Artist Spotlight

How Torrie Gass’ belief that all humans are creative leads her to practice art every day



Home » BLOG » Artist Spotlight » How Torrie Gass’ belief that all humans are creative leads her to practice art every day

Torrie’s deep belief is that every human on this planet is creative in their soul. We were made to design, create, paint, play, imagine and share our inner artist with the world. It’s just a matter of letting ourselves tap into that resource within us. There is an inner artist/crafter/plant arranger/advanced organizer just dying to be let out. It’s just a matter of taking the time to discover who that inner voice is, and what they’re trying to say. 

Why do you love art journaling?

Ah, there are so many good reasons to say why I love art journaling! Ultimately, it’s the ability to express myself in a non-judged book that is mine & mine alone if I choose to leave it that way. I believe in self-care and making time on a daily basis to do what you love, and creating art is something I love doing. I firmly believe that every single person on the face of this earth is creative. Anyone can start making a mess, getting covered in paint and find the freedom in expressing yourself in a creative format.

Describe your art journaling process?

I usually read the prompts as they come out and then sort of mull them over for a while as I go about my day. Sometimes an idea comes to me, sometimes nothing comes at all. But I almost never have a concrete plan when I sit down to start creating. I might have a technique or quote I want to incorporate, but most of the time I’m just flying by the seat of my pants and hoping it turns out. I think most of the time they do, but I’ve had lots of pages that ended up being total garbage!

What tips do you have for beginners?

Don’t be intimidated by what you think you SHOULD be doing or what you SHOULD be using. Just get started! Anything and anyone can create art. Just use whatever supplies you have on hand and just dive in with everything you’ve got. There will be some ugly pages, some discouraging pages, and some embarrassing pages. These are all necessary to get better and to develop your style. Pushing through the gross stuff is what makes the reward of a beautiful page so much sweeter.

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

I usually peruse Pinterest or listen to some music. Sometimes just looking through my ephemera or supplies can spark an idea. Sometimes I make myself sit down and just get started. It’s 50/50 chance of turning out good, but sometimes you have to push through the slump to get in a good place.

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

Hmm, this is so tricky to narrow down! My must-haves… Probably watercolours, gesso, black drawing pens, scrapbooking adhesive tape, some old magazines and that’s probably it! I use a million other things but those are the supplies I use in almost every single page. I really love acrylics too and have just discovered modeling paste! A few good acrylics are worth having as well.

The journal I’m using right now is just a plain 8.5×11 drawing sketchbook. It was kicking around in my supplies from a few years ago and I pretty much only chose it because I didn’t want to spend money on a new one, haha. If I had my choice I would probably choose a spiral bound with thicker paper next time, just because this one is going to bust apart from being too full.

✨ 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).

We feel like you are so multifaceted with your art journaling – you brush script, draw, paint, collage, layer, and do all of them so well. Which technique is your favourite?

Thank you! I really like to dabble in multiple techniques and really try new things. My favourite is probably painting and collaging is a close second. Most of my pages have one or both those techniques in there!

Tell us more about your lettering and calligraphy. What are your favourite tools and what are your tips for people wanting to improve on this?

I made a New Year’s goal to learn calligraphy and brush lettering, so I’ve been working on it since then. My stuff is far from perfect but it’s still amazing how much practicing really improves your skill. If you are wanting to give calligraphy a try, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Learn Calligraphy for A Latte worksheets by Lindsey Bugbee from The Postman’s Knock. I picked up a couple of sets and they absolutely changed my calligraphy style. Understanding some of the basics of calligraphy is what has improved my brush script. My favourite tools are high flow acrylic ink (I really like Golden and FW Artists Acrylic Ink) and fine, teeny tiny paintbrushes! The smaller the brush the better, for me anyway 🙂 I also like trying out brush pens, like the Pentel Colour Brush Pen and I have a couple of Tombow pens that are fun to use as well. If you want to improve: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. No one is amazing the first 5 times they try something new. All that pretty lettering you see all over the internet is from someone practicing for hours upon hours, and likely making several variations of that piece. Don’t be discouraged when yours doesn’t look as good on your 4th attempt 🙂

Tell us more about how you draw and sketch. What are your favourite tools and what are your tips for people wanting to improve on this?

I live and breath by my Micron Pens! They are so versatile and I use them for nearly everything. I also always have a 4H pencil. I use 4H because the graphite is harder than an average pencil so it leaves lighter marks, which makes it easier to erase if I’m just laying something out. I also have two super handy erasers, the Tombow Mono Zero in both round and rectangular. The tip is so so fine that it’s great for erasing lettering lines and just small areas. If you’re wanting to improve, again, practice a lot! I like to sketch sometimes and even the most boring items make for good sketch subjects. Taking a class could be a great option if you’re looking to develop your skills further too. There are so many good ones online now that you don’t even have to leave your house to take one!

Tell us more about how you paint. What are your favourite tools and what are your tips for people wanting to improve on this?

Ah, this could be an entire essay! I LOVE TO PAINT. So much. My favourite watercolour paints are my Sakura Koi Travel Set and set of Reeves watercolor tubes. I use my pan set for just small paintings or on the go, but if I’m looking to do a page or painting that requires more colour mixing then I go for my tubes. My watercolour brushes are a mishmash of brands – I have no brand loyalty, so usually whatever I need at the cheapest price is what I end up with! I also have a deep love for acrylics that has been with me since junior high. Craft acrylics can be fun, but I do prefer/suggest getting student quality artist acrylics. They are much smoother and nicer to work with and don’t dry quite as fast. If you want to improve upon painting, I say again: practice, practice, PRACTICE! For all my pages I like and share with everyone, there are always a few more fugly ones that did not come out so great.

Tell us more about how you collage and layer. What are your favourite tools and what are your tips for people wanting to improve on this?

Get your hands on a stack of old editorial/art/fashion magazines, and literally any piece of paper you ever see that you think, “Hey, that looks cool/pretty/interesting/beautiful/awesome!” My paper stash ranges from postcards to books to calendars to magazines to newspapers to scrapbooking paper to gift bags. Seriously. Anything that you like is fair game for collaging with. I also use a lot of different adhesives, my main ones being scrapbooking adhesive and gel medium. Scrapbooking adhesive is like those glue runner tapes, basically. It’s awesome. I’ve only recently been more interested in collaging and I find the pages I like the most are the ones I am more deliberate and thoughtful about. I usually choose a colour palette to stick with and then start pulling paper/items I have that fit within it. The beauty of collage is that you have the ability to layout a page before committing to it.

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Torrie Gass

Torrie’s deep belief is that every human on this planet is creative in their soul. We were made to design, create, paint, play, imagine and share our inner artist with the world. It’s just a matter of letting ourselves tap into that resource within us. There is an inner artist/crafter/plant arranger/advanced organizer just dying to be let out. It’s just a matter of taking the time to discover who that inner voice is, and what they’re trying to say. 

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