Categorie: Journaling

10 tips for kickstarting your illustrated journal

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



7 questions for a heart-centered life and business.

You might feel that some things in your life or in your business aren’t serving you any longer. But you can’t quite put your finger on it. Perhaps you’re feeling tired and not good enough. 

This happened to me and I realized it was because of certain words that I’d been using quite often. Words are powerful and some of these’d become my mindset. A mindset however, can trick you if it’s not aligned with your heart.  

This insight and these 7 questions helped me to connect with my heart again.

Laurien Baart
Laurien Baart
heARTcentered 1


What do I value the most? Am I true to it?


How can I be kinder to myself?


When I listen to my heart, what does it say?

Play more:

When do I feel most alive?


Which expectations am I willing to release?


Where can I show more of my truth right now?

Go home:

What are my instincts trying to tell me?

May your answers bring you closer to your heart. Please don’t forget that your heart has what it takes!

Laurien Baart

P.S. Check in with your heart every day. Take a moment to connect and listen!


Believe in magic

Laurien Baart

What were your creative plans before you had to make a living? What dreams did you have before you became responsible for others?

Let me guess; you’d be a painter, a dancer, a photographer, a goldsmith, a writer or a musician.

You felt so alive. Bursting with creative energy and ideas. Feeling inspired and unstoppable. You were (and still are!) a beautiful little bundle of pure joy, energy and confidence.

Along the way, that inner creative fire slowly died. But you know what? It only needs one tiny magical spark. And that’s possible for everyone! You can choose to rewrite your future life story. If you decide to do things differently from this very moment on.

You are and you belong.

Decide to reclaim your what’s truly yours. Your creativity is your unique voice and when you use it, magic will happen. Don’t just sit and wait for it to happen though. It’s in the action and in the doing where you’ll feel those sparks of inspiration, passion and joy.

Which stories of the past are you letting go? How will you rewrite your future life story?


Laurien Baart

Dream it, Draw it, Do it!

I’d like to give you an insight in a new journal that I started a couple of weeks ago. I feel that if I draw my dreams I start living them and that’s why I love art-journaling so much. Just draw it 🙂 All right, easier said than done so as less is more I’ve been using less colours and more black ink for these drawings, and guess what?!  It makes things way less complicated; less options mean less thinking for me and I like the effect it has.


Dreamit Drawit Doit 1 Laurien Baart

Dreamit Drawit Doit 2 Laurien Baart

Dreamit Drawit Doit 3 Laurien Baart

Dreamit Drawit Doit 6 Laurien Baart

Dreamit Drawit Doit 7 Laurien Baart

Dreamit Drawit Doit 8 Laurien Baart

Dreamit Drawit Doit 9 Laurien Baart

Dreamit Drawit Doit 10 Laurien Baart

Dreamit Drawit Doit 11 Laurien Baart Dreamit Drawit Doit 13 Laurien Baart

Dreamit Drawit Doit 15 Laurien Baart


Have you ever experienced a case of LESS IS MORE when you were creating something?


Laurien Baart

P.S. In case you want to know; this is a small journal from Talens, Art creations; 12cm x 12cm and it costs 2,50 euro. I bought it in San Sebastián (Spain) but I’ve seen it in art shops in the Netherlands too. I’ve used an uni-ball micro pen and a micron 01 pen en a mini van gogh watercolour set.

Dating a creative type

¨One of the basic tools of The Artist’s Way is the Artist Date: a once- weekly, solo effort to do something fun, and alone. An Artist Date is not meant to be high art. It’s simply to take yourself out on a ‘date’ that sounds like an adventure you would enjoy. ¨ From the book the Artist’s way for parents by Julia Cameron.

Last year I worked through Julia Cameron’s ¨El camino del Artista¨ and going on an Artist Date became part of my weekly routine: I went on solo surf and swim sessions, strolled along markets,  shopped in second-hand shops, watched movies, spent time in bookshops, the library and attended a workshop. As a new mom I want to set the stage for enthusiasm and go on creative adventures with my son. Getting to know him, discovering what mom I am and how I want to be as a mom are part of the journey. Now that he’s so little our dates are more ‘mini Artist Dates’ but that’s just fine.

When we were in San Sebastián we visited the (free) exhibition ¨Berenice Abbott’s Topografías¨ at Tabakalera and I made this journal page. As I was with Erwin I didn´t have much time, however, even half an hour looking at art inspired me.


Artist date Laurien Baart


I hope you’ll try to go on an Artist date too! I’m excited for you as for me it connects me to myself more than anything.


Laurien Baart

P.S. If you’re an artist or you just want to start looking for a more creative way of living I can recommend Julia Cameron’s book the Artist’s way.

Where have you been?

Lately, I was in baby- and breastfeedingwonderland. Here are some of my journal pages of my first weeks as a mama. Full of all the things. We’ve been sharing our lives for seven weeks with our wee man and so far they’ve been the best, most beautiful and most intens!








My life with baby Erwin is at times overwhelming and I need to do some things that I love so I’ve been drawing almost every day (a shower, coffee and a green smoothie are also part of the package:). The drawings don’t always turn out the way I want but done’s better than perfect…

If you had to think of some small things that don’t take a lot of time but give you an energy boost. What’d they be? 

Laurien Baart

Tiny Book of Life

The truest story of your life is found in the every day moments shared with the people that matter the most to you. And THAT’s a story worth sharing.

Lau Lau  Lau  Lau

I illustrated such a beautiful story by creating a Tiny Book of Life for a friend whose husband passed away. It’s a pocket size, hand-illustrated memory book about the life of her loved one. The process of making a Tiny Book of Life has been a way to get in touch with feelings and to connect with others. It also provided an opportunity to talk about life and all the great memories.

This is what she said about the Tiny Book of Life: “For a while now, I’m carrying a Tiny Book of Life in my purse wherever I go. It’s a little book with beautiful drawings made with love! As Laurien needed our input for the drawings, the process of creating the little book wasn’t always easy because memories came up and this made me feel sad, happy and grateful. Talking with Laurien did me well and choosing treasures  (the most precious memories) for the drawings helped me in my process of grieving. I especially appreciate her patience and time.” Lia, Tilburg, The Netherlands.

In this short video you can see the result. This Tiny Book is in Dutch and I anonymized some names and dates for privacy reasons.

A tiny book of life:

  • tells the story of a lifetime;
  • makes memories last;
  • is a personal gift;
  • is tiny so you can keep it with you;
  • helps you to connect with your feelings;
  • can help you to share stories about your loved one;
  • is an ode to life;

Lots of love,


The magical nine

Laurien Baart

Nine months ago we started our biggest adventure and now we’re getting closer and closer to meeting our little baby. I was reflecting on the last nine, crazy, miraculous months. Apart from being pregnant, we moved countries, I started B-School, I created and launched my website and we made a new home. A little note to self here; next time try one life event at a time 😉

Life changes constantly and pregnancy is a very special time of transformation and growth.They say you ¨grow into it¨ and I think that’s about right. It inspired me to draw these nine matryoshka dolls. They nestle inside each other perfectly, yet each one’s different.


While I created these magical nine my thoughts were with my mama and her mama, my sisters, my girlfriends, my aunties and all the (want) (to be) mamas.

When you look at the drawings please send some loving thoughts too!



About my space

When you have space, you have room in your life for things to happen.

I wanted to create a special place for me to write and draw and this is it. It’s about 2m2; simple and all I need. I want my space to be Sacred, Playful, Authentic, Constructive and Enerziging.



Do you have a special place in your home that is just for you? Do you have any rituals or special items in that space? And what makes your space YOU?