1. Tell us about yourself. What made you start journaling and when did you start?
My name is Tina and I live in the West of Germany with my love.I am a journal addict and snail mail lover. A letter writer, tree hugger and chocoholic. I am an introvert and creative soul expressing my world of emotions, impressions and experiences through journaling. And this actually is the reason why I started my journal journey. As an introvert, creative person I always needed to express myself in the written word and arts. As a person who is literally living in her head, who needs a lot of alone time, I often struggle to communicate and express myself. I needed a way to process, reflect and communicate my thoughts and feelings.
In my early years as a teenager I already did the “light version” of journaling. I always loved to keep a photo album and added handwritten notes, headlines and scraps of paper from magazines or stickers to it. And I kept a diary to document my daily life and everything in between. My love was always drawn to notebooks, paper, pen, ink and prints. So somehow this love for the analogue has always been a part of me throughout my life until today.
But I guess it was in 2014 when I discovered the creative community on Instagram with like minded people who shared the same love & passion. It wasn´t before December 2014 when I started my own account as @pastelpaperplane, bringing myself out there. I guess since then I tried many different ways of journaling & memory keeping, planning & documenting until I finally discovered my way of journaling with the Travelers Notebooks in the middle of 2015.
2. What journal are you using right now? Do you have more than 1 for various purposes? Do you have any specific qualities you look for in a journal?
The main journal I use at the moment the most is my art journal insert in my Midori Traveler´s Notebook. It´s my favorite one for quite a while now. Besides that I have a few Traveler´s notebooks with several inserts for different purpose. For example do I have an ink log where I keep track of my fountain pens, nibs & inks. I have an insert for washi tape samples and another one for my rubber stamp collection. I also always take a journal with me on vacations to document my travels. I love the collect all the travel ephemera along the journey that I could later add to my journal. For me it´s one of the most wonderful and fun part of every vacation. Plus it´s a beautiful visual memory I never get tired of browsing through later! And last but not least not to forget my little daily companion I carry with me in my handbag. This I use to make little notes in between (e.g. ideas, lists, things I want to journal or write in my letters about, things to do or something that inspires me, etc.).
Regarding the journals I prefer quality than quantity. This means I´d invest a bit more money in a quality, preferable handmade good instead of a cheap mass product. I prefer real leather journals and I really appreciate the Traveler´s Notebook system for it´s customizability!
3. What can we find in your journal pages?
Sometimes it´s a glimpse into my soul and a mirror of my feelings. Sometimes it´s a peek into the bubble of my own little world I live in. But mostly it´s like a mixed bag of opposites. I am a deep thinker, who sees the world through strange glasses. Self-aware and insecure. Social and solitary. Fragile and tough.
All this reflects me in my journal pages… I create art collages on two pages. mostly out of paper scraps, collected ephemera, notes, quotes, washi tape and other stuff. I also document events, dates and activities I had with family and friends. I love to add little photos I printed or took with my Instax Mini camera, tickets of the event or business cards and other little things that I collected or that remind me of that day.
4. Can you share your journaling routine and journaling process? How often do you journal?
I think I don´t really have a routine or special journaling process. I either like to start journaling as soon as I got up since my thoughts are still fresh and I am usually full of creative energy or I journal in the evening, almost around midnight. I am a nocturnal soul & usually feel mostly energized at night.
I used to write diary daily or at least I tried to document my everyday life in the past. But I figured out that it´s not the way for me. Like many people do, I used to sit down and wrote in my diary mainly when dealing with a hurtful experience or difficult emotions. I also tried to document my everyday life with writing down what I did the day, week, month or with whom I spend my time with. But I noticed that it was more of a third person memory keeping instead of keeping a diary about what I´ve been really experiencing or going through. I always had a hard time to put all my thoughts & feelings into words to describe it. So I often ended up frustrated and wrote nothing at all. I was craving a way of documenting my life, my innermost thoughts & emotions in a way that really suits me.
