How To Set The Mood for Creativity: 5 Artists & Designers Share Their Wisdom

I love (love!) getting a sneak peek into other people's business. It feels a little voyeuristic, but I want to see it all; their studio or work space, the supplies they love to use, the mistakes they make, their habits - all of it. It's not just to be nosy; I also gain a lot from the wisdom and experiences of other artists! Particularly, those who are more established, or who might have reached a level with their work that I'm aspiring to.  Also, I'm a little nosy.

If I gain so much from this, I'm guessing you might too. So, I wrote down a list of four things I wish I could ask the artists I really admire... and then I just went ahead and asked them! Never hurts to ask, right? I was really excited when five amazing artists who I have followed along with for years in some cases responded! They include Stephanie Fehrenbach, Ingrid Sanchez (a.k.a Creative Ingrid), Ashley Rayne (a.k.a The Wild Hippies), Jessica Roux, and Monica Lee-Henell.

Not only are these five artists really talented; they are also really different from each other. With the unique perspectives they offer, I think this four-part blog post series is going to have something to inspire anyone - so please keep checking back for more!


How do you set the mood for creativity? We asked 5 artists & designers to share their wisdom, and how they create a space ideal for fine art inspiration, freelance illustration work, and productivity. From small things like a hot cup of coffee, to bigger things like establishing a routine, get inspired by these accomplished artists. More at

Guys, they put so much thought into their answers and I know you're going to enjoy reading them as much as I have. I've taken those four questions and turned them into four separate blog posts, so we can really get in-depth with each one; today, we're asking how they set the mood for creativity.

You can check out each of the answers below, with a little description of the artist and links to their websites and Instagram. Enough from me though, let's hear from them!

"What do you do to set the mood for creativity?"

Stephanie Fehrenbach shares how she sets the mood for creativity on
Work by Stephanie Fehrenbach, shared on as part of the How Do You Set the Mood for Creativity blog post.

Stephanie Fehrenbach

Stephanie is an Ontario based artist who works with oils, watercolors, and other mediums and who I've always especially admired for her floral paintings; they are just so vibrant and full of movement!


I find having my space set up and ready to go helps so much. So I’m not spending too much time cleaning or getting organized before actually getting down to work. Music is a must for sure! I find now, especially as a busy new mom, I can’t wait for inspiration to strike. I just have to take the time to work whenever I can. I think that’s the secret to creative living. Don’t wait for it. Just show up and make something, and keep doing that as often as you can. You’ll have good days and bad days, but I find actually making work is what inspires me most and gives me new ideas.
Ingrid Sanchez shares how she sets the mood for creativity on
Work by Ingrid Sanchez, shared on as part of the How Do You Set the Mood for Creativity blog post.

Ingrid Sanchez

Ingrid (or CreativeIngrid as you might recognize her) is a Mexican artist based in London, who creates a prolific amount of work that is so bold & vibrant. The process videos of her painting large florals & abstracts are so captivating, I always look forward to them!


My working space is sacred, it has to be clean and organized. Before I start painting I smudge the space with palo santo, sweet grass or any herb I’ve collected in my trips, and meditate. It doesn’t has to be very intense, I am happy with a quick one just to open myself and the space for creation.

After this I am ready to go. I like working in silence during the mornings, but after lunch I usually play some music or listen to a podcast, my favorite:  ‘Art for your ear’ with The Jealous Curator.
Ashley Rayne shares how she sets the mood for creativity on
Work by Ashley Rayne, shared on as part of the How Do You Set the Mood for Creativity blog post.

Ashley Rayne

Ashley (better known as The Wild Hippies) is a hand-lettering artist who is all about the positive vibes! Her colorful, cheerful artwork is shared on Instagram & available on Etsy. Her sense of humor is what sets her apart from other artists online, for me!


