Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Guest Blog: Art Book Journaly Thing

My third guest blogger for this series is Faustine Vaughn. I am grateful for her time in putting this post together and being willing to share of herself on my blog. Read Faustine's "About Me" at the end of this post to learn a little more about her. Enjoy!


Please note: All photos are the property of Faustine Vaughn. If you use one of them elsewhere, please credit Ms. Vaughn in keeping with copyright law.

When Amelia asked me to contribute to this series of guest blog posts, I was willing to play along, but also wondered to myself “Why? My planner isn’t especially elaborate or scrapbooky!” But I started thinking about it, and surprisingly, somewhere along the way it did kind of develop into a planner with “art journaly” aspects. Using planners as art journals, scrapbooks, or outlets for creative expression does seem to be exploding in popularity lately – at least based on what I see in social media and online art journal groups. 

One example that immediately comes to mind is the Hobonichi Techo planner, which with its one-page-per-day format you will often find people using watercolors and sketching to document their activities or moods each day. The Erin Condren Life Planner and Plum Paper Planners are also popular methods for people to express their artistic side via weekly “life” planners, albeit because of the space restrictions of a weekly layout, they tend to use stickers and tape rather than watercolors and sketches. But the end result is the same, people are really enjoying expressing themselves with their planners, and as I looked back at my completed weekly planner pages, I realized I was too.

How did I arrive at a weekly planner layout? Because it best suits my needs for a personal planner right now. I don’t have a lot of daily appointments or intricate task lists that require a one-page-per-day planner format. I have some reminders and to-dos, and thought about starting to track meals or fitness somehow. I knew I wanted to use a discbound notebook rather than a Filofax or other ring-bound system, but wasn’t finding any printable planners that I liked enough to put in my notebook and make a DIY planner. So what’s a girl to do? Make her own, of course!

Choosing a Format:

I decided to use the Erin Condren/Plum Paper Planner weekly layout style, with the empty boxes for morning/afternoon/evening to inspire my own Pretty Pretty Planner refill pages, as shown here.

I kept the weekly day columns divided into sections, and added secondary sections for checklists and a meal/fitness tracker, leaving it open rather than super-specific, as that suited me better. I thought that I’d buy all sorts of stickers and washi tape, and decorate my pages alongside with my appointments, to-do lists, and planned meals - and generally be all sorts of organized! But … I was all gung-ho about the format, and didn’t actually stop to think if I had enough actual “planning” data to fill them! 


What actually happened, as I soon found out, is that I had lots of blank pages. The sticker thing I wasn’t much into; I couldn’t get into just having a glorified sticker book. And besides, they cost money and take up space to store them! The washi tape too soon became cumbersome. And so, the emptiness stared at me, and I stopped carrying it around with me. Which just was not acceptable! So instead, I started filling my blank spaces with doodles. Nice big random doodles that suddenly gave my planner a more interesting and colorful look.

I think it really started when I made sarcastic comments about my inability to complete a task I'd put on my planner ("Pay Your Mortgage" for those interested - I did pay it eventually. By the end of the week). I kept moving it from day to day, and it made me giggle to keep putting the reminder. But also, it made me less nervous about “messing up” my planner pages.

Art Book Journaly Thing

I then moved on to doodling next to meetings or appointments, just to have something to doodle about. Usually these involved coffee. Coffee comes up often in my planners.

And since I never knew what to actually DO with the “evening” section boxes (because really, we go home, cook dinner, watch some TV or read, and go to bed – what’s to schedule!?) I started putting weekly TV shows I was looking forward to watching, or book titles I was reading.

Because I live in Colorado, land of insane weather patterns, it can be miserably snowy in the morning and a sunny 70 degrees by evening. So I started doodling whatever the weather was, whether it made for a bad commute, that kind of thing. And so a lot of mornings my planner had both coffee AND weather doodles - haha.

I also started to doodle things to note for my timesheets, like telework days, vacation leave, etc.

And used doodles to enhance my shopping and to-do list items.

I started to use it for keeping track of big events or projects at home too.

I’m even starting to do something similar with my monthly calendar pages – they are the most neglected part of my planner, as I’m always forgetting to use it aside from bill reminders. So I’ve started adding fun little doodles or splashes of color when I can.

As you may have noticed, I keep my doodles small and compact - quick casual scribbles that made me happy, just to have something on the page. For inspiration I’d try to pick an emotion or something unique from the day to use as my subject, but nothing that required thought or planning - if I thought about it too much, I’d over-analyze, and then stall and put nothing in my planner.

The Rebel Inside... Or Outside

And, over time, I’ve started branching out BEYOND the borders of my little morning/ afternoon/night sections. Across days even! Whoo boy, I don’t know if I’m ready for this….I’ve only just started doing it so it still seems a little …. Rebellious? You mean I can draw OUTSIDE THE LINES!?


I plan to continue these art journal explorations in my planner - as I've been adding these doodles, I discovered that I really liked flipping through the previous week's pages and seeing how much I hated my commute that morning or how badly I needed coffee before that staff meeting. It's a great way to enhance the planner experience and make it more of a memory book as well. I hope you enjoyed seeing my process in this blog post.

About Me 

I’m an accountant by day, but like to indulge in my planner, pen, and art obsessions whenever possible. I live on coffee, name my dogs after Star Trek engineers, and can’t seem to quit Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch. Visit my blog at to join me on my explorations.