Gosh, I think we’re all kinda glad now that January is over.. It really felt like it dragged on so much and since the evenings are still super dark and the weather has been crap, it’s generally had a very grey and murky vibe. Despite this I like to think that I had a somewhat productive month! I was able to work on some amazing branding projects for some gorgeous bloggers, I sold more prints than I anticipated (it’s the quietest month for sales!), AND I’ve been super busy with my art journal project! Phew~! I’m so excited now that February is here, for some reason it’s one of my favourite months and I always look forward to it coming around. This month I want to maintain my recent bout of productivity by implementing some goals for myself! It’s nothing particularly ground-breaking but sometimes you just have to sit down and think what your perfect day would look like, then strive towards that! I’ve been on a bit of a self-care kick lately so trying to work towards my best possible life has been something on my mind! Anyway I’ve rambled enough.. Here are the five goals that I would like to accomplish this month!

 

1 : ART JOURNAL AT LEAST EVERY OTHER DAY

You can read about some of my thoughts regarding art journaling, plus some tips here! But basically I’ve been reaping some amazing rewards since taking on a serious art journal practice, including improvement in all my other art & design projects, and increased engagement on Instagram! I really want to continue with this through to this month just so I can see how far I can push it and myself.

 

2 : WAKE UP EARLIER

Me and mornings have NEVER got along.. You could ask anyone in my family and they would tell you that I would much rather work until 2AM/3AM than get up at a respectable time in the morning. Well, after years and years of struggling I think I am on my way to cracking it! I’m not sure if its just the sheer will power or the added benefits I notice when I do get up early that are spurring me on, but lately I’ve been getting up around 7AM/8AM everyday. Now, I know some people may scoff at that and I know that it’s not early compared to some people but it’s a lot earlier than my “normal” time so I’m taking the improvement and planning to run with it into February!

 

3 : GO FOR A WALK AT LEAST TWICE A WEEK

Recently I discovered this gorgeous little woods that leads out right onto Salisbury Plain and the best part is it’s literally a two minute walk from my front door! I have no idea how it’s taken me a whole year to find it.. oh wait it’s probably because I’m a hermit whose scared of social interaction BUT I’ve found my wonderland now and its close and quiet, aka perfect! I’ve loved walking my pupper across the plains but would quite like to step up the number of walks we do, especially since the weather will hopefully be improving soon! If this works out then fingers crossed I can up my goal again in future months!

 

4 : WRITE ONE THING I AM GRATEFUL FOR EVERYDAY

It doesn’t take a lot for me to get down in the dumps. I start mentally listing all the things in my life that I’m not happy with and generally end up being quite the misery-pants if I don’t keep myself in check. I’ve tried out writing a gratitude list every once in a while and I’ve found it to be seriously helpful for me to realise how LUCKY and BLESSED I truly am. It’s honestly a game changer when I’m having a down day, so to combat any potential down days in February I’ve decided to keep a gratitude list all month. I’m already looking forward to reading back through it when I’m finished!

 

5 : PULL A CARD EVERYDAY

Aah, something I love but always end up not making enough time for.. NOT ANYMORE! I will be pulling a card from either a Tarot or Oracle deck everyday this month for guidance! On the days I do pull a card I always feel way more connected and grounded, and I just love having a little magical moment at the start of my day. I’m going to be making time for this every morning now, just like I do to put on my makeup and do my hair, this is just going to be another step to readying myself for the day.

 

 

Do you set yourself monthly goals? Do you have any particular goals for this month?

Over the last month I have fallen completely head-over-heels in love with art journaling! It has become my go-to art practice for most evenings because I find the process super therapeutic and relaxing. I adore sitting at my desk while playing some of my favourite songs or listening to podcasts, and just prepping the background of a spread, or cutting out the elements I would like to use. It almost becomes meditative. Of course there are moments that are less than sweet, like the colours in a spread not working together or making a mistake with the paint and ink! I don’t shy away from these moments though, because the reason I started art journaling in the first place was as a way to practice my creative thinking! When things go wrong then it is a perfect time for the creative brain to kick into action and start thinking how I can fix the problem or work around the problem. By practicing I can already see how it has effected the rest of my art & design work. My work looks and feels more cohesive, and I am able to think of creative solutions a lot faster. Needless to say, art journaling has really helped me in developing my creative practice and I would like to offer you five tips that I have learnt the hard way, so you can get a head start in art journaling if you desire!

