Get creative with The Art of Silliness author Carla Sonheim

The Art of SillinessHello! My name is Carla Sonheim and I am the author of a new book, “The Art of Silliness: A Creativity Book for Everyone.” Today I’d like to talk a little bit about creativity, drawing, and… silliness!

Being creative enriches our lives. Besides the more “serious” benefits such as developing problem-solving skills, etc., expressing ourselves creatively is fun and rewarding. (It can also be frustrating and challenging, but what worth doing, isn’t?) 

But finding the time to be creative can be difficult when we have kids to feed and ferry, reports to write and analyze, dishes to dirty and do. “Life” can keep us scurrying around from one thing to another, keeping us from taking the time to slow down, focus, and just enjoy making something new.

For me, drawing is one of the quickest and easiest ways for me to nurture my creative side, and especially so if I don’t take it too seriously. (In fact, the sillier I am regarding drawing, the better, especially if time is short.)

Author Julia Cameron writes, “The creative part of us is always childlike.” Being “silly” is a great way to tap into your inner kid!

Do you want to try? This assignment should take less than five minutes. (Can’t draw? Don’t worry! Just do the prompts, one by one. Outcome is not important.)

  1. Skip down the hallway, in your house or at work, by yourself or with a friend. Do it!
  2. Now quickly draw 5-6 cats — including eyes — using just one curvy and loopy line (see this video for tips on how to do one-liners: .
  3. Make up a nonsense word (a “Fleep” word) that starts with the letter “Z.” (For example, “zashing.”)
  4. Define your Fleep. Just start writing. Write two or three “definitions” very quickly, then pick your favorite.
  5. Now draw another one-line cat with your eyes closed. 


Okay… that was silly. And what was with the skipping?

Try not to worry about it, but just focus on how you felt afterwards. It was fun, right? Just a tiny bit? 

Meet the author: Carla Sonheim is a painter, illustrator, and creativity workshop instructor known for her fun and innovative projects and techniques designed to help adult students recover a more spontaneous, playful approach to creating. Her latest book is “The Art of Silliness: A Creativity Book for Everyone.” She holds online classes from her website: and lives inSeattle,WA, with her photographer husband, a game-playing teenager, and her blog. 

What we thought:

I hope you followed along with Carla’s creative exercise! I think that we get so wrapped up into day to day life that we just forget to stop and have fun sometimes. A little bit of silly can go a long way to creating smiles in the family!

I had the pleasure of receiving a copy of Carla’s book, “The Art of Silliness” and I must say I’ve been having a lot of fun with it!  I love all of the different ways this book prompts you to express your silliness. There is doodling, drawing, word creating, games, scribbling and so much more. I have always been a doodler so found those prompts to be the most fun.

It is wonderful being able to put aside any stress about how to draw or what to draw and just do it! Letting the kid come out once in awhile makes the world a little less serious, for a bit anyways. I would buy this book for myself and would happily give it as a gift to anyone, especially tweens and up. 


How to stay in touch!

The Art of Silliness: A Creativity Book for Everyone is Carla’s third book. You can keep up to date with all of the silliness by following Carla Sonheim’s Blog@carlasonheim on Twitter and her shop on Etsy.

CLOSED – Win a copy of The Art of Silliness!

To help spread the silliness, one lucky reader will win their very own copy of Carla Sonheim’s “The Art of Silliness”, WooHoo! To enter, just leave a comment telling how you try to add silliness to your life!

For a extra entries, Tweet or share this post via G+, Pinterest or Facebook, using the share tools at the side or bottom of the post. Tweet daily for extra entries (leave a comment each time you share).

Giveaway is open to U.S. ages 18+ only and will end November 30, 2012 at 11:59pm est. Winner will be drawn randomly and contacted via email. Must respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be drawn.


Henrietta's signature image

Giveaway prize, author guest post and complimentary book were provided as part of a Perigee Author Book Tour, all thoughts and opinions are genuine and 100% my own. *image source: book cover & bio photo from Carla Sonheim
About the Author

Henrietta Newman is a self-loving empty-nester into smudging, nature, yoga, fitness, healthy living, hunting, camping, hiking, tech, video games, gadgets, recipes, reviews and more.
With a love for the outdoors and visiting local attractions in and around NW PA and Lake Erie, you never know what you'll find in my nest! Subscribe to A Hen's Nest so you don't miss the fun!



