Be prompted by Tanyalee

Why do you art journal?

I have always been a creative person, from as long as I can remember, and I discovered art journaling right back in the early days of Get Messy. Originally I art journaled as a way to re-direct my creativity. I was a graphic designer with strict style guide rules and felt like I needed the creative freedom and art was a good method for that. My employment has changed since then, and now I find myself heading to my art journal to express my thoughts and emotions. It is freeing and empowering in many ways. 

How do you live a creative life?

Creativity is in my blood (thanks Grandma for your crochet inspiration, and Mum for her sewing inspiration). I actually don’t know a life without creativity in it. I am always looking for creative endeavours whether they are DIY home decor ideas, painting projects, gardening (alternate creativity) or art journaling. So basically, every spare minute I have, I am being creative. 

Define art journaling.

Art journaling to me a creating in a book. It can include journaling, or not. Basically I don’t think there are any rules for it. You find a book or a sheet of paper and get messy with it.

What is your biggest barrier to creating? How do you conquer that hurdle?

My biggest hurdle is finding the ‘spare moments’ I mentioned above. Over the last 12 to 18 months I haven’t had many. I’ve been extremely busy with work, and with other extra-curricular activities like sport. I have also got a fairly large household with adult children still living at home. So family time and everything that goes along with it takes priority. I have no excuses though really. I have the space and the supplies and I could sacrifice a little ‘scrolling’ time for art. But you know how it is. 

What has been your biggest lesson when it comes to creating art?

I’ll keep this simple. Don’t compare yourself to others! It doesn’t help and isn’t productive. You do you, boo. 

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

See above 🙂 

What is your go-to technique or tool?

My favourite technique is watercolour. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly skilled but I love its dreamy flowy, cloudlike effect. And you can build on it in so many ways. 

What do you do when you don’t like a page you’ve made?

I have two approached to pages I’m not happy with. One is to close the journal and let it be for a while. Sometimes when you come back to something you might change your mind. If you really don’t like when I come back to it, then I will paint over it with gesso or add new layers until something magical happens. 

Have you ever been through artist block? How do you overcome it?

Artist block is the worst. And it happens to me quite regularly and I actually don’t have a magic cure for it. The best thing I can say is to just go with it. If you can’t make yourself make something, just let it run its course. Your creativity will come back and you will become unblocked at some stage. 

What does community do for your creating?

Having a community to join in with has been so beneficial for my creativity. I have ‘met’ people from all over the world with similar interests and it has allowed me to pursue a love of art. If I hadn’t met these people, I don’t think I would be anywhere near as passionate and creative as I am now. It creates a drive and inspires me to keep making things and sharing them. 

What tips do you have for beginners?

Just start! Pick a notebook/journal, grab some magazines, a glue stick and some craft paint and play around with. And join the Art Journaling for Beginners class at Get Messy, or the class I developed ‘Messy Pages’. It is full of beginner tips and will help loosen up your creative muscles.

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

If in doubt I will always go to my beloved watercolour and just splash it around on a page and see what happens. I tend to work intuitively so once I have something on the page, I will be inspired to try something else. Working intuitively might seem really hard for some people if they like to have rules and steps to follow, but I find it freeing. I didn’t always work that way though, so don’t give up if you struggle. It will come with time.

How do you find the time to make things?

Good question! I have a lot going on in my life with family, sport, work and other hobbies. The simple answer is to make time – schedule it in your diary and sit at your art desk. Even if it is just for 10 minutes. 

Do you have a creative process?

Not really. I just do what comes naturally. Most times I will start a page with a layer of collage or paint and then see where that leads me. I’m not good with ‘rules’ – I’m a rebel at heart – and that means I just work freely. In my early days of art journaling I would follow the prompts from Get Messy religiously. Now I don’t even look at them. I use the season topic and just riff off of it. Sometimes I will watch a video or two, or check out Instagram and be inspired by something there too.

Tanyalee Kahler

Tanyalee is a mum to three grown up kids, a wife to her childhood sweetheart, a full time graphic designer and a part time crafter/art journaler. She loves growing veggies to feed her family, she loves raising her fur babies (cats, rabbits and guinea pigs) and she loves spending her spare time just pottering around her house. Tanyalee LOVES being at home more than anything else – as long as her family is nearby.

Action Steps

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welcome our wonderful guest host for the season over on her Instagram page – @tanyaleekahler