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The 4 ArtSquish Rules

The 4 ArtSquish Rules

Everyone has ’em. Here at ArtSquish we have 4 big rules.

The first rule is…. drumrolll…

1. Not. Too. Many. Rules.
This is funny, but it also makes a point. There are not a lot of rules in creativity. You either like it or you don’t. If you want to invent a new thing, that can sometimes be really cool. Rules are there to keep people safe and have a good time. Making art is usually pretty fun and safe, so our rules are easy.

2. Be nice!
Everyone knows this rule. But did you know we have 3 ways this rule works?

  1. Others – this is what most people think when they hear this rule, and you all know this already.
  2. Self – you wouldn’t say, “hey that art looks horrible!” to a friend. So never tell yourself bad things about your own art. Be nice to yourself!
  3. Stuff – your brushes will need to be super washed today. All of your materials and the classroom itself, need to be taken care of. Be nice to your art stuff, and it will last much longer.

If you’re not in a controlled setting: “One very important way to be nice, is to never leave our classroom without letting me know. That means that if you see your mom outside and run out to meet her and leave, but I didn’t see you, I will get in trouble. I’ll have to call your mom or dad, which is not good for you or me. It’s very important that you never, ever disappear from art class without me seeing you connect with your parent. Thank you for helping keep that rule.”

3. No mistakes allowed.

Most people believe that if an artist creates something that looks bad, they have made a mistake. This is not only false, it’s impossible. Our 3rd rule is No Mistakes Allowed. It’s a very important rule.

What does that mean? Well, it doesn’t mean that we think you’re going to be perfect. It means we know every single artist in the world is going to make artwork they don’t like. We just don’t call them mistakes. A mistake sounds like you shouldn’t have done it, but you should. In fact, it’s very important for every artist to create bad-looking artwork! You must practice and learn. Therefore we call these artworks learners.

This is one of the most important things you’ll ever hear.

An artist cannot waste time making art. You can make awesome work, which we call Keepers, or you learn more, and make a Learner. So you make a Learner or you make a Keeper. Both are extremely important.

Even if you hate what you end up with, you have spent your time well, doing important learning work. This is what every artist has always done and always will do.

4. You Must Mix your colors. That sounds pretty easy, and it is. Our set of colors that come from the tube are actually pure pigments, and are not designed to be used right out of the tube. Only white and bright red look good as actual colors in a painting. All others should be mixed with at least some of another color or white.

Another way to say this rule is, “no tube colors!”

About The Author

Dennas Davis

Dennas is the founder of Firstlight Arts Academy in Nashville, and also of The Art Instructor (formerly ArtSquish). He has been designing, painting, illustrating and teaching in various combinations since he learned how to hold a crayon. He is the illustrator of 24 children's books with over 5 million in print worldwide. See his paintings at

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