Sharpen your artistic skills... - South Lake Tahoe finish & design studio Skip to main content

Last week, we finalized our list of upcoming Spring projects to help get the season organized. We have an interesting mixture of product line development, an online sales launch, home improvement projects & tutorials and even some home decor/furniture ideas. It really is an eclectic mix of work! That’s great for us so we never get bored. It also helps minimize down time when we have long wait periods between steps. So, the question really is… when is there ever time to sharpen your artistic skills? You must make time! This is your craft and it deserves to continually evolve and grow.

Artistic skills need sharpening too

When you think of sharpening something, more tangible things come to mind first. We sharpen tools, kitchen knives or our colored pencils to sketch designs. But what about your most important tool? Your tool belt of artistic skills is one of the most important assets you have! What better way to continually learn, shape and grow as artists than by sharpening our artistic skills?

What are your artistic skills?

This is a very personal question. It depends on what your craft is. If you’re a woodworker, your required skill set will be much different than a watercolor artist or a jewelry designer. And not only is your skill set defined by your craft, it also depends on what you have going on right now. Your project lineup can very well alter what you need to focus on to do your best work in the present – which for us is the upcoming Spring season lineup. We know what we need to work on!

Let’s focus!

With our outlined projects for the next several months, there are two areas we need to focus in on for nluv Studio to get ready and produce our best work: color & graphic design.


artistic skillsThe world of color was so simple and fun as kids. Maybe you started out with the 20-pack of crayons, but as you got older, you found there were 50, 100, 150 color crayon boxes! And if you started mixing your crayons together, you soon learned the options were endless. That’s where we all live today. The popularity of custom color mixing has blown the roof off of only picking paint from pre-printed color swatches.

Color theory is complex and vast. There are multitudes of books and articles written about the study of color. What do they mean to our psyche? How do they affect our moods or feelings towards things? It can get overwhelming quick but it doesn’t have to.

Learning is fun!

You could take color classes at your local college or invest in books, like our favorite Color Mixing Bible by Ian Sidaway. These are always great ways to learn if you can do it. But, with the vast amount of sharing done in online communities, you may be shocked at what resources are out there to learn from.

custom mixing artistic skillsWith color being such a visual topic, I like to start my hunt on the social media outlets of Instagram and especially Pinterest for color inspiration and techniques. You will find so many amazing examples of what colors look great together and you’ll probably find a lot of color combos or finishes that you just don’t like. Both are important to learn about! There are a lot of very talented artists out there sharing and teaching about color mixing techniques. Seeing good and bad color combos (or things to avoid) is crucial in helping decide what color palette you’ll be investing in.

We have lots of painted projects on the docket so nailing down the color spectrum’s we want to use is the first step in the designing process. Our Pintrest boards are filled with ideas & articles of furniture pieces, completed renovations, color charts, layered paint techniques, etc. We are slowly weeding through all the content to nail down our colors as well as brushing up on our Color Mixing Bible! It’s always better to see an example of what your thinking before you dive in and start buying supplies and painting. Redoing work is the worst and could still happen but at least some inspiration and idea of the outcome may make for a smoother project.


artistic skillsSome people are talented and sketch out all their designs in a sketch book. Not all of us artists fall in that camp. While I do like to scribble ideas and some of the details in my sketch book, I prefer to combine graphic arts with my sketches to complete my vision. The technology available today for the artistic community is amazing. You can renovate & stage houses, edit photography, create images and simulations… it is awesome! Just like any craft, becoming an expert in these tools takes time, patience and dedication. Adobe’s Creative Cloud is fantastic & offers so many options for any of us to use in our design studios.

A Digital blend

nluv Studio is kicking things up and further refining our digital graphic proficiency. Developing a stencil line while visualizing the color palettes for our projects, these tech tools are vital to our success. We gather so much inspiration from photos and the beautiful world around us, technology helps to dial into the details and really visualize what colors, textures and designs can be in the end! These tools make us more efficient in the studio and that’s the most important thing. The better organized our project boards are, whether they are hand drawn, clipped from magazines or created on our Mac, the better our products for our customers!

Take the Time… it’s worth it

You may be at the top of your game right now & an industry leader, but if you rest on that and no longer learn and evolve, you’ll get passed at some point. We all must take the time out of our day to learn, sharpen our artistic skills and grow as artists. Learning new techniques, trying new tools, social media development or whatever it is will keep your dream alive & your passion fueled. What artistic skills are you set to focus on this year? We’d love to hear about them.

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