Thoughts on a Daily Practice

Hey! It’s Julia. I am writing this right around the new year and my resolutions are in full swing. 365 Day project-Yeah! I’ve got this!! Thinking by mid-February I will need a little encouragement to keep going… so, I am writing to my future self (and to you!) about the value of accountability to yourself and within a community like Get Messy!

Accountability – This word is used a lot here at Get Messy. How can accountability really help me with art making? And how can I understand the best way to pull out this quality in myself?

What am I accountable to?

First, let’s find out what type of accountability we respond to in order to pull out this quality and live our best creative lives. I turn to Gretchen Rubin, author of The Four Tendencies, who has defined four types, which most of us can identify with in some way:

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike

She offers a quiz to find out your type here.

For me, I am super accountable to myself – an Upholder. I know if I set a goal I will pressure myself to achieve it. I am careful (after some trial and error) not to add too many personal goals onto my plate at one time because then I won’t be successful and that is a real downer.

How does this relate to art-making?

There are so many opportunities to set ourselves up to be accountable to our art and to “make something every day.” Get Messy offers “Seasons” as a defined time period to undertake a journal and aim to complete it within the month timeframe. I know that within each season, the prompts and tutorials spark me to make when I’m feeling burned out or just not creative at all.

There are also numerous online challenges like The 100 Day Project, Inktober, Carve December, and many others where I like to connect with people doing similar projects, gain inspiration, and provide support for others… Ooops, my upholder tendency is showing again… 🙂

Why do this?

We artists are happier when we make something, riiiight? I know I am. I would have never imagined the many personal benefits I have experienced from showing up and being accountable to myself if I hadn’t completed a few of these daily challenges and joined Get Messy! I love to share my art online, to deepen my community, and support other artists.

In my case, in 2018 I completed The 100 Day Project. I thought it was one of the hardest art-related things I have done, but it was also one of the best things. I added on 31 days of Inktober and found a personal drawing and painting style evolved that I didn’t know was there. After some serious deliberation (upholder here… remember), I decided to take on a 365 Day Project in 2019 because I found I really missed the daily drawing process after completing those first two challenges.

Another example for me was my small Season of Ubuntu Journal or a 1” journal I worked in last year. Super easy to pop into and out of for a daily collage or mark making fix! I encourage you to try this with today’s lesson!

 

Pamphlet Stitch:

Zine:

It is so worth it to make art every day! Let’s do this!

Action Steps

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Check out the Four Tendencies quiz. Identify your tendency and review Gretchen’s advice on how you can best support your personal accountability.

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Watch video and choose the journal you want to make

Using a Zine-style layout, make a small journal

One 8.5”x11” paper folded as in the tutorial will get you 4 spreads or 8 pages plus front and back cover.

 

OR make a pamphlet stitch journal if you prefer

One 8.5”x11” paper cut in half will make a journal with 3 spreads or 6 pages plus front and back cover.

 

OR make a simple accordion journal like the one shared in the video

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Other helpful links

I mention the accordion journal lesson by Kellee Wynne Conrad during the Season of Ubuntu.

Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd teaches an in-depth free lesson about the pamphlet journal.

Lots more in the Get Messy Site for members to learn about bookbinding as well.

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Every day this week, make a mini collage or add just a few marks on one page. When the zine is finished fold it up for an awesome little booklet!

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Share in the Forums or on Instagram. Tag me @julia_bethmann so I can support you!

Julia Bethmann

Julia is a mixed media artists who works in collage, printmaking, painting, and drawing to express her personal vision that we are all connected through spirit and nature. Julia loves experimentation and layering color, materials, and patterns. Julia studied photography and printmaking at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy. Today, Julia sells original works and prints and teaches in person workshops on a range of topics including bookbinding, printmaking, and collage.

22 Comments

  1. Rose Sheridan

    I am an obliger and often put myself bottom of my own list. So I’ve found that if I’m clever I can set goals for myself by making myself accountable to others. Thanks so much for this reminder, it’s made me think about my own art practice ❤

    • Julia Bethmann

      That’s a good trick! Figuring out those tricks is what Gretchen Rubin is all about

  2. Alyssa Rothwell

    I thought for sure I was going to be an Upholder but I got Questioner and when I read the description, yup that is TOTALLY me. Really interesting.
    As soon as my little girl is feeling better I am totally going to try a zine. Looks really fun.
    I still struggle with a daily practise. BUT I have started creating more and on a more regular basis so I think I’m heading in the right direction.
    Thanks so much for your post!!!

