Artist Spotlight

Anouk Karssen uses art journaling to process her emotions

Anouk Karrsen is an all round creative from the Netherlands. For her, art journaling is a way to escape real life, and express her emotions.

How do you live a creative life?

I’ve always been creative, it really is a part of me. When I was little, I made clothes for my Barbie from little scraps of fabrics because I didn’t like the clothes my Barbies wore. As I turned older, art became my therapy. Art journaling really helped me process some difficult times in my life.


Do you put your life into your art journal? Or is it focused on technique?

For me, making an art journaling page is all about the process. When I’m creating I like to process my feelings and thoughts, but this happens more on this inside than on the page itself. When I look at an art journaling page that I made, I can immediately recall the feelings that I had when I was making it. It’s like a little secret of my own. Most people will just see a nice page, but I know there’s a story behind it.


What is your biggest barrier to creating?

My health is the biggest barrier of all time. Sometimes I really want to create something but then I have not enough energy to grab my stuff, let alone clean it afterwards.


How do you get over that hurdle?

I have a little trolley beside my nightstand with some easy to clean stuff. I like to create on my bed so I can rest a little whilst creating. When I’m creating on my bed I like to paint directly from my tubes, so I don’t need to clean a pallet. And my parents allowed me to have a second trolley in the living room so I could easily create there too. Another thing I like to do when I don’t have a lot of energy is to draw in my sketchbook or to make a quick page in my use-it-up-journal.

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What has been your biggest lesson when it comes to creating art?

Leave the perfectionist side of you at home. Due my perfectionism I get easily overwhelmed by other people’s art. I always want my art to look like theirs, but guess what? It’s impossible. I rather focus on the process that I’ll go through when I make art. So don’t get discouraged by other people’s art. Your art is unique!


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

This question is so hard! It’s like choosing one of your children as a favourite. But if I have to choose I’ll go for a page I made when I felt like I was getting depressed again. It’s one of the first pages I made that was a quite literal version of my feelings and thoughts. This page made me accept that it’s okay to have those feelings. I really doubted if I wanted to share it on Instagram because it made me feel really vulnerable at that moment. But I knew I’m not the only one dealing with this, so I shared it in the hope that I could inspire someone and to let them know that they are not alone.

Have you ever actively disliked a page you’ve made? What did you do with it?

Yes. So many times! What I’ll do to it depends on my mood and how much I hate it. Sometimes I leave it be and look at it some days later. When I still don’t like it I put some gesso on top of it, or tear it out of my journal. On the bad days I’ll just put gesso on top of it right away. But I try to be more kind nowadays, so I’ll just leave it be and make it work.


Have you ever been through artist block? What did you do to overcome it?

I had an artist block recently. I started a new treatment for my illness and I was so tired. Everything I made felt like a mistake. And because I was feeling more and more exhausted I didn’t enjoy creating anymore. So I didn’t create for a couple of weeks, watched everyone on Instagram making beautiful art and I felt so miserable about it. I talked to some fellow Messians, and they gave me the advice to stop looking at other peoples art. They are the best. Instead of watching other peoples art, I looked for inspiration from my own art. I went to the very base of my art journaling journey and I made a whimsical girl inspired by one of my first paintings. When I was done, the fire was burning again.


What’s the best art advice you’ve ever received?

It’s all about the process. Caylee gives the best advice.


What does community do for your creating?

When you see artist on Instagram they feel almost like a celebrity. Being in a community with fellow artists, they become a real person instead of something unreachable. You feel like you can do what they can do because they are just a person who loves art as much as you do.


Who would you like to celebrate in the Get Messy community?

I would like to celebrate Freya Fennec who is such a lovely person. I really like her bold colours and her beautiful artwork. And I would like to celebrate Sasha Zeen who is one of the kindest persons there is. She always leaves such generous comments and her artwork is extremely soothing.

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Anouk Karssen

Anouk Karrsen is an all round creative from the Netherlands. For her, art journaling is a way to escape real life, and express her emotions.

Work through your feelings via art journaling

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