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.


Whether you want to call it an art journal, visual diary, sketchbook, daily journal, they are all one of the same. I like to think of my art journal as a vessel to contain those parts that spill over the edges of life and often get lost in the busy and the chaos.

an art journal is the perfect vessel to contain it all. 

Over time your art journal becomes a safe place and a guiding post. A place to explore, to take risks, a place where the creative and the emotional sides of you collide with beautiful results.

I choose to use my art journal as a place to collect and to record life as it happens. It can contain paintings, photos, scribbles, poems, magazine cutouts, mixed media collage, fabric scraps, trinkets. 

If there is one thing I want you to know about art journaling it is this THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO ART JOURNAL.

Please don't put pressure on yourself to create the perfect journal, it is always a work in progress. It is much more about the process and what you feel and experience during it than the end result.

I truly believe that creativity is the most personal and honest remedy to the inner and outer chaos we come across at unexpected times in our life. And that self care lives in the layers of paint and mark making.

There are hidden benefits that emerge from an art journaling practice and these are the self care and wellbeing elements that are tricky to pinpoint but are always underlying.

The process of creating allows you to push your boundaries and take risks in a safe place, you learn so much about your story and your needs that you learn to look at yourself with kind eyes. Through making mistakes and experimenting with new techniques comes the skill of surrendering control and learning that you can’t always control the outcome. The best part is that they become your memory keepers in a way that nothing else can because throughout the journey it encourages you to look deeper into the world around you, trying to find all the beauty you can to document.

In my course Art YOUR Heart Out: Art Journaling as a self care tool, we dive much deeper into this topic. If you want to learn more and get on the wait list for enrolment (as well as be in line for free training and goodies) you can do that now.