It’s a total cliché, but I’ve loved making art since I was old enough to hold crayons. I had dreams of going to “art school” in my teens (even though I didn’t really know what that meant) and all I secretly wanted was to be an artist.
However, I went to a school where there was no real art teachers and sport was championed above all else, so there was little chance of anything like that happening!
I could have continued so-called art classes from the age of 15, but I opted for French and Geography instead because I was told I would benefit more from those subjects.
Still, I spent all of my free time drawing cartoons and comic strips, dreaming of running away and becoming a successful artist.
Somewhere around age 18, I convinced myself that what I was making was no good, and if I wasn’t going to be a professional “real” artist, there wasn’t any point. I went through a period of about four years where I didn’t make any art at all. During that time, I went to University and felt like I lost myself and my creativity.
In 2009, towards the end of my final year, I was going through a tough time and decided I needed an outlet for my stress. I started making little collages out of junk mail and it was amazing how much it lifted my mood and helped me relax. This eventually led me to discover art journaling, which completely changed my life and has made me a much happier person.
Around the time I started creating again, I received these cards in the mail (I think they were free passes to museums at the time) and they now serve as a reminder to me that I should never be without art:
Continuing my project, writing letters to my 18-year-old self, and using the second page of the Story Journal, I decided to create a page about what I wish someone had said to me when I was thinking about quitting making art.
I started with cutting up some of the ALP Patterned Paper Pack into 1 inch strips, with some other patterned paper from my collage stash.
I then made a fun arty mess over the top of the paper using high flow acrylics and I glued down the paper towels I used to clean up the mess/excess paint.
One of the things I love about the Story Journal is how perfectly it holds the heavy mixed media I like to use!
I then added words and some crafty doodles around the letter to my younger self.
I think this is such an important message for any aspiring artist or creative person.
Keep making art.
Even if no one sees it, even if no one likes it and even if it sucks at first. If it’s something that makes you happy and improves your life – keep doing it!
As a side note: I do, however, recommend sharing your work with the wonderful art journaling/scrapbooking communities. They are the most welcoming and encouraging communities around. I guarantee there will always be someone out there that likes and relates to your art.
Even if you’re not satisfied with what you make at first, try to push through.
The more you make, the more you will improve!