Monday, December 22, 2014

Tips on art journaling

I really like keeping art journals. But I'm not always so successful at finishing them. Over the years I have done quite a few of them, and recently I started to do a painting a day project. During the process I learned a few things, and today I'll be sharing them with you guys. Here we go:

when to check the internet for inspiration
The internet is a great inspiration, but it doesn't always help. The painting above is made after a photo I saw on pinterest. The internet can be a great help, but don't let it stand in your way. When you are looking at your empty page and don't know what to do don't start browsing images, you have to draw not scroll. Do use the internet for inspiration but not just before you start painting. It is harder to be truly creative when you are looking at other peoples ideas.

starting a journal
We have all seen those cute drawing/photography/painting challenges on pintrest, with names like draw every day of December. Well for me this doesn't really work, I really like them. But you have to start at the moment you feel inspired and not at the first day of the new year or of the month. In Dutch we have a saying that says that procrastination leads to cancelling the project. But it doesn't rhyme in English... anyway, If you want to start a art journal, or any project in general start now.

how to keep it up
The key is to make it a habit. Make it part of your ritual. I make a quick sketch every day just before I go to sleep. Some days I am tired and I don't take that much time. And other days I put a lot of effort in it. When you don't want to work on it every day, make sure that you think of your project when you have time. You could make it laying around on your desk so you can see it. Or you could put a note on your remote control/laptop/phone that says "you could also work on your journal instead of watching tv/9gag". I never tried that last one though...

 the white page syndrome
So you are finally there, you started a journal, filled a couple of pages, and you want to continue. But something is holding you down. It's the white page in front of you. You are afraid that when you create something on it it won't fulfil your expectations or it will be less pretty than the rest. Or maybe you just don't know where to start. Does this sound familiar to you? than you might suffer from the white page syndrome.... There is only one thing you can do to over come it, just get started. Do not look on your phone for inspiration, and do not doubt about what to do, just get started! And remember, some not so pretty pages in your journal is always better than only empty ones. Don't put pressure on yourself to create something perfect, that will just kill your creativity. This is why I don't like to work in expensive booklets, then it would be a waste if my drawing doesn't come out pretty. You can also work on sheets of paper, and collect the ones you like most in a little album.

Remember that it doesn't always have to be perfect
This is a picture of my favourite sketch book. Its called BLA and contains little drawings and captions of the small things in life that make me happy. It isn't that pretty at all but I love it so much. Even if your drawing skills aren't amazing you can still make something you love. The beauty of a journal is in it's meaning to you, and don't care to much about how others will like it. You should make it for yourself and not for someone else (like your instagram followers) or else it just won't be fun anymore after some time.

what to fill your album with
Maybe you are not so exited about painting, but don't worry there are much more fun options. One of them is making collages. Get yourself some scissors, glue and a pile of old magazines and get started. You can also use your own photos. If you like that idea, maybe scrapbooking is also something for you. An other option is text, a you can do an old school diary, write poems or make a book of quotes from your friends. Or you could combine all of these options (that would be rad).

If there is anything bad for your creativity is it low self-esteem. Don't think like 'I could never get as good as them'. They have probably been working on their skill for a long time, besides you are only seeing one image, probably one of the best. People don't share the stuff they are not proud of. You only see their 'stage' and not what is behind the scenes. If you really want to compare do it fair, only compare with people with the same amount of experience and with the same kind of work, don't compare a quick sketch to a masterpiece. But even then comparing is still a bad thing to do.

I hope this post inspires some of you to get creative. Thanks for reading, if you liked this post please let me know by commenting :)

Ps. I made two tutorials on making booklets, one of a vinyl record and one of it's sleeve. you could use them to start an art journals in :)
Pps. If you'd like to see more of my drawings you should take a look at my finished painting a day project. 



  1. Nice post! What is the Dutch saying for procrastination leading to cancellation? I love quotes!(something to put in a journal)

    1. it's 'van uitstel komt afstel' and I'm glad you liked it :)

  2. Very inspiring! Really wish I wasn't sitting here stuck at work right now, would much rather be home with a sketchbook. I'm totally suffering from SAD today, and think a healthy dose of creativity would be just what the doctor ordered!

    Also, love that little drawing on the guy on the bike! So cute. :)