Saturday, January 5, 2013

Artist Date Info

Traci Bunkers here. Since it was my idea for this month's theme to be about artist dates, I thought it might be a good idea to give you some more info about them.

Julia Cameron introduced the concept of an artist date in her book "The Artist's Way." Here's a video where she talks about what an artist date is.

Basic Tool: Artist Date from Julia Cameron on Vimeo.

She says "Artist Dates are assigned play." That's really the most important concept, as far as I'm concerned. And, that leaves it wide open for your own interpretation. She feels they should be done alone, but I think it's more important for you to discover what works best for you to refuel your creative fire, whether it's alone, or with someone else, or even a group of people.

For me, I live alone, and work at home. Which means I'm by myself all the time. So if I have a chance to have an artist date with a friend, I'm not going to say no. It can be fun to have someone to share an experience with, or to have someone to talk with about what you saw in a museum, for example.

For this picture, I took a bunch of photos with my iPod, then stitched together with AutoStitch. This was an artist date with my friend Juliana Coles, and her friends, while I was visiting her in New Mexico. We were at the Flying Star Rio Grande restaurant, and had fun drawing each other. The sketchbook in the bottom left is mine, with a drawing I did of Juliana. You can see the post about this visit on my blog here.

On Julia Cameron's website, there is a forum that is packed full of all kinds of information that goes along with The Artist's Way. There's even a forum for artist dates. There are lots of great ideas about different things to do on artist dates, threads about being blocked, or avoiding artist dates, and even one on how to have them when you have social anxiety. There are also ideas in different forums for them. Here's a long thread about all kinds of things to do on artist dates.

In searching on the internet, I also found some blogs that listed ideas for artist dates. Here's one. Here's another. So if you are feeling stumped about what to do, skim through some of those threads and links for some ideas.

My challenge for the artist date involved working in your sketchbook or journal, or doing something creative as a result of the date. The work can be done either while you are on the date, or after you get home, for example. And all of that is open to your own interpretation as well. For instance, if you go to a museum, you could get a few postcards or brochures about the show or some of the artwork that you liked. Then later, you could put those in your sketchbook and write about what you liked the best, or what ideas it gave you for something you want to try.

The whole idea is for you to set aside some time to nurture your artist. I've been doing artist dates off and on for quite awhile. But usually, I haven't planned them in advance. So mine have been more like artist date booty calls at the last minute! My artist deserves better than that. So for this challenge, I'm going to at least plan a block of time in advance for my dates. And I think it will be fun to plan something specific to do. Both of those will give me something to look forward to, and I'll have fun thinking about what I want to do. Today I checked out my town's events calendar online, and found a show at the arts center that I want to check out.

I hope this gives you some ideas, and helps you to realize that the most important thing is taking time to take care of your artist-self. You can set up your own rules (or not set up any rules at all!) about what that means to you.

Edit: I meant to put this in the post, and forgot. If you have any ideas for artist dates, or tips, we'd love to hear them. Please leave them in the comments. You can also leave them on our facebook page here.

This post may contain some affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.


  1. I've been working through The Artists Way since July, doing a chapter each month. Do you know, I never thought to check out Julia Cameron's blog?!! Thank you for this lovely post. It has excited me to think I can get even more from the book than I am already. I've not yet blogged about TAW but I was planning to. I have enjoyed some lovely Artist Dates and as you say, it is about making it meaningful for you, not following prescribed rules that don't fit.

    1. It has been awhile since I've been to Julia Cameron's site, so it was a happy surprise to see much new info!

  2. "Artist Date Booty Calls" -- you're funny! I'll admit to more than one impulse outing too though. :-)

  3. Thanks for all the resources, Traci! You are awesome! I will post about my recent artist's date soon: going to a figure drawing session, and then visiting Frances Holliday Alford, staying over at her place. She has a very inspiring studio! More on that when I get back from a teaching trip. Just wanted to thank you for posting so much STUFF above.

    1. Can't wait to see about your artist date. I had fun finding all of the resources.