My Art Journal Journey
Everyone loves an origin story, right? Like how Batman became Batman, how you learned how to make the perfect pie, how you ended up in your chosen career, or how you met your significant other and became a thing.
This post is for posterity, mostly for my own documentation in recording my history. I started “officially” art journaling in February 2015, but my art journaling story begins years before that
I’ve always been creative and from a young age I put down “artist” as my lifelong career goal. That goal took a lot of different forms over the years, even going so far as to being accepted into an art school in Vancouver. Life doesn’t turn out how you planned and I ended up not attending, but in return I married the love of my life and started a fantastic life together. About a year after getting married (maybe less) I somehow ended up buying a copy of The Journal Junkies Workshop: Visual Ammunition for the Art Addict. After choosing to not attend art school, I was dying for finding a new way to create and express myself outside the constructs of typical art (paintings, drawings, etc) I had spent 6 months working religiously on completing my portfolio for submission and was burnt out on large scale projects. The idea of art journaling appealed to me as I have always been a voracious journaler, and it appealed to my need for visual stimulation.
I started by following a lot of the techniques in the above book, which resulted in some interesting pages that were a bit chaotic and lacking direction.
My pages when I started all those years ago were a lot more dark/angry, especially compared to pages I create now. I struggle with depression and have from a young age, and I used my art journal pages as a way to work out those feelings. It was a venue to express thoughts that I wouldn’t otherwise feel permitted to write down. I did these for a few months and then fell out of it. Not really sure why, but I stopped art journaling in lieu of other creative ventures. It was a year or so later I discovered crafting, which was something that was new to me as I had always stuck within the “art” category of creating.
This discovery lead to a few year venture into gluing, felt, wreaths, paper cutting, etc etc. Which was so fun. I then soon latched onto sewing and immersed myself in it as my only hobby for about a year or more.
I sewed my first quilt, sewed endless clothes for my girls, sewed baby blankets, mug rugs, made myself a few tops, etc. The last major sewing project I finished was quilting Christmas stockings for my family of 4. They are precious, and beautiful, and I am so glad we have them. But it sort of burnt me out (I was sewing like a crazy person a week before Christmas to get them done on time) and I put my sewing machine away for a while. I still love sewing and find satisfactin in making something myself, but I haven’t done any “real” projects since last December!
My first and likely last quilt I will likely ever make.
Part of my reasons for moving away from crafting was the New Year’s goals I set for 2015. One of them was to learn calligraphy. I took on this goal with great enthusiasm and practiced regularly and really enjoyed it. I found a new creative path away from sewing and found that it was exciting and challenging at the same time.
Now, how I came about to Get Messy was completely by chance, actually. I started following Vanessa of Dans Mon Crâne on Instagram at some point in the new year. I was into her IG for whatever reasons (probably because she’s amazing in so many ways) and by fate, she posted that Get Messy was giving away a membership to the 2015 new format.
I thought it sounded cool – hey, art journaling! that looks super fun – and threw my name in the hat for a chance. And I won. I don’t think I even fully understood what Get Messy all involved, but I was excited nonetheless.
That was January 2015 and everything changed. I grabbed the old art journal I hadn’t touched in nearly 4 years, dug out my old art supplies and decided I was IN. And I made my first pages for Get Messy in February.
I made pages, and made pages, and made pages. I sort of stopped for a whole season (I think it was Brave) because I’m the kind of person who NEEDS commitment and deadlines or I will forever put it off. Caylee made a call to commit to posting our pages every Thursday for those who wanted accountability and that was a game changing decision for me. The commitment to show up and create to meet a deadline is what got me creating on nearly a daily basis. It got me from talking about being creative to actually BEING creative again. And in turn, my weekly commitment led to connecting with other members in GM and they have been the biggest impact in my life in huge ways. These women have become my friends, my creative tribe, my personal cheerleading squad. When I was building up Fox & Hazel, they were my support system when I had no idea what I was doing; and then they were my biggest cheerleaders when I launched. They have nothing to offer but support & love for every single member. The amount of kindness, support, encouragement and overall love that this community gives is mind blowing. It’s amazing and significant.
Choosing to art journal and to do so with a community of like-minded women has been a real turning point in my creative journey. I’m trying new techniques, new styles, new ideas every week thanks to the group. I’m dreaming big and have started taking action on my dreams, some of them life long ones. I will never not art journal again in my life, barring some physical restriction. Even then, I will art journal with whatever body part I need to do so.
After being heavily involved with the GM community for the last 8 months, I’ve been chosen to join the Get Messy Creative Team. I’m joining an incredibly talented group of women who all love art journaling and love community. This seemed like the next logical step in my art journaling journey and I could not be more excited about it. I love creating, but I think I love showing others they can be creative almost a little bit more. I love seeing people grow, try new things, find success, learn from failure, and everything in between. I’m excited for the upcoming year and being even more involved in this awesome art journaling community.
If you are wanting to get started, then please come be a part of our community. You don’t need to be artistic at ALL. Many, many, many of the GM tribe are not self-described “artists” and that is okay!
Being creative does not mean you have to be artistic.
Creativity manifests in so many different ones that you don’t need to feel held back by your lack of “artistic talent.” We want you in the tribe. We want to encourage you, help you, support you. I truly believe in the core of my soul that every last person is creative. It’s a matter of finding the outlet for that creativity.
Art journaling is freeing and liberating because there are no rules. Whatever, however you want to create in your journal is fair game. When I’m working on other projects that have set restrictions, I find myself going back to my art journal to allow myself to be free with whatever I want to create. That freedom is available to anyone who just decides to give it a try.
If you want to know more about Get Messy, or even join us for 2016 (you absolutely should.) then head to the Get Messy blog to learn more and to get involved.
If you want to get to know the Get Messy Creative Team better and find out how each of them also started art journaling, click on their respective links to read their creative journey. Each one is totally different and completely amazing.
Thanks for sticking with this very, very word-heavy post 😉