Drawing the things from your daily life is a playful way to keep an illustrated journal. You’ll be amazed by how easily you fill up blank pages with your doodles and drawings once you’ve started. The creative process makes you become more conscious and aware of the choices you make in your life. You’ll be surprised how your own story and purpose unfolds.

Keeping an illustrated journal changed my life. I reclaimed my creative self and became more connected to myself than ever before. Drawing makes my heart happy. It makes me be. It makes me believe in my dreams again.

Laurien BaartMay these 10 tips for kickstarting your illustrated journal be help you to reclaim your creative self. Please never forget that your heart has what it takes!

Love, Lau

Shopping first.

Plan some me-time to visit a local art supply shop. Your intention of making space in your life for your creativity is worth a celebration. Going to a shop also has the advantage that you can feel and test the materials. On top of that you can get advice from experts. I created a yummy ‘Art Buffet’ on Pinterest where you find delicious art supplies.

Yes, I want to be inspired by this Pinterest Board.

Do this to your budget.

I encourage you to start low-budget when you’re getting your new art supplies for your illustrated journal. Don’t get me wrong, you deserve quality stuff but consider this: you’re starting. Keep it light and playful! Also, you won’t feel guilty if you don’t use them every day. If you get hooked you can always treat yourself with another trip to the art supply shop.


Start small and dream big.

Get yourself a small sketchbook to begin with. Go for a journal that’s passport size for example. When the pages are smaller it’s easier to fill them up. Look for a sketchbook with blank pages, preferably thick paper so that it works well with watercolour. Again, it totally depends on your budget which one to go with.

Keeping it light is key.

Get a small watercolour set that fits in your bag. I personally like the ‘Van Gogh’ watercolour set of 12. It’s not as expensive as a professional brand like Winston & Newton for example but the quality’s sufficient. You can always buy refills or choose new colours for it.

Laurien Baart illustrated journal

Get yourself a water brush pen my friend!

These pens are fabulous because they have water inside so you can draw everywhere. I prefer the Pentel water brush above the other brands that are on the market.

Go for waterproof ink.

Try a couple of different waterproof (black) pens. It’s very personal which one you prefer so you’ll have to test them first. Next, choose the one that works best for you. I write waterproof here because when your pen isn’t, the ink will run when you apply watercolour on it.

Creative retreat

Skip sketching with a pencil in you illustrated journal.

Instead of sketching with a pencil first, just start drawing with pen. I know this is scary! But keep calm and carry on, it’s just pen and paper. Give yourself permission to play and make mistakes. Learn from them as you go. Oh, and don’t forget to giggle.

Feel inspired.

Look around you for inspiration. Everything, and I mean everything, becomes interesting when you draw it. On the internet you’ll find tons of inspirational quotes, journal prompts, tutorials and challenges. If you really want to treat yourself on an online creative adventure you might be interested in one of the courses provided by  sketchbook skool. Let your curiosity guide you and try different things. See what you enjoy, amaze yourself!


Laurien Baart

If you feel inspired and you’d like to join a creative retreat in the Netherlands or San Sebastián please sign up for the creative retreat newsletter. Click on the link below:

Yay, keep me posted about upcoming creative retreats!

Go for it!

To draw or not to draw? Well, not drawing is losing out. I mean it’s always better to just give it a try.

Keep going and spread the love.

You’re amazing! You’re making art and you’re having fun. By reclaiming your creativity you become more of your whole beautiful self. Your heart has what it takes. Live by it!

You might be looking for a new notebook. Or you’d like to surprise a friend and encourage her to make art in an illustrated journal and reclaim her creative self.

Click on the link below to check LAU’s notebook collection:


Yes, take me to L A U’s  (he) A R T   S H O P



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