how to trick your inner perfectionist {and become an art journalist}

"If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow."
Louis L’Amour

A variety of wicked tricks to psych out your inner perfectionist so you can spend more time creating art. Trust that with practice and experimentation you will become more confident and comfy about your art journal work.

grab an idea and break through the fear of the blank page.

  1. Loosen up with a creative prompt. Prompts are fun constraints, little challenges that spark ideas and get you started.
  2. Start a collection of phrases & images from magazines and glue them into a simple bound journal. See Prompt60 #1: Start a Documentation Journal
  3. Switch over to a simple, inexpensive journal rather than the gorgeous leather-bound, monogrammed italian journal. Simple is good. I bet you'll "jump in" faster when the paper or journal is not precious. 
  4. Give your journal a fun name to remind yourself that it's about the process not the end result. You can call her "Claire" or "The Test Journal" or something that inspires you to play rather than debate with yourself about what to do. 
  5. Reframe your journal as a spot for testing, practice and experimentation. 
  6. Start your own 365 Somethings Project, where you build a collection of 365, well, somethings. The more you create, the more ideas you'll have! 
  7. Read The Creative License by Danny Gregory. 
  8. When in doubt, make a list. It's an automatic topic-generator and often the easiest way to start a journal page! Embellish the list with paint, markers, washi tape, anything within reach of your art space.
  9. If a bound journal stresses you out, try using loose sheets of heavy white card stock or watercolor paper or even a cardboard cereal box as a base for collage.
  10. Try working on simple office supplies - index cards! Each year, I host a fantastic challenge called Index-Card-a-Day where we just create for the joy of creating.... on index cards! See 50 Things You Can Create on an Index Card.
  11. Use your art journal to make a color chart for one type of art material. See Prompt60 #22 for an example with india inks. You can do this with almost any art material.
  12. Paint art journal pages that you might consider backgrounds and let them be. Revisit your thoughts about when a page is actually finished vs. in-progress.
  13. Get started at Art Journaling 101 {free}.

Get Zine #16: Getting Unstuck

More ideas for getting unstuck, for thinking about your art process from a bigger picture perspective, for learning how to just play!