Artist Spotlight

Arlyna embraces the messy middle

Arlyna is a lifelong artist who has always been into painting and anything art-related since she was young, following her passion for her career as a graphic designer while being an entrepreneur. She enjoys documenting her life in Shanghai through urban sketching and journaling. Her art journals ranging from watercolours to mixed medias to junk journals, serve as her free space to create freely and expressively and a respite from the hustle and bustle of life with twin teens.

What is art journaling to you?

Art journaling is a form of expression, a way of pushing past boundaries, a way to balance me from my full-time work, and everything else in between.

What does community do for your art?

Inspire! Push me! Allows me to “embrace the messy middle”.

How do you live a creative life? How do you incorporate journaling into that?

Constantly doing or making. Maybe, it would be apt to say “non-stop making creating” regardless of what medium it is.

What does your creative space look like? Where do you journal?

The past couple years has been hard because I don’t have a “proper space” with all my materials scattered around the apartment. I am using the dining table for creating art and have to always clean up so sometimes, it can get discouraging to do anything.

Do you have creative routines?

Not really. I take on whatever I feel like, so it can be watercolours today, sketching tomorrow, or art journaling.

What is your favourite art journal page that you’ve ever made?

This is most difficult to answer as there’s too many. I decided to choose this because this was something I did while in a hotel quarantine and I did not have a lot of art materials with me. But the limited supplies actually was a great opportunity for me to be able to create. I totally loved that time.

Have you ever made something you don’t like? What did you do?

So many. Either rework it at a later time. Or just abandon it but still keep it as a way to reflect on and see how I can make it better or learn why I didn’t like it.

What is your biggest barrier to creating? And how do you overcome that hurdle?

Overthinking! I am learning to reframe my thoughts, move to a different project then come back to whatever project got me stuck.

How has Get Messy impacted your creativity?

A big deal! When I started with Get Messy, I was feeling so incompetent, feeling like my work wasn’t good enough. I stopped for a couple years until I slowly got back into art journaling through sketching and junk journaling and finding inspiration from other artists. Also a big part is reframing my mind on how my art journal needs to look.

Arlyna is one of the incredible teachers at Get Messy. She shares her art and her heart in the Season of Slow.

You’re invited to embrace the messy middle and join the best art journaling community on the internet.

What journal do you use?

So many! I jump between handmade to store-bought ones.

What is your one *must have* supply?

Watercolours and pens and paper!

What do you make when you don’t know what to make?

I jump into sketching, sewing, knitting, or some other form of crafts/making.

What is the most important (non-tool) thing to your creative practice?

Sitting in a cafe and watching people. Noticing more. Finding inspiration in the everyday.

Who are your favourite Messy artists?

@dansmoncrane because her passion is like a big hug. To name a very few, @creative_heart_healer, @jenboxes, @willa_wander, @monaschreibt, @laurahorn… and there are really so many more artists that’s hard to name all. Each artist inspires me in different ways.


Advice to new art journalers:

Embrace the messiness. Enjoy the process.


Push past boundaries

Join the community