The Face that Launched a Festival

A tiny seed of an idea.  A spark of inspiration.  A jumping off point.  That is the invitation a muse offers. This is the story of the face that launched a festival.  It was an absolute fluke that Rick the Muse came into my arts practice.  I stayed home from my usual winter travels to have some downtime. My goal was to enjoy some solitude, get my income taxes done early for a change, and learn to draw faces while sketching daily. I enrolled in a fun "Illustration Nation" class online through Sketchbook Skool.  I watched TV, randomly pushed pause and drew what landed on the screen.  Then, I downloaded the Sktchy app onto my iPad. Sktchy is a quasi Instagram-like format where artists and muses can follow, share and celebrate creativity.  There are all levels of experience and the dedication of some of the artists to their daily drawing practice is impressive. You can swipe on a piece of art and see the photograph that inspired it.  You can follow different artists and muses and see widely diverse interpretations of portraits of the same muse done in different styles.  It's a playful, supportive and refreshingly inspiring community.

One blustery winter morning, I sat with coffee and sketchbook beside my woodstove and perused through inspiration photos on Sktchy.  There, I found a face I couldn't wait to draw.  By the end of the month, I had drawn Rick N several times in my sketchbook, had done two large watercolours of him, several digital drawings, and now found myself writing him for his permission to use him on promotional material for my weekend art event that I host at my Runs with Scissors Studio.

I wasn’t the only one to be inspired by Rick.  He has sparked over 2000 portraits from artists around the world.  He's a legend on Sktchy and has a fast growing following on Instagram.

This is the third year I've produced "Proutopia" a one stop art shopping experience on my acreage and I needed a seed of an idea....  Without knowing, a total stranger planted that seed and I watched with delight as the garden sprang to life. It inspired us to "conjure up something” for 850 visitors last June and is expected to enjoy a late summer bloom once again Sept 1-2.

...and the Proutopia wizard was born.

Time lapse of the creative process.
In the meantime, I felted a sun hat, so I photographed it and added it onto his image.

Here are some other examples of how Rick sparked my creativity.
This was the first drawing that grabbed me. I drew it on my iPad using the Procreate app

One of his most popular poses. 

In sketchbook, then watercolour

Stitched King Lear

I mailed a surprise to Rick.  He has a growing gallery of portraits hanging on the walls of his home; gifts from artists who want to give back to their muse.

As Proutopia drew nearer, we went into full on creative mode.
One of our artists, Debora Cardaci had an idea... a BIG idea.
Image may contain: 1 person

Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage, crowd and outdoor

             Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, hat, beard and outdoor

At the end of our June event, Rick texted me asking how it went.  I sent him these photos.  He has no idea what fun he inspired at my studio in the middle of the Manitoba prairie. 

So, I'd like you to meet Rick the Muse. He is an inspiration artist. This fun loving guy is an advocate for creativity and gives so much to the online sketching community.  Follow him on Instagram @Rick_the_Muse.  He's on Sktchy as Rick N.

And of course, keep up to date with Proutopia news at

And here are our Proutopia links:



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