lianne williams

Portraits | Creativity | Drawing | Illustration

10 Things you need to know before attempting The Artist's Way

Courses, Book ReviewLianne WilliamsComment

The Artist's Way is one of those things that can seem both exciting (who doesn't want to be more creative?) but also terrifying! 12 whole weeks of your life are dedicated to completing the course with daily routines and weekly challenges and that is a commitment too far for some... so here is a list of 10 things you may want to consider before attempting it.

Disclaimer: The post contains affiliate links to items you may wish to purchase. I receive compensation if you choose to purchase things through those links.

1) You will be different at the end of it.

Simple as that. You can't predict how, but guaranteed, things will begin to shift in your life towards the positive. Even if you're in a relatively good place in your life that will just continue to improve. If you're in a particularly crappy place take a photo of yourself at the beginning of the course, or draw a picture depicting where you are starting from, and then after the course, look back and compare your new life to your old life. It can be surprising.

2) There's a reading deprivation

It's just for a week, but this challenge can be super intrusive for newbies as you literally are not allowed to read for one whole week. It's for VERY good reasons (think of it as a detox) but it can be very difficult to implement into most modern lives. It can be done. Planning ahead, for instance not attempting it when you're writing your dissertation, can help, but ultimately it's not meant to be convenient, and for one week it's really going to get in your way. However you will learn SO much about yourself during that week and its 100% worth it. I personally go the whole hog and even ban media and online activity of all kinds during my reading deprivation week and it's both rewarding and super difficult, but others tweak the interpretation of the reading deprevation to suit their essential needs. Some just ban books or allow themselves to check emails during work, but the better you can deprive yourself the more you'll get from it so if you can take time off from reading, do so, and enjoy the break.

3) Morning pages

Every. Single. Day. They are 'simply' 3, long hand, A4 pages of writing. Morning Pages are quite a trendy concept these days, you may have heard of the Miracle Morning which is a similar concept. Every morning before you attempt anything useful, you vent three pages of mindless brain chatter, nonsense, inner fears, notes to the self- ANYTHING that crops up in your mind into your 3 pages of writing. That's it. They don't even have to be legible. Trust me, it makes sense after a while. It takes around 30 min to complete, so many will find they need to get up half an hour earlier to fit it in and you'll need a notebook and pen too.

4) The God thing

Another sticking point for many is that spirituality is the backbone of The Artist's Way. As an Apatheist myself (someone who is finds no relevance in acknowledging or denying a God), I have managed just fine. Julia openly invites you to tailor this aspect of the course to suit you. If you have a faith then translate her ideas to fit your faith. If you are spiritual then I think you'll find her views very interesting. My spiritual background explored a whole manner of New Age beliefs and practices and this course fits in beautifully with those. If you're an Atheist or someone looking for a non-spiritual experience I recommend two things:

  1. Give it a go with an open mind- I've faked it myself and it doesn't do any harm albeit it can be irritating...
  2. Disregard it. The other tasks and concepts within the course are valid and useful in their own right. Above all do what makes you feel comfortable.

5) Prepare for conflict

It's shocking to think but I'm yet to meet a person who's done The Artist's Way and hasn't had some kind of conflict because of it. People are frightened of change. When YOU start to change, friends, family, colleagues... even complete strangers seem to be magnestised to you with their opinions on what you're doing and why you shouldn't/can't/are doing it wrong. When we change we highlight to others their own failings which they wish they could change. We trigger guilt and fear in them and it can create conflict if they feel threatened. Especially if you are in the process of standing up for yourself, detaching from bad friends or no longer acting as a doormat. The book covers this thoroughly so don't worry but just be in the look out for people trying to sabotage your positivity- they're only reflecting their own creative blockages onto you. Set an example and break free so they can follow behind.

6) Artists dates

These are another commitment of time that'll require you to take a brief 'date' with your creative self once a week. It can be as simple as collecting leaves in the woods or intense as signing up to dance classes. Check out my post on artist date ideas to get an idea about what you might like to do.

