Principles of The Artist’s Way

Principles of The Artist's Way |

I was first introduced to The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron by my mom 15+ years ago and it changed my life in many ways.  This may sound a little dramatic but it’s true.

Principles of The Artist's Way |

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

I’ve found that this is a book that people either really love or really hate, with very few in between. It IS a book on spirituality, so if that’s not your thing, you may not like it.  And many religious (and very non-religious) people think it’s just new age malarky (pretty sure those are the exact words). But if you’re interested on exploring how to tap into your creative self, I suggest you give it a try. I think it is written ambiguously enough that it could fit into almost any personal belief system.

One more side note.  I think the title itself is a little deceptive, only because, when someone says “artist,” immediately many people think painter or sculptor or maybe a writer. Her basic premise is that everyone is creative at their very core.  So I really do think that many of the ideas in this book is applicable to everyone from architect to accountant. Your mileage may vary.

There are 12 principles of The Artist’s Way.  I have them written in my bullet journal in a simple list, but I wanted to create a prettier presentation, so I’m attempting to channel @decadethirty and put each of the principles into something much nicer to look at (although, I’m much messier than she is, mine are more like scribbles rather than little pieces of art!).

Anyway, here is the first principle:

Principles of The Artist's Way |

Do you have any thoughts about this principle? I’ve been thinking about this recently but I don’t have anything really profound to share at the moment.

I will continue to draw out the other 11 principles throughout the coming weeks.

Beyond these principles, and, honestly, what I feel to be the most important part of The Artist’s Way are the following two practices, and I do believe these can be life changing.

Morning pages
The first practice is doing morning pages, every day, first thing in the morning.  This consists of writing out, by hand, 3 pages worth of, well, anything that comes to mind.

This isn’t great literature, this isn’t even journaling.  It’s a brain dump of anything that comes out of your head and onto your paper.  It’s not for anyone else to read and it may not be for you to ever read again.  It’s just a general stream of consciousness coming out of you.  It may bring absolutely nothing of consequence or it may bring up emotions to the surface that are difficult to deal with, but the point is that you’re getting it out of your mind.

I kept morning pages in a cheap composition notebook consistently for about a year, filling 2 1/2 of those notebooks.  I think the power is that it enables you to empty your mind of stuff you don’t need to be there, and leaves room for other, more productive thoughts. Any time I feel creatively blocked, I return to doing morning pages again.

**I read recently that Rivers Cuomo, of the band Weezer, writes morning pages.

This is definitely NOT something I would recommend doing in your bullet journal, at least not the full 3 pages worth every morning, since it would take up too much space.  Like I said, I used cheap, comp books when I did it and I don’t think I’ve read them since.

Artist Dates
The second practice is taking yourself on an artist date. This isn’t anything really elaborate, in fact, the simpler, the better. I believe she considers it to basically be tapping into your inner child, but it doesn’t have to be silly either.  Unless, that’s something YOU want to do.

An artist date could be walking through an antique store, just window shopping.  Or buying a brand new coloring book and a box of crayons and sitting in a park, coloring. It’s something that feeds your creative soul in a very simple way.

I stole this list from this blog, and there are 81 more ideas there for what you can do on an artist date:

  1. Visit an artist’s supply shop.
  2. Spend some time outdoors with your journal, sketchbook, craft supplies, etc.
  3. Go for a walk, and take your camera with you to document the experience.
  4. Stop by the library, and check out some CDs.
  5. Set a timer, and spend an hour working on something you’ve been putting off.
  6. Create an artist’s workspace in your home.
  7. See an Oscar-nominated movie or a foreign film.
  8. If you don’t have an artist’s blog, start one.
  9. Visit a “creative” shop that has nothing to do with what you actually do–an art supply store, a fabric shop, a music store.
  10. Grab a stack of magazines, and clip whatever looks interesting or cool to create your own inspiration board.
  11. Support the local arts scene. Go to a local festival, music event, art show, play, museum exhibit, etc.
  12. Plant something. Start your own herb garden. Butterfly garden. Plant a tomato or some bulbs. Try a “guerilla garden,” and scatter seeds randomly somewhere to see what grows.
  13. Spend an hour going through your books. Pick ten to read or re-read and ten to donate to charity.
  14. Go to a thrift store. Give yourself $5 to spend and find something really great that you can do something creative with.
  15. Take a walk on a nature trail. Take your camera.
  16. Write a letter – longhand, on pretty paper – to an old friend.
  17. Give yourself a beauty treatment – a cuticle treatment, a foot soak, exfoliation, hot oil treat, etc.
  18. Go sit at the pond and play in your sketchbook.
  19. Visit all of your childhood playhouse and fort sites.
  20. Sit in the driveway and make designs with pretty rocks. Sing campfire songs.

