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Inspiration Diaries with Courtney Prahl

Inspiration Diaries with Courtney Prahl

“You can use crayon, you can use marker.  I use a glue stick.  You don’t need to have a formal training in art or fancy materials to create art.” I love how Courtney makes art feel accessible to everyone!  That was why I couldn’t wait to sit down with her in her studio and see where her magic happens…



Urbana artist, Courtney Prahl has been showing at The Muse for over a decade! She has come a long way in the past ten years. Not only does she sell her original work at The Muse, Courtney works with elementary school kids with disabilities, teaches after school art classes and summer camps to kids! Because she doesn’t have to only rely on her art to make a living, it frees her up to be creative.  This creativity has gotten her representation with a graphics company for print reproduction and product license. Her art has been licensed out onto pillows, cutting boards, rugs, windchimes, calendars, cards and more!


1. What inspires you?  Everything!  I’m inspired by children’s book illustrations.  I still go look at the children’s book section of the library even though my kids are big.


kidsstudioartunnamedWall of art inspiration in her studio includes the painting her grandmother made mixed in with her kids’ art and found objects.

2. How do you turn those ideas & inspirations into actions? It starts with finding the perfect papers that match the picture that I have in my mind.  After that it’s pretty easy.

3.  Do you start with a plan or are you spontaneous? It depends.  If I have a specific task to do then I plan it.  If I create for the sake of creating art, then I’m more spontaneous.



4. What is the greatest enemy to creativity?  Not letting your art marinade before discarding it.  Overthinking it.  Sometimes people are too quick to discard it.  A lot of times, I will take my art into my living space and see it while I am doing my daily things.  It lets me see things I didn’t know were there before.  A lot of times as an artist, you unintentionally intentionally do things.

5. How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?  I do anything but my art.  Take a walk, exercise, got to my kids ball games or do laundry.



6.  What does an average day in the life look like?  It’s never average but it is busy! From 5:15am-7pm I am on the go! When I do make time for being creative it is usually after 9 o’clock and I stay up really late.  I have set studio time Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.  During the week I come back to what I was working on over the weekend.

7.  Who are your mentors?  I feel like there are so many ordinary people living an extraordinary life.  Because of the way they live their life, they inspire me and help with the creative process.  You can find it in the strangest of places.

8.  What other hobbies do you enjoy?  I like to read, I like to exercise; go on hikes with my family.  Spending time with my family-that’s the most important.

studiobirdunnamedCourtney’s studio is full of fun & playful whimsy!

 9.  How do you maintain balance?  I think it’s really important as a person and as a mother, you have so many roles that you really need to make time to find yourself.  If that’s just sitting quietly for ten minutes where you’re not doing something for another person then that’s what it takes. I can be a wife, a mother, a teacher but if I don’t have time to reconnect with who I am then I lose myself.

10.  What words of wisdom do you have for others embarking on their own creative journey?  Cast fear aside and just do things even though they don’t seem to make sense.

Below is a quick answer sheet that I had Courtney fill out listing her top faves in each category…


Find Courtney on Instagram @courtneyprahl2 and as always at The Muse!  You can even take a class from her at one of The Muse’s Craft Parties!


  • Margaret
    Posted at 02:26h, 26 April Reply

    It is always great for me to read and hear how other female artist live their lives. Courtney is a power house. She really rock and rolls through life always caring about her love ones but still maintaining her passion, ART!!! I hope your family knows how amazing you are because you are a quite giant❤️❤️❤️

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