Nadia Bruce is a new member of our community but a long-time creative dabbler! She is from Rochester, Minnesota and now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Q: Nadia, How did you first start drawing?

A: I have been drawing since I was a small child. I started reinvesting my time in drawing only 3 years ago and found that pen & ink is my favorite. But I have always been very creative and have tried just about every medium and craft out there and loved them all. Drawing is my main interest at this point in time. However, I also continue to regularly knit and crochet, write poetry and short stories, enjoy photography, and dabble in miniature figure painting.

After graduating college, moving around a bit for our careers, and settling down with my husband, I thought everything was just right. In 2012, I found a lump in my neck and I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. Two surgeries and radiation treatments later, I am (still!) cancer-free today. But coming out the other side of cancer, we now have different perspectives on life. This is when I really began to focus more on my art. It was a great escape and joy to me after 10-hour days of spreadsheets and office drama at my banking job that was slowly eating me away. I slowly started to build a little presence on Instagram and I got some local art gigs, putting up my drawings in local businesses and earning spots in juried art fairs.

I was eventually able to quit my job and turned to my art career as I navigated other hardships in my life, like losing my mom to cancer. Everything in my life seemed different at that time except for my art. It was still there, waiting for me. So I started sketching in my sketchbook and promised myself just an hour a day in a little 5 by 7-inch sketchbook. Then I found Sketchbook Skool and could follow the daily prompts without having to think much, which was a huge help during this time.

Q: What gets you out of a creative rut when you’re stuck?

A: When I am uninspired, I am very likely to just walk away from the medium I am using and pick up something else: my yarn or my paints, or my notebook to write. But if I am in a drawing mood but can’t think of a concept, I will hunt around online and look at other talented artists’ work. That usually gets my own ideas flowing again. And if not, I may even try to copy a piece that I admired for practice until the spark comes. Often I abandon these side projects midway through because real inspiration arrives and I follow it without ever coming back to the sketches I started for practice.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is just starting out with drawing?

A: It’s OK to try to copy. It is OK to try an emulate a style you admire. Because It’s all great practice and it’s all learning. Even though I had been drawing since I was very young, I had not put any real work into improving my skills. It was not until I started trying to reproduce the art I wanted to make that I started building the skills needed to create on my own. With time, the copying will morph into composing your own images, perhaps from a reference or your own imagination and you will have built a range of skills through those exercises to make your own art!

Nadia sticks with her daily creative habit even when she’s feeling uninspired, or overwhelmed by life and we’re so thrilled that she shares her art with our community!

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