7) You might do more then just make art

People often find The Artist's Way leads them to other creative pursuits beyond their typical hobbies and interests. A lot of The Artist's Way is focused on accessing forgotten passions that have been put aside for reasons such as unsupportive parents, teachers, spouses, work, having a family, illness, depression, addiction etc. We all have them and it often surprises you when you realise what you've denied yourself. I first did The Artist's Way through the eyes of a visual artist and craftsperson. I ended up trying everything from Writing to Burlesque! So go in with your eyes open.

8) It's just the beginning and you'll probably do it again

The Artist's Way is a way of life rather then a once in a lifetime event. Many people revisit the book and repeat the course just to re-familiarize themselves with the lessons again and to just re-evaluate their lives again further down the road. Each time I've done The Artist's Way I've learnt something new and deeper about myself. I've even begun personalising the course to suit my specific needs of it. My copy of the book is so heavily annotated that I think there's more of MY writing in it now, then actual text. And I think that's what Julia wants. She doesn't want us to become slaves to the course, she wants us to use it as a tool to constantly build and encourage us independent, confident artists and creatives. When you do The Artist's Way you're making a declaration of that.

9) Collage features a lot!

This may be a minor point for some of you but as a committed Pinterest user and someone who doesn't buy magazines or newspapers very regularly, I always find the fact that the frequent use of collage as a tool in the book is a bit of a problem. If you're like me and don't have piles of magazines to rifle through and tear up I recommend planning ahead and start collecting some, maybe 20, of various genres, so you can tackle the exercises without delay. I've used Pinterest in the past as an emergency alternative, but you can't beat the joy of ripping up magazines and sticking them together into something unique and beautiful.

10) It's for all sorts of artists and creatives.

A common misconception is that The Artist's Way is for Artists or people who want to be artists. Nope. Wrong. Julia believes that everyone, all people, creative or not, are Artists. The Artist's Way is a guide for all people to connect with their unique artistic voice, whether that's Art, Writing, Dancing, Acting, Designing, Singing, Making, Sewing... I've even seen people use the tools in the book to embrace interests like car racing, horse riding, cooking, business development... things which you may not consider to be ultimately creative on the face of things but to that person that's exactly how they communicate their inner artists view point. The Artist's Way is even traditionally aimed at writers, something all of us do daily! It's been really interesting to see how people apply the lessons to their life and how diverse the word Artist and Art become. Suddenly you'll realise you've been creatively expressing yourself (or blocking yourself) in a whole myriad of ways that you've not really acknowledged before and I think that's the magic of these 12 weeks. You suddenly notice your potential. And that's all you need to succeed in life.

If you would like to challenge yourself to the 12 weeks of The Artist's Way you can buy the book here. And have a look at my 12 week guide to The Artists Way which you can sign up to here.

150 Artist Date ideas

Courses, Life, Art BasicsLianne WilliamsComment
150 Artist Date ideas

If you're looking for inspiration on how to take yourself out on an Artist Date, look no further. Here are 150 ideas that you can try this week!

Artist Dates are an hour or two of time dedicated purely to indulging your creative self, once a week with whatever activities that inspires it. Recommended throughout the creative community I first came across the concept of artist dates via Julia Cameron's The Artists Way and quickly gathered a list of ideas of things I could do during my weekly date with my inner artist. Since it can be tricky to think up a new activity each week i decided to share my list with whoever needs it.

Don't think you just have to to arty activities.. my inner creative is curious about all sorts of things, so feel free to add your own twist to the list. I also enjoy spending an artist date doing something practical, like tidying up or organising as that frequently sparks joy or indeed leads to inspirational discoveries. Once you've had a number of dates alone and can enjoy your own company, I think its nice to start having occasional group dates or inviting other people along to enhance the experience. I remember a very good trip to an art exhibition with a friend who was just as excited as I was and that was lovely. Do whatever your creative soul needs to enrich itself and have fun.

Top Tip: I've printed this list out and cut it into strips. I've put the strips into a jar and any time I'm bored or struggling to make a decision for my date I pick a date at random and make it happen. Sometimes it can be a hilarious challenge... Paddling pool in winter anyone? Memories are certainly made!

