much fun with it. But I think I need some sort of Direction to take it. I’m going to check out those links, too.

  • 2. barbarajcarter  |  January 7, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Thanks Judy! I definitely recommend doing it. It’s good fun!

    My best advice: spend lots of time writing down your plans, ideas, and goals for the year. I took a couple weeks, on and off. Pull together all the collage materials you will need, and then make the booklet quickly and intuitively. Don’t agonize over it, it doesn’t have to be a major work of art, it’s just your personal plan for the year.

  • 3. Emily  |  January 8, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Oh nice, Barbara! I followed Lisa’s posts on the stragic planner, but thought, No time no time! But I saved them all so maybe next year I can give it some thought.

    I love the way you put yours together. I want to pick it up off the page and flip through it!

    (Saving this post for next year, too!)

  • 4. Julie Thompson  |  January 9, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Very nice, Barbara! Like you, the thought of a dry stuffy business plan bores me to tears. Your book is very inspiring! It actually seems like a form of a Vision Board for the coming year. I did another form of Vision Boarding last year, in that I took inspiring images of where I wanted to go that summer (no small trip!) and turned it into a screen-saver for my computer. Readily-available visual reminders of what you want to achieve are *very* effective in helping you to reach your goals. Best wishes to you in 2010!

  • 5. Elizabeth Floyd  |  January 13, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    great idea!

  • 6. mjfontaine  |  February 17, 2010 at 11:52 am

    hello Barbara,
    I love the energy of your goals and you detailed descriptions.
    I too followed Lisa’s Strategic Planner and I will post mine on my blog soon.


Barbara J Carter

I'm an artist. I make paintings with dots.

I work in acrylic paint, in a couple of distinct styles: landscapes and abstracts.

Native to California, I've lived elsewhere and only recently returned to my home state. I now live in Los Angeles.

I mostly show my art in outdoor festivals in California. I also occasionally show my work in art galleries or open studio events. You can see an up-to-date list of upcoming shows on my website (click here).

I invite you to sign up to receive my free email newsletter, in which I list my upcoming shows and talk about my latest work. I send it irregularly, a few times a year.

My links

My paintings

Follow me on Twitter: @barbarajcarter

Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

A bunch of my abstract dot paintings

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