Today I grab my journal whenever I feel like it. Because I know there´s no pressure to document anything but to have a wonderful creative outlet. Whenever I want to reflect on something, have to write down any kind of thoughts or emotions or just want to relax & keep my inner balance, I start journaling and enjoy the whole process. For me the best way to get creative in my journals is first of all to be at the place I feel most creative and comfortable. For me it´s my little creative corner & workspace at home. It´s decorated with lots of creative supplies, pens, paper, rubber stamps, pictures & postcards, drawers full of ephemera & other tiny art supplies. When I am at work I literally can´t wait to get home & start journaling there. When I get up at the weekend I really look forward to get into my room & get inspired there. The energy in my creative corner is always happy, positive, creative and magical. As soon as I sit at my desk, I ask myself what I would love to try or work with on my journal. Sometimes it´s watercolors, sometimes rubber stamps, sometimes scraps of paper … I really try to listen to my inner voice and just start journaling. Enjoying a hot chocolate or a coffee while journaling is perfection. Sometimes I light a candle or listen to a Podcast. It all depends on the mood I am in.
5. What are your favorite brands for journaling and why? Do you have favorite stores for supplies?
I think what will last will be things that are well-made: things with good-quality materials, good workmanship & good design. If possible I like to support small businesses so I shop local or order (worldwide) from a “one-man-business”. I appreciate custom work or brands & companies that make forward thinking products or that help me identify myself & my lifestyle with their products. I love to discover new stores, brands & products, too. So I don´t have a favorite brand in general & buy my stuff based on taste & interest. My current favorite journal jewel is my Mod Tablet 3 from This is Ground, USA . Besides that I really love my small daily companion designed by Amy from Athene Leather, USA and of course my Traveler´s Notebooks. Since I am a firm believer that thoughts, emotions, words (or whatever we want to document on paper) should be wrapped in a beautiful journal, I also want to mention my love for Paperblank journals.
6. What are your favorite journaling tools?
I really love my fountain pens, washi tape, vintage ephemera & spray paint or water colors and wooden rubber stamps.Oh and I really have a thing for wax seals & dried flowers or leaves. Such a great way to prettify gifts, letters, tags & even journal pages.
7. What’s the best thing about journaling that you wish everyone knew?
Besides the obvious fact of memory keeping, it simply helps me to connect with myself and with my core desires. It helps me to listen to my inner voice, my soul. It inspires my personal growth, to reflect on things & myself. So for me it´s not only a creative way of expressing myself but it also is kind of a healing & growth process. But all in all it´s just a great way to keep in balance, to relax & to reconnect with myself. I´ve also noticed that for me the benefit I find in art journaling is the process of creating, not in the outcome or what I create. I have a better understanding for myself now.
8. Any tips on how people can get started with journaling?
Just go with the flow, do not overthink and just write, draw, scrap, doodle or glue without thinking too much about the outcome. Find your own voice and listen to it. Fear, inner criticism or the wish for perfection will often be a part of any creative journey. And I know a blank page in front of you can somehow be overwhelming. Don´t be afraid to try new things or mess around. Just listen to your inner voice. Create and journal for yourself & the fun of it, not to impress or get the approval of others. The probably best advice I ever got is, to just write down whatever pops up in my mind. Without overthinking it, without filtering it, without putting too much thoughts into it. Doesn´t matter if it´s a keyword that describe how I feel or a quote I can relate to. Or just a simple question that pops up in my head. Trust the process and enjoy the creative journey! And actually no fancy materials or expensive tools are necessary to get started & create. It actually just takes a pen & a journal & maybe a place to feel comfortable journaling at.
If someones is totally into social media I really recommend to create an Instragram account and to connect with like-minded, creative and inspiring people out there. Search for hashtags like #travelersnotebook #artjournal or #mixedmedia.
9. What is inspiring you right now in your journaling journey?
Right now I am mainly inspired by hand-lettered creations & watercolor illustrations. And I am always drawn to everything moon phases, traveling, maps, astronomy, nature, etc. related! But in general I am inspired by emotions, quotes, music I am listening to or things that happen in my life or my environment. The people I spend my time with often inspire me. Sometimes I just watch people, nature, animals, street life…. As mentioned before do I always carry a small notebook & a pen with me. So that I can write down little notes from ideas, thoughts & questions that pop up in my mind. That makes up for great journal inspiration later! Sometimes a conversation with a friend inspires me as well as the episode of a TV series or movie I watched the other night.
And not to forget the inspiration I find through all the creative muses on Instagram. It´s such a wonderful, inspiring and motivating community.
If you’re restricted to journaling using only 2 tools, what would these 2 tools be and why?
At first I thought I would never be able to just pick two tools. But the more I think about it the less I really need. It´s nice to have all the art supplies & tools because the whole process of using them makes me happy. But if I really have to choose I´d probably take one of my Lamy Safari fountain pens & some roll of my favorite Chamil Garden washi tape.
All photos above are from Tina. 🙂