Art Starts in the Heart: Creative projects and inspirational ideas for learning to make expressive, mindful art

Art Starts in the Heart: Creative projects and inspirational ideas for learning to make expressive, mindful art

by Erin McManness


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Learn to draw using simple line art to create your own inspired, meaningful illustrations!

Following an introduction to basic tools and materials, including pencils, pens, inks, watercolor, and markers, artists will discover helpful tips and techniques for drawing, layout and composition, hand lettering, and working with color. Easy step-by-step projects help you create your own personalized artwork and illustrations, from floral and nature motifs to portraits, scenes, and favorite things. The final section of the book offers creative prompts to spark your imagination, illustrated frames for personal art expression, and a guide for creating a vision board to illustrate a manifestation of goals and dreams.

With relatable and captivating prompts to inspire you on your artistic journey, plus an abundance of drawing tips, techniques, and tutorials, Art Starts in the Heart is your ideal resource for learning to create expressive, purposeful artwork inspired by your goals, dreams, and the most important moments in your life.

Packed with engaging instruction, tips, and beautiful step-by-step artwork, the Art Starts series presents approachable and heartwarming guides to line drawing designed to both inspire and teach beginning artists how to create meaningful artwork using simple lines and mindful prompts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633228108
Publisher: Foster, Walter Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/08/2019
Series: Art Starts Series
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 312,295
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Artist Erin McManness is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she earned a master's degree in illustration. She has been living and working in the arts in the Atlanta area for 6 years and is currently running her own business, stationery, and illustration line, Paper Raven Co. McManness works on a variety of different projects in addition to her paper goods line, taking on books, murals, branding projects, home decor projects, and advocating for the development of the arts in Atlanta neighborhoods. Find more from Erin at and Instagram

Read an Excerpt


I have been a freelance illustrator and designer since 2015, and I have learned a lot about what things bring me the most fulfillment in my art career. Many times, the things that spark joy are the most meaningful to me personally, and I am happy to say that Art Starts in the Heart explores this realm of art making.

First and foremost, drawing should be fun! There are so many things to be endlessly inspired by, and I think you will find that the more you draw, the more you'll be energized to create. In the words of the immortal Maya Angelou:

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."

Art Starts in the Heart is for those who want to develop their drawing skills and style, while having fun, reflecting on meaningful moments and goals, and manifesting them through their art. Think of this as a personal art journal: not only does it contain a starter section to help you refine your drawing capabilities, it also contains prompts and projects that you can complete either inside the book or in your own sketchbook. These prompts are geared to be personal to you — this is your vision board for manifesting the magic of making art in your own way. Use any tools you feel comfortable with — pens, markers, pencils, paints, or a mix! Make a mess, try new things, and be free and honest in your art making.


• Refine your own set of drawing techniques and hand lettering

• Complete five art print projects for your portfolio or simply for enjoyment (equally as important!)

• Explore and clarify the goals, dreams, and moments in your life most important to you through creative prompts

• Expand your visual vocabulary by drawing new things and taking risks

• Enjoy the art-making process and have fun

Now, let's get started!


Excerpted from "Arts in the Heart"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Erin McManness, Paper Raven Co..
Excerpted by permission of The Quarto Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction, 4,
How to Use This Book, 5,
Suggested Tools & Materials, 6,
Drawing Techniques, 10,
Lettering Techniques, 14,
Working in Color, 18,
Digital Techniques, 24,
Creating a Pleasing Design, 30,
Composition Tips & Tricks, 32,
Creating a Beautiful Layout, 34,
Framing Devices, 39,
Step-by-Step Art Prints, 47,
Hand-lettered Floral Quote, 48,
Embellished Portrait, 54,
Illustrated Map, 62,
Symmetrical Folk Art Print, 68,
Portrait of Your Pet or Favorite Animal, 76,
Inspiration for the Journey, 82,
Creative Prompts to Spark Your Imagination, 84,
Vision Board, 117,
About the Artist, 128,

