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How Tiffany Meduna plans out time to make art



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Tiffany is an artist of many trades living in New York City with an absolute passion for documenting her everyday life. A traveller to the core, she loves documenting her various journeys around the world in thick handmade travel journals bursting with photos, memories, and travel ephemera. She loves anything artsy and says she was born to create. Tiffany loves the freedom art journaling gives her to express and play with whatever her heart desires. There are no wrong ways to journal! Her least favorite part of art journaling is cleaning up after the fun time of getting messy. Reptar is her favorite dinosaur, for sure.

Why do you love art journaling?

For me, art journaling is an escape from my real life and a form of therapy to deal with my real life. It’s a bit weird, but sometimes I art journal to get my mind off something that’s causing me anxiety. I don’t often deal with whatever the problem is through my art journaling process, but the process helps to calm me down by taking me to some other place (even though, subconsciously, my pages often reflect whatever it was that was making me anxious). And other times, I journal about things in my life that I don’t always know how to express otherwise. I pour out my feelings on a page and it makes me feel better about something that happened, or something that I read, saw, or said. I guess, when it all comes down to it, art journaling is therapy and it makes me feel better and that’s one of the things I love about it.

I also love that you don’t have to be right or wrong. You just have to do. And that’s with any art, really. But with art journaling, you don’t have to be perfect. The best pages that I have ever created were ones that I made huge, awful boo-boos…like ones that look really ugly and not perfect. The process of trying to cover up those mistakes often turns the ugly into something beautiful–even if you end up making more “mistakes” you didn’t plan on making. But I’ve learned to accept those mistakes, because in the end, you may come away with a great page. And if not, then you throw it away and it will never see the light of day ever again.

But I love art journaling. It’s doing whatever you feel like on a page. It’s about dreaming and experimenting and creating. It’s just so freeing.

How did you start art journaling?

I started art journaling in January 2013, the same time I started getting into scrapbooking. In late September of 2012, my dad passed away a day after I returned home from my first backpacking trip abroad. He’d been struggling with a rare blood cancer for about a year and a half, and honestly, it was a bit unexpected for me, coming home from this huge trip to him being in the ICU. My mom never asked me to come home and every time I would call, she would say he was alright. Later, I came to find out that he didn’t want to spoil my trip, but he did wait for me to come home so that I could at least see him one last time. I struggled with this a lot afterwards. I’d just graduated from university before I left on my trip that summer and I was so focused on doing all of these things when I got back, that when I came home and all of this happened, I just shut down.

I couldn’t sleep at night, so I would go through all of my trip photos. Hundreds upon hundreds of them, of my best friend and I in all of these European towns we’d visited for the first time. I brought home a huge folder of ephemera–museum pamphlets, receipts, train tickets, etc.–that I didn’t want to get rid of, but didn’t know what to do with. So I went on Google and discovered Smashbook and after a my first trip to Michaels, I came home with a pretty pink Smashbook and a pack of gluesticks. And I just filled it up with all of my photos and ephemera. I downloaded free scrapbooking printables to add into it because I didn’t have any embellishments. With my insomnia, I scrapped, and soon I had a finished travel album.

I loved the process so much that I continued my search online for Smashbooks, which led to all sorts of scrapbooking sites and blogs. At some point, I stumbled upon a blog called Cave In The Clouds run by a young woman named Hannah Clare. She had posted beautiful pages of her Summer of Love art journal that had me so in awe,

I needed to know what this “art journaling” was.

She made it while taking Kara Haupt’s Summer of Love class. It was the winter of 2013 and Kara’s class wasn’t enrolling until June, so I experimented with art journaling in an old spiral planner I had from college instead, since I didn’t want to waste a notebook if I didn’t like the process. I used papers and magazines I already had about the house and started my first art journal. It was mostly collage and I did dirty my hands with a bit of paint, but I liked the collages more. But that summer, I signed up for Kara’s class, which was a live class online, and it was my first proper introduction to art journaling. I haven’t stopped art journaling since. It just filled this awful void I felt that I had in my life and helped me express what I was feeling at the time and really deal with it. I still find myself dealing with it sometimes, on those off days, and art journaling always helps!

Describe your art journaling process.

I don’t really have much of a process. If I’m following journaling prompts, I just sit with them a bit and think them over, and with them in mind, do whatever I feel like doing on the page. A lot of my journaling is instinctive like that. I do whatever feels right at that moment. That’s how I work when I don’t have any sort of prompts to work with. Usually when I sit down to journal without any sort of prompt, I’m very anxious–as I suffer from anxiety–and art journaling is my way to calm myself down and take my mind off of whatever it is that I’m currently consumed with worrying about. It’s one form of therapy for me. The other is writing music and when one of these creative outlets doesn’t work, I try the other. I tend to go back and forth between them–music and art–and some days I do both back to back, or add my lyrics to my pages or a journal idea inspires a song. My creative process in general is just whatever I’m feeling at the moment that I just need to let out.

