art is long and life is short so why do we compare ourselves to others

“...Pick up this colour, put this little circle of paint here, write this over the top with this stencil…”

Is it just me or does nearly everyone have the same STYLE in their art journals at the moment? Same colours, supplies, stencils (Urgh! I despise stencils) same lettering...and on and on I go.

It really rattles my cage and actually saddens me when I see artwork and journal pages that are carbon copies of another.

Don’t get me wrong I think it’s great that there are so many tutorials online now and that art and creativity has become popular and more accessible BUT wouldn’t it be EVEN BETTER if you could learn how to take these techniques and infuse YOU into them. If they weren’t just step by step tutorials but encouraged you to play in the process of creating, to break the rules and weave YOUR story into your pages?

I believe that there are two approaches to making art and art journaling.

1. You can make it to look pretty, to get validation or praise from others


2. you can make art for you, for the process, to release and to untangle your truths and explore and take risks….


It’s a no brainer to me.

Because art is long and life is short. Your art journals will be around a long time after you’re gone; imagine future generations flicking through those pages one day, imagine if they told your story, exposed snippets of your hopes and dreams, what if they could read your nuggets of wisdom, how special that could be.  

Life is too short to copy others; connect with yourself, forge your own path, tell your own story. I urge you to play in your journal, take risks and make mistakes, discover your own style along the way.

I remember when I first started art college my tutor asked me, what would you do if you left your sketchbook on the bus? My reply was something along the lines of, oh just call the bus company and see if they have it or buy a new one. It was no big deal, I just had some drawings in there that ‘I had to do for my course’. Fast forward to 6 months later and I was starting to find my way, my sketchbook held everything important to me. Things I’d collected, notes to myself about ideas to explore, they were fat and bursting at the seams, I was squeezing so much in because I didn’t want to start a new one. I was attached to THIS book. My tutor picked it up one day and asked me again how I’d feel if I left it on the bus one day - I’d be devastated!

art journals

That book was a part of me. I wasn’t just learning new skills and techniques for the sake of it, I wasn’t just creating art for the sake of creating art, I was learning and growing in the process. I realised then that I was documenting my life and making sense of it as it unfolded.

And THAT IS THE VALUE of true art journaling.

I urge you to STOP COMPARING your art to anyone else.

I urge you to SAY NO to pretty spreads.

I urge you to BIN THE STENCILS

I urge you to RESIST being a copycat

I urge you to make your art journal an extension of YOUR LIFE.

In both art and everyday life, stop comparing yourself to others - be a voice not an echo.