Dawn DeVries Sokol



Yesterday, I received this email from a reader who’s a little overwhelmed by NaNoJouMo:

Oh my gosh, I feel so intimidated w/this class already. I was up early taking my husband to the N.O. airport, sidetracked at Tanger Outlet mall on the way home, daughter had appt, then dinner, kids baths, kids bedtime and downtime to read the prompt and check out the flicker pages. 

I love these art pages and don't know how to begin on making those beautiful backgrounds. I now have a headache. I feel so not an artist and so clueless. I want to learn so badly to make these types of pages and need some help getting started. I have all kinds of supplies just not even sure what to start w/to create the actual page pretty. Any suggestions?

anything would be appreciated to get started....

First of all, BREATHE. It’s not life or death. It’s art journaling. And if you’re just starting out you are being REALLY hard on yourself. Yes, we all want to make beautiful art journal pages! But that shouldn’t be the intention. What we should worry about is getting into that journal and making any mark, pasting in any ephemera, doing whatever we’re capable of doing. It’s not a contest. There are no judgments here. NaNoJouMo isn’t a class, it’s just a yearly event where I post prompts to inspire you to art journal, even if that is just a scribble.

The great thing about art journaling is there are no rules. And at first, that can be overwhelming. But you have to free your mind and allow yourself to make ugly pages. I still make pages I HATE. We all do. If you start out by wanting so desperately to make “beautiful” pages, you’ll never bring yourself to art journal. I did that for a while myself. Now, I don’t care what my pages look like. (And I never complete a page in one sitting. Some pages take months to finish.) It doesn’t matter. I’m art journaling, I’m creating...THAT’S what matters.

So, just look at the prompt, and think about it. What comes to mind? Doodle, collage, paint a little. If you’re really worried about where to start, may I make a shamless self-promotion attempt and suggest my DVD workshop, Art Journaling: Pages in Stages. (There are periodic sales on the download, too, you just have to watch for them...) You can buy it as a download so you can start right away. It breaks the page-building process down into stages to allow you to journal worry-free.

Again, breathe, and just enjoy the process of creating. NaNoJouMo isn’t meant to put undue pressure on you. If it is, you need to take a step back and think about why you want to art journal. It shouldn’t be to make pages that you think everyone will ooh and aahh over. Art journaling is for YOU, and you only. Art journal FOR YOU. Enjoy the process.