  1. 1
    apple blossom says

    quiet time alone

  2. 2
    apple blossom says

    posted on google+

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  3. 3

    I love Carla’s books and have been trying to incorporate exercises from her first two into my life to increase its silliness quotient. I’d love to have this book, too!

  4. 4

    I twitted (tweeted), facebooked, pinned it and hopefully did everything else…
    To be silly, I am jumping up and down yelling “I want to win, I want to win, I want to win, I want to win, cheerleading this book on and all the other books she has written.

  5. 5

    I love carla sonheim — I have her first two books and plan to get the silly book also — I have taken several of her online classes including her silly workshops — she is a very inspiring artist who shares her creativity very easily — she teaches with a calming ease — hope I win —

  6. 6

    Oh I do love Carla’s books and ideas….adding silliness to my day….making funny rhymes many times, playing cat and mouse and painting curious creatures.
    And actually making a Yes We Can Again Painting that I blog posted yesterday.

  7. 7

    My book should arrive today! I could give one to my sister though if I won one – that was even hard to type! As to silliness, a very wise person once told me that enlightenment was simply lightening up. Thanks for the great post.

  8. 8

    I use Carla’s books and lessons to help with my silliness and I would love to win her latest one! Carla, I love your cat, too.

  9. 9

    Ah Silliness in my life…..well first of all I have “instant silliness” resources, because I have 2 wonderful little dogs. Their silly actions keep me laughing! Also, when I am in a definitly Un-Silly state, such as working fiendishly at the computer, they come to me and make wonderful silly noises and movements and despite my resistance I am laughing at how silly I have been and move back into life!
    Oh, humming and singing silly songs, turning the sound down on tv politicians and making up words to what they are saying!
    I carry mini bottles of bubbles in my purse and take them out at times and blow them, seems to make everybody silly!
    Being around Children always helps me find silliness.
    Doing silly drawings….ah, will check out CArlas’s book and do more of that….and share that with friends and children in my sphere.
    Thanks for your posting and enjoy your hens nest!

  10. 10

    Silliness is something I’ve been working on this year. I think creating art is a great way to have fun, be silly & not take things too seriously.

  11. 11

    To make life sillier, we have backwards days, pajama days, dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner days!

  12. 12

    Hello! well is getting difficult with the passing of the years as you get older people are not silly so is difficult to don’t forget to be SILLY but I try every day(if I don’t forget a day or two) but being silly really gets me going gets my spirit up!…I love to draw but somehow I don’t get myself to do it so often but you’re exercises are really interesting hahaha and I can laugh at myself with no worries.. then there are those really good days when I dance with my boys a crazy song and we start jumping and making crazy moves gets my oxygen going and then out of knowhere I start to finally do some drawing with my eight year old which I admit is much better then me at doing the art of silliness :) my fourteen year old just laughs at us!
    I wish you a silly day! cheers!

  13. 13

    Being silly is a daily occurence for me…I teach a children’s art program and the kids constantly remind me to not take things too seriously with silly words, silly faces, silly ways to walk and talk and silly answers to silly questions.

  14. 14
    Susan Hartl says

    Would love to win a copy. Carla is the bomb diggity! Will try pinning later, I am artwork.

  15. 15

    It’s easy to be silly when you work with kids!! We blow bubbles to catch in nets, have painting relay races, draw in the dark, create sculptures with marshmallows and toothpicks for snack, talk silly talk,….. Kids keep you in the present moment. My husband and I will dance in the kitchen, read to each other in bed, make faces at each other….. It’s fun to be silly and it makes you smile – feels good inside and looks good on the outside!!

  16. 16
    Jane Hinrichs says

    I did all of those exercises. My husband, who took a day off, didn’t even look up from his lunch when I skipped by! It was a whole lot of fun, and my last cat was more interesting than all of the other five…I plan on doing these one-line doodles a lot!

  17. 17
    Dotti Cullen says

    I have Drawing Lab by Carla, and have taken on line classes from her. For a non-draw-er type person that I am, I sure did enjoy the drawing experience thanks to Miss Carla! Would love to win this book!

  18. 18

    I’m happy to say that I already did some skipping today! My daughter and I were skipping around the room to Christmas music, so I guess you could think of it as silliness warm-ups. Thanks for the post!