So, have a look and tell me what you'll be doing this week for your Artist Date... 

150 artist date ideas

Gift Ideas for Artists

Product Review, LifeLianne WilliamsComment
gift ideas for artists

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that I receive compensation for, if you purchase something through them.

It's like, 42 days until Christmas 2016, or something...

So now is an excellent time to drop some subtle hints to Father Christmas, or your loved ones, on what you'd like to get under the tree this year. Send them this blog post if you like to give them some ideas, because this is it, this is the big jumbo crazy awesome list of Gift Ideas for Artists.

You cant go wrong with Art Materials, or can you...?

The problem with art materials is that you either have to be very cautious about what you get your Artist loved one (Artists can be very picky about what they use) and you'll need to look for very specific brands/colours and sizes... or you can introduce them to something completely new that they might have had interest in trying, but that means sourcing, or creating, a starter a kit so they can fully experience the medium.

So first, here are my top 3 suggestions for great starter kits that'll introduce artists to new mediums instantly without the hassle of shopping around...

Regarding art materials, many artists will harbour secret passions for 'Artist Grade' art materials. Christmas and Birthdays are a fantastic opportunity indulge them, whether that's watercolour, oils, colour pencil or paper. And if they're already using artist grade, I'm yet to meet an artist who doesn't want more of what they've already got. So have a snoop around. What do they work in? Graphite? Watercolour? Mixed Media? Have a look at the bottles or lables. What is it? Google it. Is it student grade or artist grade? What colours do they use a lot of? Blue? Brown? Black? Pink? What DON'T they use (avoid these ones). What pages, websites, or groups do they follow? Are they constantly talking about the shortage of white Prismacolor pencils or are they coveting the new Wacom graphic tablet? 

Stick to well known art brand names like:

Winsor & Newton, Daler-Rowney, Derwent, Daniel Smith, Golden, Liquitex, Prismacolor, Caran D'Ache, Sennelier, Koh-i-noor, Sakura, Pentel, Bockingford, Arches, Fabriano, Saunders, Pan Pastel...

This isn't about brand snobbery. It's just that if i'm recommending something I want to to make 99% sure that its going to turn out great for you. The problem is there are so many art boxes out there full of pens, pencils, paints and gadgets which look good value, but the quality if usually shocking. Please don't be fooled by quantity. Choose QUALITY for a gift. Top tip: Experiment with unbranded stuff another time when it's not so important.

Don't forget Paper

Quality paper and canvases are always a delight to receive as an artist, and some, like Arches 300lb HP, have become legendary. It's legendary to me anyway HAH! It might just be paper to you but to Artists it's the difference between a success and a failed painting.  Not only that but in previous years i've desperately wanted scrapbook paper and vintage photographs for artwork. Look on eBay for paper ephemera or scrapbook paper bundles or explore Hobbycraft for ideas. These things might sound random but there was nothing better than opening up a package of watercolour paper, and i'll never forget the time my hubby gave me gorgeous handmade Paperchase gift wrap separately to my gifts, flat, so i could use it for art projects afterwards. Yes. Seriously. He did that. 

Sketchbooks, moleskines and notebooks are all good ideas too but if you happen to notice your Artist has a stockpile of them, unused, think twice.


You could buy your artist a full on set of plastic overalls... sexy... but why not check out protective clothing that's both practical AND stylish?

Aprons are my personal favourite and I go extra posh and have several from Anthropologie which make getting messy an absolute delight. There's also a huge range of novelty and slogan tshirts, work belts or jumpers with an artist twist online which might tickle your fancy.

What about their studio?

Lights, drawers, chairs, desks, projectors, easels. These things make us Artist folk happy as well as serve an important function in our trade. Does your artist even HAVE a studio? Would they love you to help set up a space for them? Sometimes actions speak louder then stuff. This year i've cleared out my entire studio in the hope that Father Christmas will bring me a new love seat which i'm going to snuggle up on and work from because i hated my desk so much. Speaking of desks, have you seen these storage desks or wardrobes by The Original Scrapbox? WOW.