I think you could adapt many of these ideas to make them bullet journal related–Go to a park and creating mandala or zentangle pages.  Create a special space for you to work on your journal.  Buy one new pen that you’ve been wanting to write with.  There are many ways to incorporate these suggestions with your bullet journal.

Have any of you tried morning pages?  What was your result?  How about artist dates?  Do you have any suggestions that you’ve tried that aren’t listed?



Technique Tuesday–Basic Color Theory

Technique Tuesday--Basic Color Theory |

Today I want to delve a little into color theory and why it’s important to know.  And if this subject seems a little boring and dry, hopefully you’ll quickly see how this applies in most kind of artwork.

{If you still need convincing, and haven’t seen it yet, check out my time-lapse video on YouTube where I created this color wheel using just three primary colored pencils, red, yellow and blue. That’s excitement, right there, folks.}

I had no idea this was such a controversial topic.  I once had a science teacher argue with me, saying that primary colors consisted of red, yellow and green. I soon realized that we were talking about two very different things, he about science and biology, and I about the nature of pigment.  Besides, any school kid can tell you that blue+yellow=green, meaning green is a secondary color, not primary, so art>science.

Take THAT Science.  😉

So, why is this important to know when you’re using colored pencils?  If you think about the colors are next to each other on the color wheel, called analogous colors, you’ll know which colors blend the nicest, like the orange and magenta in the word “TECHNIQUE:”


Technique Tuesday--Basic Color Theory |

Analogous colors

Also, if you watch the Instagram video again, you can see that I used the primary colors to darken the secondary colors.  So, for example, when you’re adding shading to purple, instead of layering more of the same color, try using blue to create a richer shade of purple.  Or adding a soft layer of red to add shading to orange.

Colors opposite each other on the color wheel are called complimentary colors.  They usually don’t work well blended together, but create beautiful contrast in color schemes.

Technique Tuesday--Basic Color Theory |

Complimentary colors

Sports teams will often use complimentary colors in their uniforms to show strength and power, although some teams do use analogous colors in theirs for a much different effect (Go Seahawks!).


You can also create color schemes using two to three colors in a triad:

Technique Tuesday--Basic Color Theory |

Technique Tuesday--Basic Color Theory |

Most people don’t actual think about color theory when they’re using it, they just know it feels right.  Do you think about the colors you’re using before you put them on paper?  How do you use colors in your bullet journal?

Next week, I’ll go through a design from start to finish, showing a few of the techniques I’ve already mentioned.  🙂

Here’s a link to the Instagram video in case you missed it above.

Technique Tuesday--Basic Color Theory |




I Have a YouTube channel!

I have a YouTube Channel! |

Ok, to be honest, even though it’s technically called a channel, I only have one video on it so far, and it’s kind of awkward and shaky.  But, even though I was totally uncomfortable with the idea of making videos, I did one anyway, so go easy on me!  😉

I go through my whole bullet journal, almost page by page, including the boring, messy and mistake pages.  It’s kind of interesting to see the evolution of how I use my bullet journal and how it doesn’t have to be perfect to make you happy!

I can’t post videos directly on my blog yet, but you can check it out here:

Weekly Recap–What Worked, What Didn’t, What I’m Doing Next

My Weekly Recap--What Worked, What Didn't, What I'm Doing Next |
I’m pretty happy with the way last week’s spread worked out for me.  Even though I still didn’t do or track everything that I had put on there, it kept those things in front of me all week. I’m not ready to give up yet on my morning routine that I have down the middle of the left page, so I’m going to try another week of it.

Like I mentioned before, it only took a few minutes of putting posts into my little paper schedule before I realized I needed something a LOT more flexible. So that went digital.

Here’s this week’s spread with adjustments:

With the trackers embedded into my weekly spread, I lost the room I previously had at the bottom for a “next week” space, so I was able to but that on the other side this week. I totally forgot that I wanted to put my lunch meal plan on that side too, so I’ll probably divide the notes column in half and put it there.

All in all though, I’m really happy with the way this weekly spread is fitting into my life! Dare I say I’m getting dangerously close to bujo nirvana? 😉







How I Keep a Bullet Journal At Work

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work |

A conversation yesterday on Instagram had me thinking about the extreme differences between my personal and work bullet journals, so I thought I’d do a quick run through of the journal I use at work.

I work full-time away from home as a graphic designer and keep a separate journal specific to my job. While I may not be constrained as some are by privacy protocols to keep my planners separate, they are used for very different and distinct purposes, so it just makes sense. It’s definitely not as “pretty” as my personal bullet journal but I don’t have a lot of time to spend on that kind of thing at work.

We use Trello for workflow purposes, so between that and my Outlook calendar, it’s not really necessary to keep a ton of information in my notebook.  But I do like taking physical notes in meetings, and having a place to write a to-do list of things that may not be captured in the regular process. Also, just having an index to go back to is extremely helpful for finding those notes later.

I use a Fabriano spiral-bound, grid-lined EcoQua notebook that I found at our local Blick art store. The pages are thicker (85 g/m2) and have a much smoother feel than my Moleskine.  The grid lines are soft and not distracting at all.

***Note:  Do not use the Fabriano dotted gluebound notebooks, as the pages will literally fall out as you turn the page!

I usually end up using a Sharpie Pen at work instead of my nicer Pigma Micron pens.

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work |

I mentioned that I like the index feature to keep track of important thing that I may need to refer back to later.  I don’t use it a ton, but am glad to have it for the few things I need it for.

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work |

I included a future log but haven’t ended up using it that much over my Outlook calendar.  I do use a simple monthly page to outline the upcoming month.

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work |

I have experimented with several different daily/weekly formats and have found, for me, that this combination of a weekly column and a to-do list works best for me.

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work |

I put time or date sensitive items on the far left side.  Then I’ll keep a running to-do list in that right column.  On the right page, I’ll either keep notes from meetings or other information.

Sometimes, I’ll keep a running daily section on one side, one day at a time, using as much room as needed for each day.  I colored this one with highlighters because, obviously, office supplies=work, right?  😉

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work |

How I Keep a Bullet Journal at Work |

I wanted to show you a couple of my more random, real and messy pages because I really do believe that a bullet journal is more about being effective than it is about being pretty.  🙂

So tell me, how do you bujo at work?

PS–I’ve converted two of my co-workers to using a bullet journal so you never know who is going to appreciate this system!


Technique Tuesday–Basic Colored Pencil Tutorial

The Bullet Journal Addict Technique Tuesday

Technique Tuesday…catchy, huh?

I’ve had a few people ask me how I do certain things in my bullet journal, so I thought it would be fun to pick a technique each week and go over it.

For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to show some of the colored pencil techniques that I use.  I’ll lay it out step by step and try to share the tips I think are useful.

Today, I’m going to cover some very basic steps that I use. Next week, I’ll go into detail about how I layer colors for even more depth.

1. First of all, I sketch out my design in pencil, refining things until I get it right.  There is usually a LOT of erasing that goes on at this point.


2.  Then, I use my Pigma Micron to ink the outlines. The nib sizes I use the most are 03 (0.35 mm), 02 (0.30 mm), and 01 (0.25 mm).  I do have an 005 (0.20 mm) for very fine detail, but it often is too thin for most things.  My favorite size for most things in my bullet journal is the 02.

I ink the outlines at this point so I can erase the pencil lines after.  If I color everything in before I ink the design, I end up erasing a lot of of the color and the regular pencil will still show up under the colored pencil.


3.  Then, I’ll erase the pencil lines and try to clean up the inked-in lines where I can.


4.  I always start coloring with my lightest color, since it’s always easy to make something darker, but a lot harder to make something lighter.

