I’ve had a thought about my art lately that’s been nagging at me, and I thought I’d drop it in  your head too—and see if it’s just me, or if it helps you to: we need to dream big dreams for our art. Small thinking is getting us nowhere.

Tutorial: Dream BIG dreams for your art

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Dream BIG dreams

I’ve realized recently that I’ve lost my BIG dreams of my youth. I had so much I wanted to accomplish artistically! But I had those dreams while I was doing life – working a job, volunteering, doing regular stuff. I saved those “big” ideas for one day when I’d be able to finally be a full time artist. 

But once that transition happened….I sort of lost it all. I didn’t know how hard it would be to cobble together an income, and how much of my time would get eaten up by minutia. (You know, that stuff that brings in the bacon!) 

Perhaps I “trained” myself to just make a lot of quick projects because I spent so many years in crafting where a few hours on anything was more than enough. And I never returned to those huge ideas I had when I was young. I wish they were at the tip of my mind and inspiring to get “back” to, but I’m a different person now—and I’ll be looking for my own big dreams for the artist I am now.

Don’t settle.

Don’t settle for what small dreams are right in front of you. And beware of all that “life” stuff that’s going to try to get in the way. The small stuff is always trying to get attention…maybe simply because it’s small stuff! See if you can find the big stuff out in the distance waiting for you.

Look out over the horizon: what’s out there? What might you need to get there? Training? Resources? Time? What baby step can you take right away that will move you even a few feet closer?

A little about this piece

This imaginary hot air balloon sports its own sail (lots of my big dreams happened when I was sailing on SF Bay) and wings….a crow’s nest with an umbrella to keep foul weather at bay while I watch out for those big ideas on the horizon. A weather vane is atop the balloon to keep me headed in the right direction. Signage reminds me to indulge in my fantasy – no practicality, just look for big ideas which won’t always make ssnse!

It’s created on terrible Strathmore 400 Cold press – it turns out terrible for watercolor, and even fought the Faber Castell Watercolor Markers (some of the permanent ink even lifted up when using the marker on it! gah!) so I’m glad I opted to make it a primarily pen and ink piece. And am glad I only had one sheet of this stuff in the studio.

Dream Big Hot Air Balloon

Created to inspire artists to dream BIG dreams for their art! Print it out and hang it up as is, or add some color. Use it for art projects like cards or journal pages, or frame and display!


What’s your BIG dream?

Don’t worry if you don’t know it yet — some people try to make one up just to say they have a dream, and I think we’re safer if we just stay on the lookout and let it reveal itself. But if you’ve got one, lay it on me!


Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Subscribe to receive blog posts by email:


  1. CM M Ralph

    I was recently inspired by a quote from UK artist, Maggie Hambling, referring to something she was told by Arthur Lett-Haines, who told her to, “Make her work her best friend and go to it in times when she felt troubled.” I’ve been writing and illustrating my book for over 2 years now, making it the longest project I’ve yet to work on (at 68 yrs old). I don’t engage in social media, so I have none of the issues related to it, but large, protracted creative projects have their own built-in obstacles. Chief among them, persistence of vision and determination to finish. I find that turning my work into a daily meditation practice and reminding myself to remain in the present moment really helps me. That said, I do not rely on my art for my income, and it’s mind-boggling for me to see how much and how hard artists like yourself have to hustle online just to pay their bills. My heart goes out to you. I know I could never handle that much pressure. Wishing you much success from my studio to yours. – CM

    • Sandy

      Thanks so much CM! I love that quote— there’s much truth in it. I was talking with an artist who said she wanted to change her relationship with her art because they’d gotten off track. As if it were a person. I think I’m starting that journey, and I don’t know the steps, but I’d love to have it be my best friend, not my boss! ❤️ Good for you in persisting on your book…I’d love to see a snippet of what you’re working on someday.

  2. June from Minnesota

    My “Big Dream” is to organize my “craft room”! I am embarrassed at what a disaster that room has become. I just need to take that first step, then I know I will get it done. ARGH…how I dread that first step. So far I have been able to procrastinate for 10 months! Now my “baby step” is to have this done by December 31st!

    (anyone out there have the same problem???)

  3. Gab

    This is such a cool piece

  4. Marcia Hauan

    First off-I love your steam punk ship! You absolutely have hit the topic that has been on my mind. I have been trying to figure out what I want to get out of my art adventure! I retired from my main career and wanted to enjoy my making art. Part of my personality couldn’t justify the simple enjoyment of the hobby though, so I convinced myself that I had to make a business out of it. So I then started on the social media treadmill too. This has been, I’m afraid, just an illusion of success. I am so confused about where to focus my time and energy. Do I spend the time, money and the overwhelming brain focus it takes to figure out how to even be successful in the social media realm? Or is that line of thought just taking me away from what I should be focused on, which is learning the skills to be a better artist. I feel like right now, artistically, I am at a fork in the road, where I need to move past using stamps to make art and I now need to learn to actually draw. I am confused and it is something I am thinking about a lot. Thanks for bringing up this topic.

    • Sandy Allnock LLC

      It’s a hard place to be! A number of years ago social media was a great step in getting our art out to other people – I may have made a big mistake in thinking that would continue, because once social media sites started worrying more about making money than engaging people in conversation (a correct biz decision but terrible for us!)….then artists lost the ability to reach an audience.

      My advice would be still to learn to draw; whatever you do make (whether craft projects or otherwise) will benefit, and you’ll be a baby step closer to your dream. It takes years to learn and develop as an artist and find your voice (I’m still looking for mine!) so if you put that aside to focus on the treadmill, you’ll be even further behind.

      I keep somehow hoping something “new” comes up where artists can get traction again. Maybe something else can replace social media. (But with how it’s training people to love video more than anything else, I have my doubts.) Perhaps the rise of AI will at some point make people crave hand-created art again.

      Good luck on your fork – whichever way you go, know that you’re never at the WRONG place. You’re just where you are. You can always take a turn and go a different way. Don’t get paralyzed by which decision to make, just make one for now and take baby steps forward 🙂


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.