Art Journaling, Bookbinding, Creativity, Get Messy
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My year of art journaling


All of the journals I filled in 2017 including my daily Moleskine planner.


Books I used solely for art journaling.


Books I filled as daily challenges, travel journal (Cape Cod Folks), general Moleskine sketchbooks and my daily Moleskine.


I was looking back at my art journals from last year and I was surprised at what I found.  Even though the years seem to fly by, a year ago can seem so much in the past and some of the pages and even the sketchbooks seemed so distant to me.

When I was pulling out journals, I concentrated on the handmade ones because that is what I thought I had used all year.  I didn’t realize that I had spent the first three or four months using random sketchbooks including a Moleskine and a  Dylusions book.  I like these sketchbooks a lot and what I made in them, but I really enjoy the handmade books I made for each Get Messy season and for some of the monthly challenges I played along with via Instagram and Creative Bug.

I pulled out books I thought were from last year and they were actually from 2016 and I ignored books I had filled last year.  I am not sure if this is because I can’t keep track of time (which is why I keep a diary!) or because I am simply losing my mind, maybe a combination of the two! Ha.

What I did notice was how I seem to have found myself a little niche in my art journaling practice which I am happy about.  I am not sure I could pick my ‘style’ out of a crowd but I have allowed myself to develop in my own way this year instead of creating what I think I should.

I find that when I start something new to me I try to follow the flock, do what I think is the ‘correct’ method.  This didn’t work for me when I started art journaling and even pages I made a few months ago are not at all ‘me’, they are just me ‘doing as I am told’, or doing what I think is ‘art journaling’.

My turning point was a book called Make your own Ideabook with Arne and Carlos which is full of ideas for what to put in your book as well as how to make the book from scratch. I borrowed it from the library a ton of times and eventually bought it because it was useful to me in terms of inspiration and instruction. When I took the book binding class through Get Messy, that was revolutionary!  I felt as though someone had opened the door, making sketchbooks of my own was the best thing (still is!).

As I started to make my own books with papers I had chosen and covers I had retrieved from thrift shops and library sale carts, the art I was making inside became more my own.  I stopped jamming in magazine images and trying to find quotes and I started to make my own images (I rarely use quotes or any writing). My mindset shifted to make these books more art journals and less art journals as I don’t journal in them, I use them to experiment, record and practice my art making.

The focus for my journals is practice and technique discovery. I love that they are a place to try new paper, ephemera and media, stick stuff in when I want to – yes, I do still jam magazine cuttings in but not because I think I should because I know I love the image and I want to keep it as a record in my journal.

Sometimes I will strive towards a complete page or spread, or I will also happily make some sketches to practice faces or plants to get some ideas.

What I am saying is that I love my art journal deeply and more so now I am starting to find a way with a style and method of my own.  Also practice, and more practice!

Do you make art? Where? Handmade books? Sketchbooks? Big or small books?  I want to know it all!

Happy happy Wednesday!




  1. One of the things I adore about you is that you are your own cat.
    You are inspirational! Creatives like you gives the rest of us that quiet nod to be free flowing and go with what feels good…. art it up like no one is watching.

    I’m definitely of the ‘handmade journal’ variety in preference. I have used store bought at times but they always seem too precious, too clean and make me a bit anxious. Blank page anxiety, maybe because I distress pretty much everything.

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