    • Julia Bethmann

      Awesome Alyssa! It is hard to start, but just a few minutes and you’ll love it! Can’t wait to see what you make!

  3. Jenna Ledford

    I’m an Obliger which I expected. The concept of Obliger rebellion was spot on!

    They may, in fact, reach the point of “Obliger-rebellion,” a striking pattern in which they abruptly refuse to meet an expectation. Obliger-rebellion may take a form that’s small and symbolic, like deliberately being late to work. Or Obliger-rebellion may be dramatic and far-reaching, like abruptly quitting a job, getting a divorce, or ending a long friendship, with the feeling, “I’ve had it. This is over. You’re dead to me.”

    I find my best bet is simply to tell my husband I need to do this thing for myself, so you need to make sure I do it, and he usually is glad to oblige himself, lol. He’s probably an Obliger, too. 🙂

    • Julia Bethmann

      Haha, obliger rebellion,I love that. You obligers need one another

  4. Gabrielle Dearman

    I tested as an obliger too. I give 110% at work in my nanny job, I am productive and super creative. At home, I set intentions to create and check things off my to-do list, but end up in my pajamas laying on the couch watching tv for 6 hours every night. :/

    • Julia Bethmann

      Yup! Well it makes sense you need some down time, but think about how you can make while in pjs in front of the tv? I sometimes keep a small stash of collage papers and a glue stick nearby and can just pick it up anytime!

  5. Phill Rushmere

    How interesting. I tested as a questioner, and it wasn’t until I read the following statement I confirm to myself it was very true!

    “They tend to take direction only from people they respect.”

    I’ve wanted to do some more zines for a while, so that’s what i’m going to do!

    • Julia Bethmann

      I’m excited to see what you make!

  6. Talita Chaves

    I did the quiz and I realized that I’m an obliger too! That’s why Get Messy community is so important for me! Here, I can remember that I do have the right to resist less for my inner expectations – such as make art everyday! I have the tendency to put myself in second place. Thanks for the tutorial and for this amazing reminder: that’s all I had to read today <3

    • Julia Bethmann

      It can be helpful to have someone else to be accountable to, Get Messy can help with that! I think there are even accountability groups in the forums!

      • Talita Chaves

        Great idea, Julia! I’ll do that! These accountability groups will help a lot! Thanks for the advice 🙂

  7. Heidi Lilley

    I had no doubt in my mind when I started looking at the brief descriptions which one I was going to be, but decided, what the heck and took the quiz. YUP, I’m a rebel. But I basically knew that about myself. Is why I’m so stubborn about posting most anything I do on social media, or being even somewhat consitant on creating 🙁

  8. Debbie Bamberger

    Well, I’m a rebel! Shocker. Haha.

  9. Kristin

    Questioner here <3

  10. Anika

    Apparently, I’m an upholder. But I thought I was a questioner, so now I’m not sure which. I’ve been pretty good at keeping my own habits and I also would feel a commitment to others. So maybe the upholder is true for me.

    This topic reminds me of a recent podcast episode I listened to, How to Use Your Personality to Win at Wellness on The Feel Good Effect podcast. I like the idea of identifying how our personality affects different parts of our life, including art and wellness.

  11. Sasha Zinevych

    It’s amazing that you are able to dedicate yourself to projects with so much control and responsibility, Julia!

    • Sasha Zinevych

      Oh, and I am a Questioner! 😉

  12. Ashley Rodgers

    I just finished reading that book! I’m an Obliger, so I have to create external accountability to meet inner expectations. It totally made sense in terms of achieving personal life goals, but I hadn’t even thought about how that tendency affects my art practice. Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. Lauren

    I am so jealous of you upholders!! Im with Ashley, Im an obliger and need that acccountability – so I found projects like the 100 day project + sharing online are so helpful for me. Thanks so much for sharing your process. I love a peek into an upholder’s mind 😉

  14. Maura Flood

    It turns out that I am a Questioner. I’m like the small child who keeps asking “but why” over and over! When it comes to accountability for creating every day, I will have to answer to myself.