Messy Conversations

Ep 002: Pretty is nice but true is better

Messy Conversations is a series of interviews with amazing art journalers who share their favorite tools, tips and why they art journal. You’ll get an exclusive peek into their art journal pages and their process. We have a top-notch line up of incredibly artists who will appear on the show each month. We hope that these interviews educate, encourage and inspire you to make something before it’s even over.

For our first official interview it only made sense to invite the queen herself to come and share with us. Vanessa has been with Get Messy since, almost, the very beginning and she has served as our rock, our cheerleader and one of our greatest sources of inspiration. We could not be happier and more inspired by what she has to share with you in her interview. Our time chatting with Vanessa totally rocked our art journaling foundation and we have both made so many changes in our process thanks to some ideas she shared with us and we know the same will be true for some of you. If you have more questions for V after the interview, leave them in the comments or connect with her using her site links below. Enjoy!


  • How Vanessa started art journaling
  • How she developed her own style
  • Personal symbols: find them, develop them and use them
  • Whether you should share your pages or not and if sharing should influence your work
  • How she dates her art journals
  • Pretty pages vs. real and authentic pages
  • How she balances the Get Messy prompts + her own personal ideas
  • Encouragement for how your style will change and evolve

Tips For New Art Journalers

  1. Find and develop a personal symbol
  2. Make a self-portrait but don’t include your face
  3. Have a physical space dedicated to art journal in
  4. ALWAYS have your journal open to the page you are working on so you can walk by and see it
  5. Make unique kits, and keep it by your art journal, to use per book/season/etc

✨ Free class for creatives ✨

In How to Start Art Journaling, we’ll walk you through the art of art journaling, including how to start doing (🙌) and make your very first art journal page (even if you’ve never even opened an art journal before).

​Extraordinary Thoughts

“We tend to emulate other people at first because we don’t know how to tap into our own creativity.”

“Think about personal symbols. We all have things that appeal to us, but we don’t necessarily know why, they call on us. Bones and the skeleton speak to me a lot because of my professional life and I can bring that into my art and by doing that I bring a part of myself into the art.”

“Art journaling is so awesome because its one of the mediums where you can legitimately put yourself in there…. You get to decide if you are going to let people peek in or not, so you can really be honest in here and say things you would never say to a person. Your deepest, darkest fears, you can get them out of you and then you can decide if you are going to share or not.”

“I like taking the time (3 days) to do a page. I like the rhythm of really getting involved in a page.”

“You have to have room for change. Your style is going to evolve and change and appear. You might not even know it is your style, but it totally is.”

“The quest for your style when starting out is really stressful because you really want to show that style but it’s not going to appear magically, it’s going to evolve from the more pages you make. You have to do the art. ”

“I do a lot of pages, because its important to me and I need it.”

“It’s not about comparison, it’s about what you are bringing to the journal.”


Vanessa’s themed books: 1, 2, 3, 4
A perfect example of how V mixes education with art on her blog
How to Store and Use Ephemera (post only accessible for Get Messy Members)
Alice in Wonderland Book
V’s Favorite Moleskine
First Lady Patate
Art Journaling Workshop in Mexico

📌 Pin this or share in Instagram Stories:

Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd

Vanessa is an archaeologist and an artist. She oscillates between these two poles of her personality and explores the many iterations of her reality in her art journal. She loves to share her art and process with others.

Find your personal style through art journaling

Join the community