Furniture and remodelling aside, something as simple as a cushion for their chair or some artwork they love that they can hang in their creative space would all be brilliant gift ideas for your artist. 

Gadgets and online goodies

Forget the fondu set, artists all about electric pencil sharpeners, brush cleaners, light boxes and graphic tablets. Not only that but think ONLINE. If your artist is tech focused have a look to see if they'd be interested in a years subscription to Adobe Illustrator or help their website out and pay for hosting or mailing list costs. Personally i'm drooling over the Epsom printers but i know many of you will be eyeing up the lazer cutting machine Silhouette... or even a 3D printer! What about those 3D pens? Amazing!

Subscriptions and Courses

Magazines, AOI membership, become a friend of the Royal Academy... You can even get monthly art boxes like Sketchbox where they send new supplies for yourartist to try. They may even value Facebook and Google advertising or other website subscription fees if they're online. These things don't often spring to mind when we talk about what we'd like for Christmas or birthdays BUT they can make amazing gifts, especially if someone is being difficult to buy for AND you'll be showing your support of their career and art making- which is often irreplaceable and shouldn't be overlooked. 

You could even look at courses they might be interested in trying, maybe watercolour painting at Flatford Mill or what about an online course with Tara Leaver


Sooo many great art books out at the moment. Here are some i recommend but the options are endless. From colouring in, to autobiographies, journals, courses and coffee table books there's so much to choose from. 

Events and Days Out

Another wonderful idea would be to take your artist out for the day or evening, whether that's buying them tickets to the cinema to see a film that has a theme related to their work, or take them to an exhibition or gallery they love and allow them to enjoy the time there with you. Artists look for inspiration way beyond what's in their heads and a thoughtful day trip somewhere interesting is bound to spark joy for them. The Guardian has a good list of big exhibitions, as does Time Out for London, but don't forget to check out event pages local to you as there may be something at your local museum, theatre or gallery that fits the bill. The National Trust also has art events throughout the UK.

Stocking Fillers for creatives

Personally I dream of a stocking full of watercolour pans and tubes of glitter but artist accessories like a putty eraser, or an ink diffuser are great stocking fillers too. Gloves and cool face masks are useful practical items but I loved the idea of these personalised necklaces from Posh Totty as a special treat. I have one that says 'stay creative'. Individual pencils, markers, bottles of ink (make sure theyre sealed), brushes, washi tape, stickers, postcards from their favourite artists, water pots, phone covers, artist trading cards, and modelling clay are other ideas. Anything that allows them to make more art, showcase their art or be inspired to make more art.

I hope this list provides some inspiration for your gift buying and i'd love to hear what you want for Christmas or what you've received in the past. For me, nothing beat a Crayola box set until i was about 24 and I got upgraded to Polychromos!

Join me for The Artists Way ONLINE

Freebies, CoursesLianne WilliamsComment
The artists way online

I have some super big exciting news. It doesn't even need dramatic tension it's that amazing. On January 1st 2017 I will finally be launching my FREE 12 week online guide to The Artists Way course by Julia Cameron. Yes! We're going to do The Artists Way, ONLINE, TOGETHER! Woohoo.

This email course, primarily aimed at keeping you focused and supported, is going to help you out in so many ways. I wish someone else had created this so I could have enjoyed it myself, but anyway... allow me to illuminate. 

The post contains affiliate links to items you may wish to purchase. I receive compensation for things purchased through those links. 

After signing up to my guide you will receive:

  • 12 weeks of prompts and checklists on what readings, tasks and activities you need to complete that week emailed straight to your inbox. It's a great way to keep on track.
  • Printable exclusive worksheets designed by me for each weeks tasks and questions giving you appropriate spaces to answer Julia's challenges. 
  • A printable contract and completion certificate. Because this should be celebrated.
  • Guidance and personal insight from my own decade of artistic adventures and experiences through The Artists Way
  • Access to a closed Facebook Creative Cluster group hosted by me Lianne Williams where you can find one-to-one personal support and answers to all your questions and share your successes.
  • Other suggested readings and resources to enhance your learning.

