Artist Spotlight

How Lauren and Caylee Built a Business Out of Creative Habit

Hi friends!! Welcome to the first Member Spotlight of 2016! We thought we would kick off this year with sharing some of our own experiences with art journaling to introduce ourselves to you a bit more. We try to feature the amazing artists from our community as much as we can, but thought it would be nice to let you get to know the ladies behind all the technical behind the scenes stuff. 

How did you start art journaling?

Lauren: I think I had never technically art journaled (under that name) until Caylee and I literally started Get Messy. I had made tons of things, was always really crafty and had made some hardcore collages on my notebooks in middle school of the Backstreet Boys. I first truly learned of and became interested in art journaling when A Beautiful Mess released this class on it. I had always wanted to keep a ‘sketchbook’, because that’s what I thought real artists did, but had no idea what to put in it. When I actually started art journaling it was because I was in a weird slump of creating and wanted something not as rigid as project life, but something more experimental and I knew that I desperately needed some sort of schedule and accountability. Thus Get Messy was born. I started working through the class and sharing and then the whole community happened and I’ve never looked back or even thought about quitting.

Caylee: Lauren and I spoke about how we were both over the fact that we weren’t doing the creating we wanted to do. We had a whole bunch of ideas, but they never amounted to anything. We were at the exact same place in that it was all coming to a head – do it now or never at allSo we did it. And we were accountable to each other, and for that reason even when I didn’t feel like it, I didn’t want to be the one letting “us” down. I was also going through a stage of my life where I could feel depression creeping up. This was a great way to divert attention, process things and thoughts, and elevate my mood a bit. As it turned out, I had a LOT to say through art journaling, and the pages poured out of me. Not all the time, sometimes it was a slow drip and sometimes I needed my plumber, Lauren. But I was art journaling every single day and with that type of commitment, something’s bound to come from it.

Why do you love art journaling?

L: It’s hard for me to think of art journaling and Get Messy as separate entities as they are so intertwined for me. You all know why I love Get Messy, so I’ll try my best to focus on just the actual art journaling part. After having art journaled consistently for over 2 years now, I can truly say that art journaling has brought forth my true, personal artistic style. After spending years working, trying, learning, copying, practicing and honing, I can create a page and people will automatically know it’s mine. I would have never started using watercolor, playing with abstract painting or mark making without art journaling and these are, literally, my favorite things to do. I also love that it’s kind of not important. The pages don’t get framed and hung on a while or put in the family heirlooms of scrapbooks or given as a gift to someone who may or may not like them. They can just sit quietly, all alone in a closed book never to be opened or seen by anyone. THERE IS SO MUCH FREEDOM IN THAT. That may be my favorite part. The permission to just move on and try again on the next page.

C: Because of the release it gives me. The satisfaction of knowing that I’m working at being an artist. Because every now and then, I make something that I absolutely love and I’m absolutely rubbish at explaining that feeling with words.

Describe your art journaling process.

L: Making begets Making. I try to work slow and in a rolling process. I can sit down and make a page in just a few minutes using my go to formula: painted background + photo + title/quote/lyrics. But, I love the process of slow creating. I keep a basket on my desk of photos, quotes, magazine pages, etc that are inspiring me at the moment. I will sit down, each day around the same time, and pull decide on maybe a background if Im really uninspired. I will create that and then come back to it the next day to see if i’ve found some inspiration and add layers to it each day until Im finished. If I am inspired by a photo or have something specific to say I will start pulling all the elements together needed and will do a bit and then let it sit and come back the next day to make sure it truly is saying what I need to say and finish it. Leaving something a bit undone, but having an idea of what I want to do next helps me keep the creating momentum up when I already know how to get started each day.

C: I’m lucky enough to have a pair of wooden standing desks dedicated to art journaling. If I’m going through a creative slump, I usually go there immediately after making my morning cup of coffee and “force”. Otherwise I wait until the urge to make happens and I go there. I open my book and something usually pours out of me and there’s not too much method to it.

✨ 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).

What tips do you have for beginners?

LCopy! Commit! Dont Quit! Dont know what to make? Copy a page or artist you like, just to get you making something and it will teach you what you are good at and what you actually like. Then set a habit of always making on a certain day or at a certain time or set an amount of pages. You just must schedule it to make it actually happen. And dont quit! Keep going, pages may be quite terrible for a while, but just dont stop. Try a million things until you find something you like.


  1. Find an accountability partner or focused group (Get Messy Habit is a good place to start) and promise to create a certain number of pages every week and share them online
  2. Make sure that you don’t let your partner(s), or yourself down. Create. Keep going even if it’s kak.
  3. Keep going. Sitting down to create will lead to one paint stroke or pen mark to one page to one spread to one entire, gloriously full book.

If that fails, go through the prompts. If that fails, get some Get Messy support.

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

L: I look for inspiration or start copying a page I like until it morphs into my own. I will browse pinterest or the Get Messy hashtag until something strikes my fancy and if I am totally stuck, I will break it down even further and say I need to browse for a color, then I need to look for a shape. Then I will paint/draw/collage that shape in that color all over the page until something eventually happens. Something always happens.

C: I stare at the blank page until it tells me.

What are your must-have supplies? What is your journal of choice?

L: Thick paper is the first must because watercolor is my favorite and I need to be able to cover a page in lots of layers of paint and glue without it warping too bad. Currently I am using a small, handmade journal with thick watercolor paper in it. The supplies I use most often are paints, personal photos and travel magazines, like National Geographic.

C: My current must have supplies are a journal with great paper, Micron, dry roller glue or gel matte medium, a stencil, and big scissors. Then I go through phases which have been botanical book pages, old book pages, gold acrylic, gold sprays, and my Kuretake Gansai Tambi set has made my current phase watercolours.

My journal of choice is always a Moleskine. It’s really nice to have a few on rotation so that you can use another one while you’re waiting for paint to dry without losing momentum. Cahiers are great for dry pages and minimal paint, their A4  Sketchbook for acrylic paint, gesso, or matte medium, and their Watercolour Albums for watercolours.

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Caylee Grey

Caylee is a South African perfectionist currently pursuing imperfection as she makes messy art (and drools over the abundance of casual castles) in Germany.

More often than not, you’ll find her nurturing creativity as the resident Fairy Artmother for her growing community of artists in Get Messy, swapping bad puns with her very patient husband, wrestling her son’s snacks away from her tiny but determined dog, and emptying her thoughts onto the page.

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