I pick my mediums to work with in much the same way. Maybe one day I’m feeling my watercolors and the next I just want to collage. If I’m feeling really patient, I’ll sit down a do an image transfer. For that, I usually prep my page with some background color if I feel like it, then apply the transfer. I usually leave it to dry overnight–or if I’m really impatient, for a few hours–then go back to it. It all depends, like I said, on how I’m feeling.

What tips do you have for beginners?

Just begin. I feel like everyone says this, but it’s probably the best tip for beginning anything. Just start and see where the process takes you. There’s no right or wrong way to art journal. You don’t need any fancy materials or anything. Use whatever you have on hand and explore. If you find or learn some interesting techniques online along the way, have at it and try them for yourself. If you want to experiment with new materials and mediums, go out and buy some and try it out. I explored every thing that caught my interest until I found the materials, mediums and process that works for me. Just remember that your pages aren’t going to come out like your favorite artist’s pages! You might be inspired by them and try to mimic what you think they did or their style, but the great thing about art journaling is that it’s a reflection of you, whether you’re conscious of it or not. Sometimes when you intend for a page to come out a certain way, it almost always comes out your way. I say embrace that because that’s your subconscious trying to make you aware of your awesome style.

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

I usually distract myself with other things. A goal of mine this year was to be creative everyday, so while I don’t art journal everyday, I’m always doing something creative with that time I set out to be creative. I either scrapbook, work on my memory planner, write or make music. A lot of the time when I’m working on another creative project, I get ideas for art journal spreads. And sometimes when I don’t feel very creative or inspired at all, I listen to a lot of 80s music, watch a lot of movies and occasionally binge read a hoard of books. Consuming art (that isn’t any sort of art journaling/scrapbooking/paper art/etc.) always inspires me. It’s a nice recharge to just step away from making things and consume other people’s art work. I always come away with ideas and if I don’t, I feel like a couch potato, a feeling which always motivates me to make something!

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

Gel or Matte Medium, magazine cutouts, pretty paints in all sorts of colors (watercolor or acrylic), white gesso and a nice dark inky black pen. Those are my must haves because every time I set out to art journal, those are the supplies that I tend to reach for first. An art journal of mine is never complete without a nice image transfer, so having magazine cutouts and gel medium are a must! Lately, I’ve also been using a lot of India Ink for nice dark ink splatters. My journal of choice has to be the A5 Essentials Notebook from Peter Pauper Press with Grid pages. I love the size of it and the grid pages. I tend to prep it by gluing two pages together to make my work surface a bit thicker to handle the mediums I like to use, but I love this notebook. My first one is nearly filled! Other than that, I tend to also make my own handmade journals.

You create SO many beautiful things. How do you prioritize time to create? 

I somehow magically excel at time management. I’m always so busy doing all sorts of things, but I still always have free “me” time, sometimes even after I make time to do something creative. Generally, my flexible work schedule allows me to be home a lot and work on all of my creative projects, so I tend to schedule time to work on a certain thing at a certain time in my day. Almost all of my projects are creative ones that I mostly do from home. If I’m not at the office, working or out recording music at the studio, I’m home working on my crafts, scrapbooks, art journals and writing songs…after I do a bit of real grown people work from home. I tend to travel abroad a lot for extensive periods of time backpacking, but even then I make time to work on my travel journal, which is my creative outlet when I’m on the go and away from all of my supplies. I think the trick is to make the time. If you set time aside to do something and really stick to your schedule, and really create a habit out of it, you’ll find that you’ll always have time to create.

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere. I’m honestly not very picky when it comes to where I get my inspiration from. It could be from a song, movie, book I read, magazine image, a color scheme, an idea broad or vague, a person or someone’s story. Other people’s art often inspires me to try new techniques or new mediums. Social media accounts like Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr are filled with tons of lovely images that can and do inspire me. I read and follow a lot of blogs, which are great sources of inspiration. Other people’s art, nature, and traveling. There’s inspiration everywhere.

(Though, I will caution you on consuming too much of other people’s art you see on social media and the web. As humans, we tend to compare ourselves too much to what other people are doing, so I try to expose myself sparingly to those sources of inspiration. Cause sometimes, you’re looking to be inspired only to have that awful green monster wake up in the back of your mind telling you you’ll never be as good as [insert person here].)

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Tiffany Meduna

Tiffany is an artist of many trades living in New York City with an absolute passion for documenting her everyday life. A traveller to the core, she loves documenting her various journeys around the world in thick handmade travel journals bursting with photos, memories, and travel ephemera. She loves anything artsy and says she was born to create. Tiffany loves the freedom art journaling gives her to express and play with whatever her heart desires. There are no wrong ways to journal! Her least favorite part of art journaling is cleaning up after the fun time of getting messy. Reptar is her favorite dinosaur, for sure.

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