The Power of the Art Journal

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I love journaling. For the past few years I've been keeping up with yearly Moleskines and it's been incredibly therapeutic for me. I fill the blank white pages with all sorts of artsy spreads over the course of 12 months, and by the end of the year I always have a lot of beautiful memories to look back on. 

Obviously journaling has changed a lot in recent years. Today it's more about making art than about keeping a written diary like when I was growing up. As great as it is to write down your day-to-day life in a journal, it's much more fun and easy to just paste things and doodle. However, I think art journaling can be just as personal and memorable as writing down your thoughts. Many of the spreads I make rely on how I'm feeling at a certain time during the year, so even if I'm not telling my future self exactly what I was doing on February 17th, 2018, I can know what songs I was listening to or what movies I had just seen. (For the record, it's "I'm Ready" by AJR + Black Panther.)

In 2018 I've been focusing a lot more on making a journal of which I'm proud to show off. I've done flip-throughs of both my 2016 + 2017 journals, but for both of those I ended up giving up for part of the year. This year I want to consistently create content I love that reflects my life and who I am becoming. I've done a lot more collaging than I did in the past, and I'm super proud of what I've made so far.

If you're looking for some quick tips on how to keep up with journaling, check them out below!


A lot of people ask me what are my "rules" for my art journal, and I definitely have some, but I don't like feeling restricted when making art. It's your art, so you have to make your own decisions about how you make it. For instance, I don't make to-do lists in my art journals & I use mine as more of a scrapbook than anything. I don't usually put in a lot of photos, but I like to make each page a piece of art rather than just scribbling random things in the margins.


It can be scary starting a journal because you don't want to make any mistakes or mess up. My Moleskines are all over 100 pages (and I try to use both sides of each page), so I have to decorate a lot of blank pages. Thus, it's no surprise that I make some ugly art and some beautiful mistakes. Once you accept that you won't love every single page, it makes it easier to get started.


One of the most difficult parts of art journaling is that it's easy to lack inspiration and feel stuck. I am giving you permission right now to use your favorite artists and journalers as your muse. My favorite thing to do when I'm at a loss for ideas is to check out Pinterest or Tumblr and try mimicking another artist's style. Obviously you shouldn't plagiarize things, but as long as you tailor it to your interests and credit the artist, it's healthy to test out other people's ideas!


I know it seems ridiculous to buy art supplies as an adult, but it's so worth it! Whether that's markers or pens or even just a printer with some nice color ink (it's expensive yikes), you will be much happier making art if you have the right tools to make it. Here's a list of some of my journaling essentials!

  • Brush pens (Tombow brand)
  • Pilot pens (the clicky kind)
  • 4-5 random magazines
  • Scissors
  • Wrinkle-free glue stick
  • Printer + colored ink
  • Watercolor palette + brush (the kind that has water in the brush handle)

5 People Who Inspire Me

Early last summer Oh Wonder dropped a new album and on that album is a song called "High on Humans." The song is about how Josephine is fascinated by humans and how one-on-one conversations can be super uplifting and inspiring. Humans are pretty incredible, and there are a few I've been focusing on recently to give me a daily dose of inspiration. Some of these people are famous, some of them are not, but all of them make me want to change my life and become a new person.


Lucy Moon | Youtuber

A few months ago I found Lucy's channel and she's kind of well known in the YouTube community. She mostly makes chatty videos about her life & her interests, but I originally found her because of her weekly vlogs. Lucy has an great sense of style and she's very intelligent. Her main impact has been on my clothing and home decor - now I am working on curating a capsule wardrobe (cohesive, consistent) and little ways to change up how my room looks. We're the same age, but I find her so calming and knowledgable!


Taylor Swift | Singer/Songwriter

Listen, you can rag on me all you want, but Taylor is a huge inspiration in my life on so many levels. We could talk about her inspiring me to play the guitar or write songs or wear red lipstick, but right now she's inspiring me to take control of my life. Coming back to the world after her disappearance it has shown me that I need to find myself and I need to learn to live in that freedom. She's become so incredibly confident and sure of herself, and even though I am fairly confident, I know I need to work on a few things. She has given me the courage to embrace who I am, but also to change into the person I know I could and should be.


Jack Antonoff | Songwriter/Producer

This man has become such a huge part of my life within the past two years, and I don't know what it would be without his influence. He helped pen and produce a number of my favorite songs, mainly because he's friends with my favorite person, but he is an inspiration in and of himself. Jack's music, specifically his lyrics, speak to me in a way that no one else's does, even Taylor. The way he talks about mental health and grief and living life is so relatable and honest, and I feel like he is a kindred spirit. He has given me so much freedom through his songs and his words, and he inspires me to get better.


Hailee Bartz | Instagrammer

Friends can be inspirations too, you know. Hailee has become one of my best online friends in the past year, and I don't know what I'd do without her. We talk about all kinds of things - superheroes, Taylor Swift, Star Wars - but she is so much more than a person I can talk to. Hailee inspires me through her instagram feed and content creation all the time. She has such an eye for creativity, whether that be photos or journal pages or composition in general, and I love seeing what she makes. I aspire to make art like she does, and I cannot wait to get to collaborate with her in 2018!


Jayda Iye | Photographer

It might surprise you to know, but Jayda is only 18! We met at Bumble Biz event a few weeks ago, and ever since then she's been inspiring me through her photos. This girl is such a light - any time you hang out with her, she will put a smile on your face. Her photos are so inspirational to me because they're so bright and full of life. I love seeing what she's working on, whether that be portrait shoots or lifestyle shoots. Whenever I need some new ideas, I head over to Jay's side of the internet and I get a boost of creativity!


This year marks the fifth year of my freelance photo business. I started taking photos (semi) professionally in 2012 when I was a senior in high school, and since then I have done hundreds (thousands maybe?) of photoshoots and videoshoots for various friends and clients. I have a long way to go before I can freelance full time as a career, but right now I'm incredibly proud of what I've accomplished, especially over the course of 2017. 

When I started this year, I was finishing my senior year of college. I graduated in the spring, and since then I've been working a part-time photo job for about six months. I got my first website this year, and I started working more heavily on finding my exact photo style. 12 months later, I think I've finally come to understand what I want to do and how I want to showcase my photo abilities. I want to take more portraits, but I also want to focus more on social media content - for others, but also for myself. Looking into the new year I want to seek out more clients that I can build relationships with, who I can help grow while also growing myself. 

To all of you who have read my shoddy text posts and liked my obsessive posts on Instagram this year - thank you. It means the world to me that you continue to support my business - whether that's in hiring me or admiring me from afar. I'm looking forward to an exciting 2018 and I hope I can be more consistent to all of you in the new year!

Here's my year in photos!

And if you want to see an even longer post, here's one I did on my Blogspot...