  19. 19

    By the way, I shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. : ) SHARE THE SILLINESS!

  20. 20

    i tend to be a bit silly quite often. some call me eccentric. i call it having fun.

  21. 21

    Silly worksheets are the best! Im keeping my fingers crossed! (:

  22. 22

    Looking closely at the trivial. Looking at everyday things from a different angle. Always being on the lookout for something to laugh about.

  23. 23

    What a great exercise, I am home sick today and bored so will try this as a distraction. Thanks for posting and would love a chance to win this wonderful book.

  24. 24

    While traveling on public transport or waiting in Lon queues I like to look at the people around me a consider what animal they would be if they were an animal. It is a lot of fun and actually makes you more observant too. Some people are so clearly their animal that I find myself giggling.

  25. 25

    sob! I cannot even enter the competition because I live in Australia! Not feeling very silly at the moment. sob.
    How hard is it to post a book to Australia? It wraps easily because it’s square. I have your other book and it was posted to me.
    This is just silly.

  26. 26
    Jan Caldwell says

    I bought both of Carla’s books by preordering them. My first book of drawing exercises is nearly worn out. I’ve had such fun that it became an extension of my right hand. Letting go and just Doing it – is a great feeling. I haven’t started on the 2nd yet but am looking forward to starting another drawing journal. I’m old as dirt, and playing like a kid. Something I have never done. Thanks Carla, Jan C. in WV.

  27. 27

    I would absolutely love a chance to win Carla’s book. When it comes to adding silliness to my day, I sew funny animals, doodle imaginary creatures in my sketchbook, and do sidewalk crack animals.

  28. 28

    I love her books and I did start drawing with one of it…it is such fun. And just the picture in it they are so nice funny and njam, njam….

  29. 29
    Wendy Austin says

    Silliness.. seems to me there should be times for random silliness in everyone’s day.It makes the world go round!

  30. 30
    Wendy Austin says

    hurrah for silliness!

  31. 31

    I insert random offbeat words into my conversations, works especially well with the kids, “Can you go to the television and get me some milk?” “Go upstairs and brush your shoes before bed.” Sometimes they laugh, sometimes they just give me that look.

  32. 32

    I have posted this on Pinterest and Facebook

  33. 33
    Carol Tamasiunas says

    Dancing to rock & roll while cleaning.

  34. 34
    Nancy Williams says

    I just finished drawing silly cats in my sketchbook and they are certainly nothing I would have done without the prompt.
    Thanks, Carla!

  35. 35

    I am a high school teacher, and sometimes being silly is as simple as the way I say hello to my class (which earns 19 teenage-eye-rolls), and sometimes it is more complex, like incorporating a silly activity into the class time (and I do them too). It is a great way to loosen up, even when you are so focused on working and being that “great teacher” I strive for.

  36. 36

    I also like Silliness on FB, and Pinned it on pinterest and G+… Spread the silliness!

  37. 37

    I love to sing songs with lyrics I make up spontaneously while in the car. :) I make the lyrics as happy as I can.

  38. 38

    would like for my great nieces

  39. 39

    I am silly when I spend time with my younger sisters. We play fetch with our dog, sing songs, and just be ourselves.

  40. 40

    My partner (57) and I (56) can get wonderfully silly when we start playing with words… it drives other people nuts! Recently though I’ve become way to serious and weighted down with work and sketching has become my lifeline! I have Carla’s first book, and won a copy of her second book and have been immersing myself in them both. Her work is extraordinary and I can’t look at a blob of anything now without seeing something in it. Would love to have a copy of this book too – Thanks!

  41. 41

    There’s only one rule: rules are to not follew them! Think square, live the live of a Squeen!
    And follow Carla’s courses and buy her books ;)

  42. 42
    Desiree Dunbar says

    We love to sing and dance around the house with the kids.

  43. 43

    I have a tendency to make up words or combine them and then speak and write them. I also spent much of my Life BEing far too serious and intense. It’s sort of like my SocialSecurity, silliness. I saved it up and it just grew like crazy!!

  44. 44

    i work in a hardware store in the paint department… I am always acting silly and sing and dancing while I work. I finger paint silly little things on top of the paint cans I mix for customers. If can’t have fun at work…it ain’t worth going there :0)

  45. 45

    I have shared the giveaway on Facebook.

