Artist Spotlight

How Making Art Keeps the Magic Alive for Brandi Kincaid

Brandi is an illustrator and paper crafter who makes and records memories with her husband in Bellingham, Washington, a far cry from her home state of Georgia. She spends all her free moments playing with paper and glue, and drawing a version of the world around her. When she isn’t making a mess or dreaming up new designs, she’s spending time at one of her favorite neighborhood bookshops or watching episodes of Murder She Wrote, because nothing beats J.B. Fletcher.

WHY DO YOU LOVE ART JOURNALING?

Though it’s gone by many different names for me over the years (Am I the only one that feels claustrophobic by labeling things sometimes? I’m like the indecisive high school girlfriend to my artistic practices), art journaling is the way I make sense of the inner and outer worlds I live in, on paper. It’s amazing what the act of putting pencil/pen/paint/glue to paper can do to illuminate what feels muddy, or to celebrate what feels golden.

I love that when you sit down to record a bit of yourself or others you’ve encountered, you get a chance to tell both the factual and emotional story, both important, both too often overlooked in the ebb and flow of our hectic lives. Some years my journals are words dotted with bits of color and paint, and some years, my journals are bursts of color and paint peppered with words, but I love both of them fiercely, with a kind of loyalty to the “me” who needed to be in the world in that way in that time; there’s so much goodness in allowing our expressions to grow and change, to go back and go forward, to try new things, and to embrace old well worn habits again. I guess in the end, I love art journaling because there are no rules other than action, no expectations beyond the fact that I need to show up to the page and make something.

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR BEGINNERS?

Just play. Before you buy too many supplies, or look for too many tutorials, find a prompt that tugs at her heart a little, and just play for a bit with whatever you have on hand. Once you start trusting your own hand a little bit more, dive and remember it’s not about how much “stuff” you have to make your journal your own, it’s about just that – making it your own. The journals/notebooks of mine that I love the most are the ones that are often the simplest, when I had less of an end result in mind, and more of patience for the practice of the process.

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

When I feel like I either have too few or too many (usually unclear) ideas, I love a good prompt. It doesn’t have to be something overt like, “journal about your favorite season” either, it can be anything that sparks you to add more to the conversation, like a favorite quote, an image from a magazine, the memory of that one perfect scene in a film. I love to use the things that bring joy to me, and respond to them on the page. I also love to just document my day, or what is seemingly an ordinary routine. Drawing and painting out what might often feel mundane can make it magical.

WHAT ARE YOUR MUST HAVE SUPPLIES?

A great water proof pen that can write on all surfaces (I love LePen Permanent pens), pencils and plenty of erasers, a set of watercolors, a bundle of old papers and ephemera, a tape gun, small stapler, fountain pen, and a roll of wash tape (lately deep jade green, salmon pink, or gold).

✨ 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 is your journal of choice?

This varies so much – I love the Hand-Book Journal Co. square watercolor travel journals, Moleskine cahier notebooks, repurposed books, handmade traveler’s notebooks, and simple, small three ringed binders.  Whew. I do love my journals.

WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

If I thought the journal question was tough, this is tougher. There is so, so much that inspires me, but here are a few of my tops: my mother and grandmother were incredible inspirations and taught me so, so much of what I know, and feel brave enough to learn, my fellow artists friend who are so generous with their talent and encouragement, early 90’s Hip Hop, the color yellow, poetry, everything living my front yard (flowers, birds, squirrels who behave like turds), the artwork of Eva Hesse, the puttering of Paddington Bear, and the way a new box of crayons smells when you open it for the first time.

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR ART JOURNAL REFLECTS YOURSELF AND YOUR PERSONALITY?

I do, but mostly because they’re all so different and scattered, full of a millions small, very different sums that make a whole. I am constantly learning and loving new things, exploring new ideas and techniques, and my “look” changes often, but the heart of them remains the same – a focus on good words, a balance of color and simplicity, pieces of other’s work that I am conversing with by way of my own, and lots and lots of hard-won honesty.

HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO MAKE THINGS?

I will gladly get up an hour early any day if it means I get to make something.

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE STORY?

I come from a line of makers – my mother and grandmother were seamstresses who also loved to knit and cook, my grandfather works with wood and can sew as well. I grew up with a strong belief in my ability to be creative, and though I lost that kind of fearless trust in myself for a few years, I think that when being a maker is who you are, it always comes back. As a self-employed artist now, it feels odd to think that just a few years ago I was working in the corporate world, climbing a ladder I had no interest in, wondering if I would ever use my very expensive degrees in Literature, and not for a moment thinking that I could make both joy and a living from doing what I love, and making art. While drawing is my passion, I’ve loved getting back to painting this past year, and I am learning so much from the incredibly talented ladies who share what they know. The one constant creative source for me that I never gave up, even through the lean years of very little making, are my commonplace books, which hold the collected bots of words and images, ephemera and other bits I accumulate throughout my days. Though some, which I will share in this group are more visually appealing and art journal-esque in their construction, others are simple and rough. I love both.

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Brandi Kincaid

Brandi is an illustrator and paper crafter who makes and records memories with her husband in Bellingham, Washington, a far cry from her home state of Georgia. She spends all her free moments playing with paper and glue, and drawing a version of the world around her. When she isn’t making a mess or dreaming up new designs, she’s spending time at one of her favorite neighborhood bookshops or watching episodes of Murder She Wrote, because nothing beats J.B. Fletcher.

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