Working from a home office has its benefits (it is oh so convenient for parents with little ones at home), but it also has some major challenges. It can be a real struggle to get yourself into the working mindset, or getting yourself out of it when your family needs your attention. It isn’t as easy as driving to work, powering through the day, and then shutting down when you come back home. Working from home means you need to stay motivated and driven. It is much easier to just lay in bed for an extra 10 minutes (or an hour) in the morning. Much easier to take an extra long lunch break. Much easier to be distracted.

Keeping motivated is crucial to your productivity. I have a few small rituals that I do to get my mind and mood in the right place. First thing I do in the morning is make sure the house is tidy and clean. I can not focus when my mind is distracted by a pile of dirty dishes in the sink. Once the house is clean I make myself a big cup of tea - earl grey de la creme green tea is my go to - and head upstairs to my office. I will then sit at my desk and prioritize and expand on my daily task list (I make a quick list the night before that I work from). After writing out my schedule for the day, I light some sage and smudge (cleanse) my office and myself. Smudging really helps my mind relax and get focused. Finally, I turn on some noise - a pod cast if I am painting, my favourite playlist if I am doing some graphic design, or instrumental new age trance music if I am doing anything that involves reading and/or writing. All of this in combination get my creative juices flowing and makes for a very productive day!
Jessica Roux shares how she sets the mood for creativity on
Work by Jessica Roux, shared on as part of the How Do You Set the Mood for Creativity blog post.

Jessica Roux

Jessica's work is subtle and lovely in a way that's hard to describe without having seen it first. With very consistent use of colors and technique, she focuses on nature in a unique way. What draws me in is how she illustrates animals with so much life and detail.


Every morning starts with walking my sweet pup, Molly. It’s wonderful to get to spend that time enjoying some fresh air and spending time with her, and it puts me in a good mood to get work done. I love listening to podcasts while I illustrate - I’m into science, design, true crime, and history mainly, but here’s a bunch of my favorites: Science Vs, Reply All, Ologies, Natch Beaut, Lore, Invisibilia, Every Little Thing, Criminal, Creative Pep Talk, 99% Invisible, and 2 Dope Queens. I listen to music when I run out of new podcast episodes. I love checking my Spotify for my Discover Weekly playlist, and they recently made me a “Your Time Capsule” playlist that literally sounds like they stole my middle school mixed CDs. It’s got some No Doubt, Pink, Green Day, Destiny’s Child, etc on it, and it’s perfect do get some serious drawing done.
Monica Lee-Henell shares how she sets the mood for creativity on
Work by Monica Lee-Henell, shared on as part of the How Do You Set the Mood for Creativity blog post.

Monica Lee-Henell

Monica's work feels ever-evolving, but always in a beautiful direction. I've followed along with Monica's work for years, and her vibrant, moody abstract and floral paintings always make me stop scrolling in Instagram just to admire them for a moment.


I am a coffee drinker! Even if I’m not sipping something about having the smell and warmth in my hand sets the mood. I do listen to podcasts but am very careful to make sure they don’t set the wrong tone in my head, if that makes sense! So sometimes I just listen to romantic music. When I am really problem solving or need complete concentration, I need silence though!

I found it so fascinating that two different artists referenced smudging their spaces with sage or other herbs, to prepare it for painting. This has never occurred to me, but I'm intrigued and happy to experiment with it! Overall, what stands out to me is how we use rituals (even if it's just a cup of hot coffee or a walk outside) to get in the mindset for creating work. Creativity is all about having the space and ability come up with fresh work, and I loved reading about how others do it. Too often, I feel like I'm cramming work in between grocery shopping and soccer practices, and then feeling frustrated when it isn't coming to me naturally.

Also, those were some great podcast suggestions! I love listening to podcasts, and definitly added some new ones to my list.

How about you? What's one thing you do to set the mood for creativity before you work? This week, I challenge you to join me in being more intentional when creating a space and time for work. Find what works for you! Making sure you have a cup of tea to sip, trying to work a different and quieter time of day, putting on some great music or cleansing your work area - please let me know about it here or on Instagram!

- Dani