Blog Archives

Improve Your Child’s Creativity with Art Supplies

Go into any office supply store and you will see a flurry of activity in the back to school section. Sale prices are all around and there will be many items to choose from. The tendency for most parents is to just get as many pencils and highlighters as possible to last the year. If you are the parent to a budding artist then you may want to take a moment to actually plan out the supplies you need for the year as this could be a great way to improve your child’s creativity.

We all learn in different ways, some need more visual clues and others take lots of notes. In fact it’s been reported that doodling improves retention of material. Don’t believe me check out this article on the a study done on the topic.,8599,1882127,00.html. Teaming the way people learn to how they like to take down information can help improve how much of the material is remembered, but also makes the review process much more enjoyable.

So how will this information help improve your child’s creativity?

First let’s look at the notebooks your child may be working in. You may want to buy your child those basic lined styled notebooks, but is that the best option? If your child is a budding artist it may be holding back some of that creativity with the lines. Think about the subject and it may be more beneficial to buy notebooks with blank pages and even possible with different colours. This way the notebook becomes a visual journal that is not only more memorable but encourages review of the material. I have included a picture of my sketchbook pages from a convention to give you an idea of what I am talking about.

Bruce's Notebook

What about the drawing instruments such as pencils and pens?

There are two major items that every artist puts energy into finding the best quality available. The item they draw or paint on and the item they draw or paint with. Quality paper or canvas and quality paint, brushes, or drawing materials are key to helping create great art. So when buying back to school supplies could you be helping your child improve their creativity with decent materials?

The best way to start is to ask your child if appropriate what they like to draw with. Do they draw more with pencil, pen, or marker? I myself rarely use pencil anymore. Once I started doing pen and ink work as a child I abandoned the pencil for the most part. Other artists I know use only pencil so it really is a personal choice.

If you are looking at buying colour materials here is a guide to help.

You may want to just pick up those big packs of coloured pencils or mega packs of highlighters but before you do let me offer another option. If possible buy the colours separately. This is why most art stores don’t sell their products in pack because many artists don’t buy their materials this way. Let’s say I need a red colour. The best way to buy that is to buy a red pencil crayon, then a darker red pencil, and then a lighter red pencil. This way you can colour a shirt red, then use a darker red for shadow, and lighter red for highlights. This technique can also be done in other ways with blue colours but it gives you an idea of the process of shopping for colours.

These tips can help not only improve creativity, encourage note taking, and improve retention of material. I have found it a great way to help remember information during conferences, seminars, and presentations. If you have a budding artist that likes to draw this may be a great way to encourage getting homework done and improving their artistic talent. Hey it couldn’t hurt!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is a professional artist /cartoonist from Burlington Ontario Canada. Bruce has been drawing since he was ten years and offers custom illustration and design services for clients specializing in caricatures and cartoons. To learn more about Bruce and his work visit his website at

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends. I was contacted by Vivere Canopy who specialize in hammocks to create an illustration for a social media campaign they have been running all week. Since the illustration was on everything Canada I thought it would be a good one to show today. Have a great day today and Happy 150th Birthday Canada. 

Vivere Canopy Canada Day Image
About the Artist

Bruce Outridge Productions offers custom illustration and design services for clients specializing in caricatures and cartoons. To learn more about the company or to have Bruce help with your next illustration project visit 

Pets are People Too!-Testimonial

We are often asked if we do pet portraits and the answer is of course yes. Most people when getting a pet portrait completed don’t want it to be the funny caricature that we would normally do for people, they want something more cute and memorable. We recently did one for a client that was digital, but also done in the old cross-hatching style that was part of my earlier work. The client loved it and below are a few comments about the project. We believe that pets are people too!

Comments from the client:

Name or Company: Sheldon Hayes

Service provided: Gift caricature

Service rating: Excellent

Additional Comment: Bruce did a great job of capturing the “look” of the pet from the pictures I provided – great work, fast turnaround and I’m very pleased with the outcome!
Thanks Bruce!