  46. 46

    Silly as it may sound, silly is good

  47. 47

    I add silliness each day by doing a blind contour drawing of something at work every day. It takes only a few minutes and it’s fun to see what it turns out to look like.

  48. 48
    Charlotte Padgett says

    I’ve never heard of these books, but would sure love to win one. It sounds like a great idea-or should I say many great ideas. Our current silliness consists mostly of giggling at things instead of taking them so seriously.

  49. 49

    This started out as something my husband does, but now my kids and I do it too! We just love to randomly make up songs about anything and everything.

  50. 50
    Melissa Rian says

    For my silly-ness I had my the cast on my foot wrapped in multiple colors.

  51. 51
  52. 52

    I like to add silliness to my life by saying our dinner grace in a British accent or like a pirate. I’m sure God doesn’t mind.

  53. 53

    I would love to win some silliness. I have Drawing Lab and love it. Something silly I will do today is to play gargoyle jump with my cat.

  54. 54

    I have an art journal where I’m not afraid to try new things. I never worry about how they will turn out in there, so I can experiment to my heart’s content. I’d love to win this book.

  55. 55

    I add silliness to my life by dancing in the rain and jumping in mud puddles with my friends and kids. I even have pictures to prove it! Thanks.

  56. 56

    Saying funny things to my godson as I am babysitting!

  57. 57

    I take everyday events and make them funny, my daughters love it!

  58. 58

    My husband would proably tell you I’m silly all the time, but probably the goofiest thing I do is put on broadway style shows starring me and our two birds – who sing and dance along. (wow, I don’t believe I just admitted that to the world!!)

  59. 59

    There is a large white board at the office. I like to draw a simple picture on it, and then add to it bit by bit. Sometimes the whole staff gets involved, and everyone has fun with it. Last year’s snowman stayed up for months, and acquired different outfits, pets, and changing landscapes.

  60. 60

    I’ve recently been trying to add a little sketch each day, in my daily journal. I need to give the blind contour idea a try, instead of trying for the realistic look. So for today, that’s what I plan on doing! Thanks Carla for the inspiration!

  61. 61

    I wander the garden, clippers in hand, snipping here and there and put it all into a quick bouquet. Instant silliness!

  62. 62

    love situation comedies

  63. 63

    I add silliness by listening and following the steps of my children who embrace silliness everyday.

  64. 64

    I doodle when I’m in meetings/seminars. Often the doodles loosely (they are silly) fit the program. It helps me remember the boring stuff.

  65. 65
  66. 66

    I like to hold hands with my husband and make him swing them! He resists every time, but sometimes he caves. It’s so much fun – and so childlike! :-)

  67. 67

    I’m at my silliest when I’m playing with my grandchildren. They always want to create with me whether its drawing, writing books or making things with lots of toilet paper tubes, beads, paper and copious amounts of glue! Please enter me in your giveaway–I promise to share with all the grandkids:-)

  68. 68

    I make my daughter laugh by being silly!

  69. 69

    We add silliness by playing games with the kids.

  70. 70

    i play with my kids :)

  71. 71

    I don’t take myself seriously! And I have taken to playing board games with my coworkers on our lunch break. It makes us feel like kids again, and we can get surprisingly competitive!

  72. 72
    Corey Olomon says

    I keep my life silly by spending as much time as possible with my kids. They are the Kings and Queen of Silly!

  73. 73
    Corey Olomon says
  74. 74
    Corey Olomon says
  75. 75
    Shareen Mioskowski says

    I try to add silliness to my life with my children acting like I am part different animals and talking in different voices :-)

  76. 76

    Silly is fun! I love doodling. Thanks!

  77. 77
  78. 78

    Google+ this post

  79. 79
    Kerrie Mayans says

    I add sillyness by sometimes talking to my kids in rhymes. Often it makes them laugh but occassionally it annoys them!

  80. 80
    Cheryl Reinhardt says

    I add silliness to my life using the blunders from the past and silly jokes.

  81. 81
    Christian Alejandro says

    I always hone my sarcasm by practicing it every day! :-)

  82. 82
    Christian Alejandro says
  83. 83
    Christian Alejandro says
  84. 84
    Shirley Zolenski says

    I just try not to take anything too serious and learn to laugh at myself.

  85. 85
    Shirley Zolenski says
  86. 86

    Joking on and off throughout the day.. it keeps my kids laughing! This book would be perfect for my daughter :)


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