 

TIP 1 : DON’T LIKE SOMETHING? COVER IT UP!

This tip is quite simple but I use it A LOT. When I’ve messed up a background or accidentally spilled some ink, rather than stress about it, I just cover it up with some book pages or something of the like and no one needs to know! You can then adjust your spread to incorporate this new background to keep it looking cohesive. I adore this tip because it takes off a lot of the pressure to create something amazing or pristine, you can experiment freely while knowing that you can always cover up the bits you don’t like!

I’m a big fan of the phrase “done is better than perfect” so my spreads are far from perfect, but I love that! I love how I can see my pages improve over time by just being able to make as many of them as I can. Another phrase I like is “create for the sake of creating” which ties in with practicing creative thinking and just getting it done without needing an amazing outcome. Even if you hate what you just made, you still made something and I’m sure you’ll be able to tell why you hate it, so you then know how to improve next time!

 

TIP 2 : USE PHYSICAL AND DIGITAL RULERS!

I use a mixture of found images from magazines and printed out images that I find online to create my collage spreads. This tip applies more so to the printed ones. Basically when you’ve collected all the images you wish to print for a spread it can be hard to tell how big or small they’re gonna be in comparison with your physical pages. I’ve learnt that by putting the images you wish to use into a word processor document and activating the digital rulers (usually CTRL+R on Windows or CMD+R on Mac) I can then get a bit of context to the size of the images. To take it a step further, I use a physical ruler to measure out how big I want the graphics to be on the page and then match them to the ruler in the word processor. That way I have full control over the size of my collage illustrations!

 

 

TIP 3 : BE AWARE OF PAINT FINISHES!

If using acrylic paint as a background, be wary of its finish. Metallic paints can dry with a slightly glossy finish which can cause your pen illustrations to smear if they’re not given enough time to dry. I find most acrylic paint to be lovely to work on top of though, so most of the time it’s fine! What you can do is keep a test sheet or a test spread at the back of your journal to keep paint swatches with different pen strokes on top to see how they react.

 

TIP 4 : PRINTER PAPER WRINKLES SUPER EASILY!

If you’re like me and like to print out most of the illustrations you use, then a way to cut down on the cost of printing is to use cheap printer paper as opposed to thicker and more expensive papers. However one of the downsides to this is that the thinner paper cannot hold a lot of water, or any water really! As soon as it gets even a little bit wet the paper will wrinkle and the ink will run or bleed. If using cheap paper then you need to be aware of this when creating your spreads. Only stick the illustrations into position when all the paint is dry, and try not to paint over them. Of course if you are after a wrinkled or ink bleed look, then disregard all this and just go for it!

 

 

TIP 5 : ONLY USE A FEW COLOURS!

This is how I like to create a cohesive looking spread! The less colours you use, the more striking it will look! The more colours you use, the more busy or muddled it will appear. There are pros and cons to both approaches when it comes to your art journal, perhaps you want a busy spread to represent how busy your mind feels that day! They do say rules are meant to be broken, and although I would hardly call these tips rules (Heck, I’m not the queen of art journaling!), but keeping this in mind while creating your spread can allow you to use it purposefully and with added effect!

 

 

I hope that was interesting or at least helpful to anyone who keeps an art journal or anyone who would like to start! Of course like I said in the last tip, these are not rules by any stretch of the imagination and I’m not trying to dictate what your own spreads should look like! This is just how I work and some tips that I have found helpful to keep in mind during the creation process. If you have any more questions then leave them in the comments below and I will try my best to answer them if I can!