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Art Starts in the Heart: Creative projects and inspirational ideas for learning to make expressive, mindful art 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Wryley 4 months ago
Had I not read the summary for this book, I would have probably given it 4 stars overall because the good parts are good, but 3 stars is actually generous considering it is supposed to help people ”learn to draw using simple line art” and provide ”Easy step-by-step projects help you create your own personalized artwork and illustrations, from floral and nature motifs to portraits, scenes, and favorite things.”. The step-by-step portrait of Frida Kahlo listed a very vague ”watercolors” under the materials needed section, and then instructed the BEGINNER to simply ”mix the watercolor in a separate dish to achieve the right shade” for the skin tone. The author helpfully pointed out that she would be mixing a peach shade (using her secret color combination) for Frida’s portrait, and then told the reader to observe if the subject for their portrait had a cool or warm skin tone. How in the world is a beginner to even understand the concept of cool vs warm skin tones, let alone know how to magically create a peach tone from mysterious colors even if they are painting Kahlo too? This is the sort of thing that can frustrate a beginning or even more experienced artist and let their inner critic convince them that they have no talent for art and to give up completely. Not only that, but the author stated that the same techniques are used for both gouache and acrylic paints simply because they ”are both water-based, fast-drying, and opaque”. This is entirely false. There are plenty of transparent acrylics, and most importantly, gouache is water soluble, allowing previous layers to react with the fresh layers, which can create all kinds of unexpected results,, unlike acrylic paint which dries to an inert state. Even the brushes need to be treated differently since acrylic paint will ruin a good brush if it dries before being washed thoroughly. This book, however, did provide an interesting section on composition, as well as lots of great prompts. Therefore I would recommend it for people interested in mindful sketching/doodling, as well as potentially brave beginners provided they promise to never attempt to follow along the portrait section, which in reality, should never be included in a general drawing book for beginners anyway.
Anonymous 5 months ago
There is the phrase armchair traveler...I would like to highly recommend this title to both those who want to create art and those who want to look through a pleasing book, even without doing the projects, i.e. armchair artists.. This book is full of everything a budding artist needs. There are sections on tools and materials, lettering, creating beautiful projects and thinking about the messages that can be conveyed through art. As the author states: This book will help you: Refine your own set of drawing technniques and hand lettering Complete five art print projcts... Explore and clarify the goals, dreams and moments in your life most importatnt o you through creative prompts Expand your visual vocabulary by drawing ne things and taking risks Enjoy the art making process and have fun. I think that this book does all of that well. Many thanks to NetGalley and the pubosher for this title in exchange for an honest review.
lelesurfer 5 months ago
Be creative from you heart out Erin McManners presents "Art Starts in the Heart. Creative projects and inspirational ideas for learning to make expressive, mindful art", published by Quarto Publishing Group - Walter. It is the companion to her book "Art Start with a Line". Mc Manners' goal with this book is to help artists to refine their drawing techniques and hand lettering, complete projects for their portfolios, as well as exploring and clarifying goals, dreams, and moments in their life, but ultimately the goal is to enjoy and have fun while making art. The first part of the book contains chapters that help artists to start their work (e.g., Suggested Tools & Materials, Drawing Techniques, Working in Color). The next part touches the topics "Creating a pleasant design", "Composition Tips & Tricks", "Creating a Beautiful Layout", and "Framing Devises", which will help the artists in the realization of their projects. The final part of the book contains the "Step-by-Step Art Prints" and "Inspiration for the Journey" which help the artists to put the previous information into practice. This was the first book by McManners which I read. I appreciated her instruction for creating digital art that was included. The illustrations of the book are colorful and impressive. Although the illustrations are not totally step-by-step, they are sufficient for an advanced hobby artists to recreate the design. McManners uses various materials (pencils, watercolor, gouache, acrylic) which can be an encouragement to try different means. It is important to not that the book only touches the topics of lettering, drawing, and painting. There are far more artistic ways to express one's heart. I would not recommend the book for beginners who have no knowledge about the approaches which are presented, but it is a helpful book for other artists. Areas for practice are included, but a downloadable PDF would be even more helpful for those who want to do the suggested exercises and do not want to work in the book. It would also be helpful if the book would be spiral-bound or have a flat-laying binding. The actual binding makes it difficult to work directly in the book like the author suggests. The complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley free of charge. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #ArtStartsInTheHeart #NetGalley
Anonymous 6 months ago
I love this beautiful little book! It has just the right amount of instruction so that new artists won't feel overwhelmed. The author also respects the reader's own personal creativity—this is very much a do-your-own-thing kind of experience, with many fun drawing prompts at the end of the book. Her enthusiasm shines thoughout and now I'm itching to pick up a pencil. I started planning a trip to the art supply by page 9. Highly recommended.
CathyGeha 6 months ago
Art Starts in the Heart by Erin McManness Creative projects and inspirational ideas for learning to make expressive, mindful art Interesting and informative – I found this book filled with ideas that will assist me in creating more interesting illustrations and art work in the future. I learned how to take a finished project and digitally create a line drawing, learned a bit more about how to create pleasing designs and how to create interesting art prints. I came up with some new ideas to use in creating borders and/or frames along with ways to use lettering in art. I found the prompts intriguing and worth visiting one at a time over a period of days. I can see this book used by artists, teachers of art, illustrators, mothers trying to entertain their children, grandmothers (like me) who create snail mail postcards and letters to send to their grandchildren and by many others. Did I enjoy this book? Yes Would I recommend it to others? Definitely...getting ready to send the information to my artistic sister right now Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars