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A female left hand holding up a pink diary with an elastic strap down the front. Tape with the words 'Full', 'Oct 22' and 'April 23' are stuck to the front of the book

Hello and welcome to you if you've stumbled across this post or if you've seen my drawing journal at the Manchester Open exhibition that's currently on display at HOME. (2.Feb.24 - 28.April.24)

I want to share a bit more about the drawing journal with you and maybe even inspire you to start one of your own!

A black and white drawing of clothes on a washing line

How I got started with it

I've tried everything from 'Inktober' to 'fill a sketchbook a month' challenges, I get about half way in and loose faith.

However, when I started this drawing journal attempt, I had some other factors to help push me along. After being unwell, I changed my priorities around what I wanted to spend my time and energy on. Anything that was just causing me distraction had to be cut out and I just focused on the really important bits. I wanted the journal to be full of positive memories and drawings that were influenced by my experiences.

Starting with little doodles to accompany a diary entry, it quickly flipped to filling the whole page with an illustration that captured what I wanted to say.

A black and white drawing of a person moving items from 'pile 1' to 'pile 2'

The book itself

I used an A5 sized pink Royal Talens sketchbook with different thicknesses of pigment liners - that's it. Using the same tools removes any friction of decision making, it makes things a lot easier to just start. (These are affiliate links - see below for more information)

At the end of the experiment I had a book full of memories and I could see how my drawings had developed.

Each sketchbook I use has 82 (ish) double pages - so that makes 164 (ish) drawings per book. It doesn't feel like a huge effort to fill one page per day and the reward at the end is a book full of drawings! I'm halfway through book no.3 as we speak.

Why I think this experiment worked

-The daily deadline reduces the need for each drawing to be perfect

-Sticking to the same tools reduces the friction of decision making

-Drawing something from your day mixes inspiration with something from real life memory. It's enough of a guideline to help and not too restrictive or open ended.

A black and white illustration of a person wearing a hat and jumper pouring tomatoes into their mouth from a scoop. The words 'scoop your own tomatoes' are in big letters in the background

Your Turn

Keep your eyes peeled here for an upcoming blog post with guides on how you can start your own drawing journal that will suit you.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on sketchbooks and drawing journals, tell me about them in the comments below.

This post includes affiliate links. Whenever you buy something through one of these, I get a small commission without any extra cost to you. This helps to support my blog, thank you.


I share more inspiration and more posts like this on my monthly Round Up newsletter, click here to subscribe

A navy and peach drawing of a girl sitting on rug, opening a book with a beam of light coming from it

The online database of images and stuff is MASSIVE. A quick search with the right key words can give you instant imagery under the guise of inspiration for your project. But is this quick fix harming our creativity?

What happens if we slow down this crazy over consumption madness and choose the slower ride instead? If the inspiration is being fed in at a slower rate, will we have more time and space to really work on an idea?

Your cabinet of curiosity

If you were a wealthy person living in Europe in the 16th-17th century, it was fashionable to have a cabinet of curiosity or wunderkammer (wonder-room in German - sounds more fun).

These rooms full of artefacts and man-made marvels served as a physical collection of knowledge and travel.

Nowadays we keep things on our bookshelves and notice boards or in our camera roll to serve as reminders of memories or information learnt.

Treat yourself to a good old rummage through your cabinet of curiosity to gather some slower paced inspiration. What would your cabinet say about the world?

What do you read? What do you collect? Who do you look up to in your industry? What makes your heart sing without you understanding why? What do you have on your desk? What music do you listen to? What's in your notebook or sketchbook? Who's work do you admire?


Here's another post about slowing down and enjoying some 'idle time'.

I share more ideas on my monthly Round Up. Click HERE, sign over your email address and enjoy monthly inspiration from me.

Yes, I'm talking about this again.

an illustration of a wolf in a pink jumper sitting at a laptop on a  desk

It's been over a year since I moved away from Instagram and started to think about more creative ways to share my work. I've learnt a lot over the last 12 months and I thought I'd share a couple of things with you.

What surprised me

Networking without Instagram

In September, I went to a Bee Inspired networking event in Manchester. I was surprised to see how many people were still using Instagram as the main way to stay in contact with someone new. It did get a bit awkward when I mentioned that I had deleted the app and I did wonder if I was missing out on an important connection. I started to think about how else I could stay in touch with people, LinkedIn? Business cards? Could I invent something new?


In April, I received an email from Catherine Booth (a very talented illustrator and someone I've worked on projects with in the past), inviting me to the opening of her solo exhibition in Manchester. As Catherine had reached out directly, it felt very meaningful. I hopped straight on the train and met her there. If Catherine had just posted her event on Instagram, I would've missed it. I felt honoured and very excited and the exhibition was beautiful. Whenever I want to send invitations, I think of how this interaction made me feel.

What I did instead of using social media

Showing up somewhere else

I decided to put more attention into my website, my newsletter and my blog and I started a drawing journal to encourage me to draw everyday too. I still use Pinterest to collect ideas and it's brought in more traffic to my website than any other platform has so far. I feel much closer to those in my newsletter community and by sharing what's inspired my studio practice each month, I can consume inspiration a lot more slowly and intentionally too.

A Shift To Analog

I started to feel a need to keep my important memories and photos somewhere special and outside of my camera roll of nonsense, so I bought a photo album and got some photos printed. I could've just set my personal Instagram account to private and used that, this feels more tangible and personal to me.

What are your thoughts on Instagram and social media? How would you connect with someone new at a networking event without using social media? Are business cards a thing of the past? Do you still use Pinterest?!


More tasty bits:

This TED Talk by Dino Ambrosi is eye opening. I really thought hard about the point he makes when he asks how much would we be willing to pay monthly to use social media channels - How loyal are we to these sites?

Also loved the thoughts behind this Anti-social media policy by Lush


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