For this one, I’m going to start with a light yellow-orange.  Make sure your pencil has a very sharp, fine edge.  I use a very light touch, always going in the same direction.


**Pro tip:  Rotate your pencil slightly every time you pick it up, to help the sharpness last longer.

For this bullet journal, I’m using simple Crayola colored pencils.  I have almost a full set of Prismacolor pencils, but I haven’t drug them all out yet, and probably won’t until I start a new bujo.

Since I’m going to blend it with another color, I’m only going about 2/3rds of the way down, making that middle section softer and fading away. This is only one soft layer of the yellow-orange to begin with.


5. Then I add a soft layer of the magenta, using the same technique and going up about 2/3rds of the way.


6. I’ll add another layer of the yellow-orange at the very top (about 1/4th of the way down) and another layer of magenta at the bottom (about 1/4th of the way up).  I’m still using a very light touch, it’s simply just another layer.


7. Next, I added regular orange to the very top and regular red to the very bottom. I’m still using the same light touch, the darker colors just help to add depth (the lighting in my photo is kind of wonky, but it’s not as blotchy on the right side in real life).



At this point, you could use a blending pencil to get it to the blend you’re happy with.

This is the kind that I have:


You can usually find it with the Prismacolor pencil display at your local art store or online here.

8. Next, I decided to add a little color to the banner itself so I used an aqua green for that.


9. Then I added a darker green-blue for deeper shading.


10. Then, finally, I used a deeper pine green only in the darkest areas to give even more depth. Again, you could take a blending pencil to it all to give it a smoother look if you want.


So that’s it!  It probably took longer to type this all out (and probably to read it too!) than it probably did to actually do it, so if it’s something that you’d like to add to your bullet journal, don’t think it’s not worth your time to try!

Now it’s your turn to suggest what kinds of things you’d like to see here on Technique Tuesday.  Share your ideas and questions in the comments!  🙂





Probably Obvious Tip #3

The Bullet Journal Addict Probably Obvious Tip #3

Yes, this is probably the most obvious tip yet, but I’m always amazed at how much cleaner lines are drawn with a ruler.  Ok, not surprised, but much happier with the result.

There’s definitely a time for freehand-drawn lines, and if that’s your thing, go for it.  I do both but, most of the time, even when I think I can manage a nice line between two dots, it’s like I’m suddenly drawing with my left hand (I’m right handed) and it goes all wonky.  It’s pathetic.

The set that I bought is very similar to this one:


I bought it at Office Max for under $5.  Of course, literally the second day of ownership, I lost the straight ruler and it still hasn’t turned up. However, the straight edges of the triangles are still perfect for drawing lines.  I have used the protractor for banners and things, but I end up using the straight edge for lines more than anything else.

Also, I recommend a clear set over an opaque one.  Maybe it’s completely psychological, but I think it’s very helpful to see the area you’re working with as you go.

Do you currently use a ruler?  Or do you think rulers are for wimps?  🙂


Do you have a morning routine?

I think I’ve come to terms with the idea that I am a morning person.  Not the bright, cheery kind of morning person that you want to strangle, but the kind of person that really likes being awake early. The problem is that I have a hard time doing the things I know I should do in the morning, like work out.

I have tried the Miracle Morning, but I stopped after about a month.  I just didn’t feel like it was for me. I felt like I just wanted to go back to sleep after I did it, instead of getting moving and on with my day.

So, when this article was posted in the Bullet Journal Junkies FB group, I liked the similar, simple approach and decided I would try it this coming week.  I also had to make a spread in my bullet journal, of course, to keep it front and center for me.

I’ve known for a while that the morning detox tea was good to have first thing, I just haven’t ever done it on a regular basis, so I replaced the article’s suggestion with that.


I’m also switching up my weekly spread this week too:


I use the far left side for time specific events and appointments and I decided to incorporate my tracker into each day.  The squares with the letters down the middle of the left page are for my new morning routine I outlined above:  (H)ydrate, (R)eflect, (B)reathe, (M)ove, and (D)irt dive.

