How to Recycle Your Art (your art has more than just one life!)

How to Recycle Your Art (your art has more than just one life!)

When I create a new piece of art, I like to think of it as having multiple lives. 

For example, a painting of a deer will probably get used on more than just one project. It may end up as some wall art, part of a stationery set, on ceramic plates, tea towels, in a puzzle, and so on! For each new project, I might resize the art, change the colors, or add extra borders or patterns.

So the great thing about recycling my art is? I don’t have to start from scratch everytime! 

Deer wall art and drinking glass

In fact, once you see your art as recyclable, you now have a stockpile of imagery you can pull from at any time. 

Think of it kind of like a library of content you can use and get inspiration from. 

Some of the art I’ve created over my career has even run the full cycle of going out and back into style again!

Recently, I was just asked to create a line of Spring art for one of my licensors, GreenBox, and I was able to create a few new collections for them based off some of my existing art. I took bunnies, deer, and other cute woodland creatures (Yes! From my 365 sketchbook series that I talked about last week!) and reformatted them into some sweet pastel-y compositions. 

Of course, those same little sketchbook renderings have also made appearances on drinking glasses, Christmas ornaments, a felt mobile, coffee mugs with metallic handles, and a child’s blanket! 

Children's felt mobile with birds and pompoms

Christmas dishes

Baby blanket with penguin design

The moral of the story? Create what inspires you and don’t be afraid to reuse old art. 

Art is evergreen — it doesn’t disappear once you use it for something. You can recolor your art, add it to different backgrounds, or resize elements to give them more prominence. It can get refurbished and used in a project two, three, or even ten years down the line.

The sky is really the limit when it comes to creating with art you already have!