Artist Spotlight

Eva Donges puts herself on the page.

Originally from Germany, Eva has been living in Finland for well over a decade. Having been creative in different mediums all her life, art journaling has provided her with a way back into making art.

What is art journaling to you?

Art journaling can be so many different things and I love that it can be different things at different times. It’s a place to meet myself, to dump thoughts and emotions, to untangle my inner monologue, and get a clearer outlook. It’s a place to dream and be present all at once. And it’s simply play, no rules, just for myself. It’s a way to keep making art, to put myself on the page.

What does community do for your art?

Community means encouragement, inspiration and pushing me out of my comfort zone. I was really reluctant to share my pages or anything about myself for quite a while. I really enjoy doing ATC swaps and the exchange with other people who love art journaling.

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

I love all the crafts. I am quite crafty and creative and especially love dressmaking, quilting and embroidery. When I was younger I used to draw a lot, but stopped in my late teens. I felt discouraged and very critical of my art. I have tried to find a way back to making art for a long time and art journaling finally has provided an outlet and art form that suits me. Many quilters are artists in my opinion, but I don’t see my quilts as art. My art happens in my journal.

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

This question immediately made me think of a page I made when I was in quite some conflict with myself during a difficult situation. It may not be the most striking or original page, but it’s a reminder of what art journaling can be at its best – expression, epiphany and catharsis.

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

I‘ve made lots of things I don’t like and hope I will continue to do so. I think it’s part of the process and leaving one‘s comfort zone. I used to try to salvage those pages. Nowadays, I usually just move on to the next page and take the failed experiments as creative lessons.

Have you ever been through artist block? How did you return to your work?

I think I had artist block all through my twenties. I missed making art, but at the same time a lot of things were happening in my life and I had different priorities. When I tried to find my way back to art, my biggest hurdle was my inner critic. Finding art journaling was so freeing and inspiring. It is just for me. It doesn’t have to please anyone, it doesn’t have to be anything in particular. I try to remember that when I am in a less productive phase now.

How has Get Messy impacted your creativity?

Since joining Get Messy I have definitely become more prolific in my art journaling. It helps me to keep going with lots of inspiration and resources. The community is a huge factor in that as well. It is always so amazing to see all the different art members create for challenges and seasons. It’s a positive and encouraging community and I try to contribute to that.

✨ 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 journal do you use?

At the moment I am using a self-made journal in a junk journal style. It’s approximately A5 in size. I like using different papers, from scrapbook paper over failed gel prints and old book pages to different kinds of sketching and mixed media paper. This seems to be the kind of journal I‘m most comfortable creating in. However, I also enjoy using bought journals with mixed media or watercolor paper – like Dylusions or Hahnemühle.

What is your one *must have* supply?

This is a difficult question since I really like working in a mixed media style. I guess if I had to choose I‘d say a visually interesting magazine for collage.

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

When I‘m a bit stuck, I often just make some backgrounds. Smudging paint, stenciling, stamping on my journal pages. Gel printing or sorting through my paper stash and tidying my desk are also great ways to get going.

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

Do it for the process.

Advice to new art journalers:

Start with what you have and try not to compare yourself. You don’t need a lot of supplies to start. Do it for yourself and the process first and foremost. Don’t get too caught up in trying to find a style.

Eva Donges

Originally from Germany, Eva has been living in Finland for well over a decade. Having been creative in different mediums all her life, art journaling has provided her with a way back into making art.

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