Pet caricatureAbout the Artist

Bruce Outridge Productions offers gift caricatures of people and pets for clients. It’s easy, just send us a picture of your pet and we will design a gift caricature for you. You can view samples of our work at

JBT adds to the mascot family

Logos and mascots can be fun to do and it is always more fun when clients like your work. One of my good clients recently embarked on a mascot campaign for their company. I did four versions of a mascot for them and they recently came back to have a fifth one completed. It was a totally cool campaign to work on as it combined by knowledge of trucks with my talent of drawing. One was used in a magazine ad last week and the others will be used on the side of their equipment. Here is a sneak peak of the latest mascot and I look forward to seeing it on the side of their equipment in the future. Stay tuned for future pictures.

JBT-Kid-Mascot-promoAbout the Artist

Bruce Outridge offers logo design, cartoon illustration and live caricature event services. Illustration and design services are available with a special focus in caricature and cartoons. To learn more about Bruce and his work visit his website at

Subjects That Interest You

In art the best thing you can do for your art is to work on subjects that matter to you, not subjects that matter to others. Many artists focus on what will sell and while this works for a while many get bored after a while. Always have your own subject matter to keep you happy and pushing yourself with your art. The sales will come later.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is an artist and illustrator. For more information on his work visit his website at

Traditional or Digital for Colour

I often get asked if it is better to colour pictures with the computer or traditionally with paint. The two are the same in my mind, it really depends on how you plan on using the painting when completed. If you will be using it on the internet or a magazine then colouring on the computer is better because you can choose colours that work with the internet. You’ll find traditional media doesn’t show up very well when photographed. If you are giving the picture as a gift or a gallery then traditional media is best. The choice is yours for me I always look at the end use.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is an art instructor and cartoonist in Canada. He is the creator of the Drawing with Bruce Art Series. More information can be found on his website

What is a Brush Worth

A brush in painting is worth what you feel it is worth. I say that because talking with artists you get mixed messages as to how much you should spend on a brush. The golden rule is to buy the best that you can afford when buying art supplies, however that doesn’t mean the old brushes are no good. For instance you can’t get a new brush to make background trees as well as an old brush that has been worn down. Old brushes are great for dry brush techniques. Spending money on good brushes does pay off in the end however, your brush will last for a very long time and you will feel good using it. So new brushes are worth every penny and the old brushes are worth every penny, it’s how you use them makes the difference.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is an artist and illustrator. For more on Bruce and his work

Go Back to Your Roots

Looking to revive your art a little bit? Maybe your getting too comfortable in your process? A great way is to go back to painting or doing a process you haven’t done in a while. I do so much digital work and caricatures now, that when I go on vacation next week I plan on doing some watercolour painting and landscapes. Don’t be afraid to change your process, medium, or style to rejuvenate your excitement about your art.

Beachfront -Acrylic

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is an art instructor and illustrator from Canada. He created the video series Drawing with Bruce. For more information visit his website

Rearranging Your Studio

Do you ever feel that you or your art are in a slump? Your doing the same thing everyday and don’t seem to be moving forward. Well January is statisically the time for change, so change! One simple solution is to change around your working environment. I recently had to because we were having some construction done on our place. So everything had to be moved and then replaced. While in that mode I managed to create more room for myself by throwing out items not used any more. The reorganization also helped me work more efficiently. So a simple rearrangement may be the answer. Other tips are to use new materials, create new personal projects, or get busy with an old project.  It really is a matter of changing the programming in your head and you will find the creativity follows. Good luck!

Are You Playing To Your Strengths?

I am in the middle of completing a project for a client and have had a little trouble with my first draft. I used to do a very tight pen and ink style years ago and I was going to complete the project in that past style. However my style has changed over the last few years and I find it hard to work in that realistic style that used to be my signature. I now work in a more cartoon style. So after completing a first draft I left it to sit on my drawing board for a few days as it wasn’t quite hitting my hot button. As of last night I created a second draft in the style I am working in now. The second draft flew out and I really enjoyed the process. So if you are like me and have changed styles over the years, don’t try to recreate the past. Do what you do and enjoy the process. Your clients and your inner self will be glad you did.

Good luck!