Who is this for?

  • Anyone of any gender, race, religion or level of creativity is welcome. You can be completely non-creative and a complete beginner at everything or an established creative.
  • People who have a copy of Julia Camerons The Artists Way and are ready to change their creative lives. Purchase your copy below.
  • All artistic and creative disciplines are welcome whether your interest is drawing, painting, singing, writing, acting, playing musical instruments, gardening, cooking, sewing, woodwork, photography, designing, knitting, dancing, styling… you name it.
  • People who need that extra bit of support and encouragement to help them through The Artists Way…
  • Anyone who struggles to stay focused and needs extra prompting or reminding…
  • If you’ve attempted The Artists Way and failed or given up…
  • If you’re finding The Artists Way particularly hard and need to ask questions…
  • If you’re repeating The Artists Way and want to see things from another perspective…
  • If you want the option to share your journey with others and discuss the text…

 Who is this not for?

  • Anyone who doesn’t have a copy of the text. You will need the book to participate in this course.
  • If you crack under pressure or feel intimidated by time constraints
  • If you intend to do The Artists Way over a much longer time period.
  • If you don't have regular access to an email account or printer.

What do you need to benefit the most from this course?

As well as being curious, open minded and committed, as a minimum participants will require an email account, access to a printer, a copy of The Artists Way (i will be using the 10th Anniversary edition) and a letter sized (A4) notebook and pen.

How do I sign up?

The guide will launch on January 1st 2017 but you are welcome to preregister your interest by signing up below. That's it. You'll receive your first email on January 1st 2017. By signing up you will also be agreeing to join my mailing list, if you haven't already, where you will receive regular newsletters regarding the blog and exclusive content reserved especially for my subscribers... just click below and follow the instructions. You will receive an email that asks you to confirm your subscription and you'll also receive the password to access my resource library if you don't have it already.


Can I ask you a question?

Absolutely. Email me at and I’ll be happy to answer any questions about the course.


This course is not affiliated with The Artists Way or Julia Cameron in any way. The Online Guide has been created in respect of the Creative Clusters guidelines as specified in The Artists Way with the intention it will aid and support individuals attempting the course. It does not include any text from The Artists Way. Copyright is respective to its rightful owners. The course contains affiliate links to items you may wish to purchase. I receive compensation for things purchased through those links. The Facebook group is open to the general public but is hosted by Lianne Williams as per the terms and conditions of Facebook. Please consult the group guidelines for further information. You may unsubscribe at any point. Your privacy is respected. We hate spam.

How to draw a Photorealistic Eye in Graphite

TutorialsLianne WilliamsComment

Hi everyone! I am so excited today to bring you my updated version of my classic drawing course: how to draw a photorealistic eye in graphite. 

This 23 page tutorial takes you on a draw along with me, Lianne Williams, as I guide you through all the techniques and skills you need to know to create a photorealistic drawing. Doesn't that sound amazing? It is! I swear!

Suitable for complete beginners I provide you with your own reference and I cover everything from layering graphite to plotting, how to figure out negative space and how to apply constructive criticism to your work to help you improve next time. I have poured all my knowledge into making this course and it's bursting with valuable tips, tricks and guidance.

First published in 2013 this is now a classic in my resources and to this day I still refer people back to it as a great starting point for anyone who wants to achieve that highly detailed and realistic effect that photorealism and graphite can offer. If you can draw this, i believe you will be able to draw ANYTHING. And is completely FREE.

drawing a photorealistic eye in graphite art tutorial with Lianne Williams

Today is special because this is the first time I've offered this course in the format of an easy to download PDF eBook! You can now keep a copy to hand forever and even print it if you wish! 

If you're ready to get started head over to my Resource Library to access your free copy of the drawing course today! Then, go tell all your friends about it.

Don't forget to tell me how you get on and share with me your finished artwork either. 

Good luck!