Try this! Take a photo and a thick black felt pen (Sharpies® work great) and outline the main shapes. Your goal is to get down to a minimum number of shapes. Try to integrate shapes by overlooking small details. This exercise will raise your awareness of different shapes (size, orientation) and the way they interlock. (from Benoit Philippe's Creative Exericises for Artists and Everyone Else)
You can easily complete a number of these in just a few minutes. Use this exercise to experiment with and transform your favorite nature photograph into a fun, embellished mixed media piece.
Mixed media w/original Sharpie pen exercise,
embellished w/soft pastels, glass beads--and
possibly later w/some found text.
(Original photo by Alexandra J. Sheldon)