I keep a running “to-do” list, so with that and the fact that I have a separate bullet journal for work, I really don’t have a need for dailies. I moved the to-do list to the second page, along with the month at a glance, notes section, and a newly added blog section.  I’m still figuring out how I’m going to divide that up.

Do you have an established morning routine that works for you?  What things do you do to help you start out your day?




My first controversial post

I’ve been blogging for less than a week and I’m already going to make a post that may be controversial but is most definitely very opinionated. I don’t want to seem critical or make anyone feel bad, so I say this with all the love I can feel in my heart for a bunch of random strangers/friends/potential friends on the internet…

A bullet journal is not about the stuff.

It’s not about getting more stuff.  😉

It’s not about the notebook, it’s not about the pens, it’s not about the washi, it’s not about cute stickers, it’s not about having a cute binder or case to put all of the above in, and, lest you think I’m pointing a finger at everyone else but myself, it’s not about the doodles or making your bullet journal “cute.”

(Deep exhale)

I belong to a few bullet journaling Facebook groups and in one, lately, the majority of the posts have been of all the stuff people have bought or wish they could buy, as if it’s not a real bullet journal unless you have 500 rolls of washi tape, 50 different pens, and a beautiful case to carry it all around in. I think there’s one layout spread post for every 10-15  purchase posts.

And then, when someone mentions Ryder Carroll, they say, “Who?”

Honestly, I know this may come off the wrong way, and it’s really not my intent to sound like a snob, at all. I promise. And let me say here that I do not know Ryder Carroll. I do not make any money mentioning his name or his product. I do not presume to speak for him in any way. I have to check and make sure I’m spelling his name correctly every time I use it. I just feel very strongly about giving credit where credit is due.

And I’m not being critical of the mods of the group at all. I’m a FB group mod and I know it’s a tough and unappreciated job. It’s just such a huge group, there’s no way to be able to worry about that kind of thing.

Bullet journaling seems to be everywhere lately, from Pinterest to Buzzfeed, so a lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon, and I say welcome aboard, the more the merrier! I personally have become a bullet journaling evangelist, I love sharing my passion with everyone. So just think of this as what I would say to you if we were sitting at my house, and I was sharing my bullet journal with you.

Whenever something becomes popular, there are always companies out there that take advantage of the craze. And it’s their job to make you feel like your project is not complete without their product on it. Even worse, they try to make us feel like our life isn’t complete until we have their product. As if buying more of their things will make us happier (there’s a reason why the minimalist movement is becoming so popular!).

I said this in my very first post, and I mean it even more today (all three days later, HA! 😂). The beauty of a bullet journal is in the system, not the stuff. And, even better, it’s about how YOU use that system for YOUR life.

If that means that you put five different kinds of washi tape on your daily page, so be it, and more power to you, 👊🏻 but don’t think you HAVE to have five different kinds of washi tape to make a daily page. Don’t think it has to be a piece of art for it to be Instagram worthy or useful. That last one was specifically for me, btw.

So, if anyone is still reading this, let me offer this suggestion. Put away everything except your pen and your notebook. If you haven’t already, go to the Bullet Journal site, watch the video and browse the site.

Then, open your notebook to the last two pages and start writing why a bullet journal appeals to you. What part of that original system do you want to use? What need will it fulfill for you? Are you going to use it as a planner? An art journal? A dream book? A brain dump? A combination of all of the above and more?

After you’ve done that, then, open it back to the front and go to town. Do what makes you happy with your bullet journal. Just remember, the most important part is the words you write, not the stuff you buy. ❤️

Now, random strangers/friends/potential friends on the internet, please excuse me while I finish my Instagram-worthy doodles. 😉




Probably Obvious Tip #2

Bullet Journal Probably Obvious Tip #2

 {Quite often, little tips go through my mind that are probably very obvious, and yet I still manage to make the same mistake over and over. These are so small that they don’t deserve a full blog post and I’m too impatient to wait to have several to post together.  So, I will just post these as small posts, randomly as I encounter them.}

When you draw a line from left to right, your hand will cover your ending point and you have a greater chance of over shooting it. It may feel counter-intuitive, but you will draw a neater line if you start on the same side as the hand you are drawing with.