You are currently viewing Real Talk for Teens: 5 Ways to Be Creative

Real Talk for Teens: 5 Ways to Be Creative

headshot of Lys with her dog in her studioLys Santamaria is best known for her labor-intensive portraits that transform thousands of tiny beads into expressive and colorful mosaics. Santamaria believes that artwork can heal the artist, the viewer, and the world.  Her work is focused on shedding light onto people, events and experiences that are often underrepresented. Santamaria’s work was most recently showcased at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport and is part of the permanent collection at Mexic-Arte Museum.  Born in Colombia and raised in Canada/USA, she now lives and works from her home studio in Austin, Texas. Find her newest work this November in Austin, Texas. Follow Lys on Instagram for a super fun and colorful feed and tons of inspiration!


Creativity is a part of every human being.  But how do we create an environment that helps that creativity to come through in writing, artwork, or other projects?  One of the most frequent questions that I get asked as an artist is about my creative process. Keep reading for my go-to steps that get me into the flow of creativity.


First, let’s get a few things out of the way: you don’t have to be an artist to make art and you don’t need to have natural talent either.  Art doesn’t have to be for anyone else but you.  Art is about expressing yourself, trying new things and being playful.


With that said, here are my 5 Steps to the Creative Process:


1)   Get inspired!

 There is inspiration all around you.  You don’t have to go to a museum or art galleries to see things that make you wonder. Every object around you was made with some sort of creative instinct so take second a look – someone designed that! 

Even being uninspired can spark a creative streak.  You might look at a piece of art and think, “I just don’t get it”.  Either way, you’re creating a well of inspiration to draw from. 

My favorite way to spark my imagination is to try something new or to go on a walk.  Both get me out of my home and day-to-day routine.  So get out, enjoy yourself and take note of the little details.  What catches your eye?

beaded circles in a variety of colors

 2)   Play, play, play!

 Now that you’re inspired, it’s time to play! Grab any materials that catch your attention. I stay away from materials that I usually work with.  Since I work primarily with beads, I would choose something like watercolors.  This helps me to get out of my comfort zone and avoid frustration. 

 Tip: This is a critical stage because it is a time where there can be a lot of negative self-talk.  Relax, sink into your work and don’t take yourself too seriously.  Think of how a 4-year-old would play and tap into that energy yourself.  At this stage, I like to keep my experiments secret.  Your inner artist has a very fragile ego and one comment from a well-intentioned friend can stop you from ever trying again.

3)   Get Quiet

lys working on beading at her deskThis might seem like a strange one but it works!  Resting the mind is one of the best ways to welcome ideas.  You might be in the shower one day and have a light bulb moment.  A friend of mine once had a dream that he was spray-painting a flag and it turned into a beautiful piece of art.  You never know when or where an idea is going to pop up so be ready and write it down.




4)   Pay Attention to Fear

Fear isn’t always bad.  Sometimes, fear is a compass for great ideas.  So if an idea seems a little out of your reach, go for it!  Don’t let self-doubt stand in your way, let fear guide you.

Once I’ve got an idea, I like to start small with a rough sketch or a smaller piece so the task seems manageable.  Make sure to take lots of breaks, drink water and keep your self-doubt in check. 

 Tip: At this stage, it’s easy to compare yourself to others and get totally unraveled. Try to stay away from looking at anyone else’s work. Be gentle and patient with yourself and remember that developing any skill takes time.


5)   Keep Trying

 Sometimes things don’t shape up the way you first envisioned.  Be open to happy surprises.  Don’t get too attached to your work and be open to trying again.  Don’t give up!

 Tip: Check in with yourself – are you having fun?  If not, listen and adjust.

Once you’re done, you can choose whether you want to share your creation or not.  The goal isn’t to show it off, the point of the creative process is the process itself.


As you will see, the creative process works differently for everyone and you might be surprised by what happens. I have gained so much from making time for my creativity.  By making art, I’ve actually created more freedom, healing, and joy in my life.  Try it, you never know what might happen! 


beaded wolf head


Contemporary Beadwork Artist, Lys Santamaria, is best known for her intricate portraits made entirely of tiny beads. This year, Lys will be unveiling a personal new series of work: “Hilo y Aguja”. This series blends the threads of quilting, crochet, and beadwork to create large-scale tapestries that depict the artist’s journey as an immigrant, daughter and a woman. If you’re in the Austin-area, check her show out! Location: MakeATX 1109 Shady Lane, Austin, TX Dates: November 10, 11, 17, 18  from 11am-6pm daily.

Leave a Reply