Overcoming My Art Journaling Fear

Hey friends!

The first thing I need to tell you is that I WAS TOM HANKS IN THIS SCENE when I made this bread. You must watch the clip (go to about 2 minutes in) to fully understand what was happening in my kitchen. Yes, that was me lol. I used my bread machine to make the dough using this recipe (which was excellent) but I used these instructions to make it look like a pumpkin that my husband didn't realize was a pumpkin. (It's clearly a pumpkin.)  

Look at me living my best life with my Dorothy Hamill haircut lol.

So how are you faring as we head into Thanksgiving week? Do you have your menu all planned out? Is your playlist ready? I can tell you I am NOT listening to Taylor Swift ever again because I've had Anti Hero in my head for weeks now.

My brother and I are having a sleepover at my dad's house before the big day and plan to spend all Thanksgiving day cooking together. I love hanging out and laughing with him and my dad. Our family's irreverent sense of humor is a visible thread that connects us. Last month we all got together to press cider and it was a blast. So it's been my goal since then to have some kind of activity for us to do whenever we're all together.  This Thanksgiving my brother is bringing his drone so we can get some good aerial photos of the property and spy on the neighbors. And then we'll eat a huge feast that my brother the chef has cooked and all I have to do is make pumpkin bars and green beans. Easy peasy.

I've been thinking a lot about the evolution of my art journaling practice recently. Because I've finally shifted into a place of comfort and joy rather than comparing myself to allllllll the art journals and sketchbooks I see on instagram.

Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love getting peeks into other people's sketchbooks! I love seeing the elaborate spreads in their journals because it amazes me! Because it looks so GREAT and you can't edit it in photoshop right? You have to get it right the first time.

So. Much. Pressure.

For the longest time, I wanted to be an art journaler. But in my brain is the voice of the person I was 10 years ago who was sitting in my cubicle and longing for a creative practice like other "real" creative people who were not me. 

I've shared a bit about my creative journey here in this blog but in a nutshell: the person I was ten years ago before I ever picked up a paintbrush is very alive in my head. And that voice would always tell me the same thing: You're going to mess up and then you can't post it on instagram. And then you can't do one of those cool flip-through-your-sketchbook videos because you only have three pages in yours because you tore them all out.


Can you imagine? Tailoring your art practice around Instagram? Well, yes, that was me.

So I've felt compelled to share this because if you don't already keep a sketchbook, art journaling really is fun and impactful and a meaningful creative practice when you aren't over-analyzing like me lol. At some point (maybe because I'm 50 and at this age I've just let a lot of that kind of sh*t go) I just said, I really like keeping this journal and I'm going to keep it just for me.

Like for this page I'd never used oil pastels before and I can't say I'm a fan yet but hey! It was fun to try something new! Just for that reason alone. And I didn't know what to draw so I just traced my hand because you can't go wrong with that, right? People have been tracing their hands on cave walls for thousands of years so I think I'm in pretty good company.

So friends, I plan on sharing my art journaling here more often and maybe we can find ways to art journal together. Here are some titles I'm considering for future art journaling courses:

  • How to make friends with your crooked writing and blobby art style.
  • Journaling without the panic attacks.
  • How to be an art journaler if you never thought you were an art journaler kind of person.
  • How to finally use all the art supplies you've hoarded.

It's a work in progress...

Do you keep an art journal or sketchbook? If so, how does social media or outside comparisons affect your practice? Are you interested in online group art journaling courses here?


  • Kate

    Ha! Those course titles are ALL me! Sign me up! I have journals but still feel all the pressure and struggle to sit down to do anything in them unless I feel “in the zone” and like I can make something pretty. It’s a work in progress. Love this post ❤️
    Little Truths Studio replied:
    Yes! At times like those I stare at a blank page for a looooooong time lol Mine are a work in progress too. :)

  • Lisa

    What does it mean that I nodded “yes” to each of your potential course titles? I was especially attracted to the one about using hoarded art supplies… years ago I had read—or perhaps listened to—an interview with someone close to Stanley Kubrick and the person described how they could have opened a stationery or art supply store with all the notebooks and materials Kubrick had hoarded. He just couldn’t resist, and never wanted to be without materials he found useful/attractive. I completely understood this, and felt somewhat comforted by this revelation.
    Little Truths Studio replied:
    Yes! That actually makes me feel better…if it worked for Stanley Kubrick…. I just love notebooks of all kinds and I need one for every idea I have and I need one in every room… in case I get a revelation in that room I have a notebook to use to record my brilliance!

  • Nina

    Well: Yes, I keep a LOT of art journals and sketchbooks. But they are all empty except for the first and second page (first page: “ART JOURNAL” in reeeeeeally nice writing, second page: ugly painting I am very ashamed of).
    So, I would take every course of your four suggestions. :-)
    Little Truths Studio replied:
    Yep, this is ME too! Try considering one of those sketchbooks as your play/experimental sketchbook. Everything in it will be for learning, absolutely no expectation that anything is going to look “reeeeeeeally nice.” Once I shifted my expectations it really helped me. Just keep going!!

  • Aleta

    Yes I’d like to see an art journal class/s here. I do keep a sketchbook/journal. I am not consistent at all and sometimes grab one that was for collage and then paint in it.
    I try and not compare myself with anyone on social media. It is such a creative sucker that I’ve been only looking at IG or Facebook one or two times a week. If I have a class coming up or a sale (this time of year), I will post and look at what my friends are up to. I feel much better about myself after I started limiting my time on social media.
    Thank you for this post. I will get my journal out and slop a little paint around. Happy Holidays.
    Little Truths Studio replied:
    I totally agree about social media, I struggle with it too. I just feel better when I let myself be imperfect at something but it’s been a struggle… Paint sloppers unite! :)

  • Anne

    What a lovely post, Lori!

    1. Playing that clip of Tom Hanks started my dog Clara barking (not sure what she thought it was!).

    2. Yes, of course, it’s a pumpkin! I love the stem!

    3.I can completely relate to the pressure of gorgeous sketchbooks and art journals. For YEARS and YEARS it kept me from creating like that, but I started not caring and now I love playing in mine. Keeping much of it private helps. After all, I don’t share my written journals, why should I share my art journals?

    Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!
    Little Truths Studio replied:
    Yes! The idea that it’s PLAY allows for experimentation and imperfection which is just so freeing. I had strictly seen my art journaling as an extension of my business because it needed to be shared on instagram and therefore needed to be perfect. Sigh…. We learn and unlearn. :)

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Hi Friends!

I’m Lori Roberts

At the heart of Little Truths Studio is a shared journey. To be better humans. To make the world more beautiful with our actions and intentions. To declare our values into being. I speak these truths through gentle art, thoughtful words and a desire to embrace a slower, kinder way of life. Learn more about me >