where I share about art journaling and things that inspires me

I have been Zined!

I had an intense end of last week, both work wise and fun wise. It feels like I have a lot going on ahead too. A lot of fun included but still I feel a bit overwhelmed and not sure when I’ll find that precious alone time. I do take time for art, at least a little every day, that’s what keeps me sane. 

Last monday we were busy cleaning our home, preparing for some over night guests and after having done a lot I found an envelope on our kitchen table (sneaky husband not telling me at once), from China. I was expecting fun mail, but not from there. I knew though that the only person that I have contact with over there is Vanessa so I got curious. Inside I found this:

I squealed so high in delight that my husband almost jumped off his chair (an exaggeration but almost…). It was a Zine from the Zine Squad made for me, and I didn’t have a clue! Look at the theme: The Coloring Zine! I love colouring and have even attempted to make a page of my own. Thank you so much Katie (blog), Julia (blog), Vanessa (blog) and guest collaborator Ammie, I am truly honoured! This was perfect timing, I really needed something fun and happy that day. Make sure to go to their blogs and Instagram accounts linked above and read more about this cool zine, they all are truly inspiring artists. 

The Zine Squad collaborate on themed zines and surprise people in their creative network with them. To find out more about the Zine Squad, listen to this podcast episode by How She Creates.


I can’t get over how yummy this zine is and am eager to colour it! 

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Season of Gifts – Week 3 & 4

This past week has been a busy week, visiting friends and family, celebrating the New Year and even some work. There has not been so much art journaling. I did get the chance to art journal and paint alongside my sister-in-law and my little nephew. That was fun. Both of the pieces I am showing today I did work on that day. First the Get Messy Season of Gifts Week 4.


I made the foundation that day, it’s a mixture of collage and Neocolor II’s. I knew I had to bring in Christ in the season of gifts, especially since it recently was Christmas.

When I paint I always have a scrap paper to smear of excess paint on. The piece below is such a one, that I had when I painted the star on week 2 for Season of Gifts.  I added some Sharpie lines on it. I think I will use it for a collage.


I made another one for week 2 of Season of Gifts. Why should Christmas be coloured red, green and so on. These are my dream baubles….


They were gelliprinted on wax paper, not totally happy with the result, the colour comes easily off when writing on it.

And now I leave you with week three of Season of Gifts.


Made of scraps and ephemera. The chequered strips are a concert wrist band, the clouds candy wrappers and the plant is partly cut out from a potato crisp bag. The tag came with a pair of jeans I bought a long time ago.

Enjoy 2017!


Season of Gifts Week 1 & 2 and more

It has been kind of crazy lately and I haven’t had time to post in a while. In a few days it is Christmas Eve, which is the main celebration day here in Sweden. We are working but will have a quiet Christmas dinner in the evening. We will celebrate with family some days later. It feels quite ok. I sleep on call the night to Christmas Eve and will spend the morning on a date with myself, I guess I could call it an Artist Date. I will have breakfast on a café and spend some time art journaling. 

Right now the Get Messy Art Journal Community is in week three of Season of Gifts. Below are my first two weeks. I am using an A6-sized journal this time, made of wrapping supplies, inspired by a tutorial for this season made by The Drawing Board. I love the small size and feel that I can accomplish pages in the midst of the holiday buzz.


This above is Week 1, I had just received the Liquitex Muted Collection Inks, the colours are beautiful and I had to start to try them out. Here they are a little diluted. I am eager to use them more, and would love to have the Soft Body and Heavy Body acrylic sets too.


Week 2, I wanted to journal about one of my favourite Christmas Songs – Gläns över sjö och strand (Betlehems Stjärna), you can hear it in English here. When I listened to it and painted I was reminded of how my mum used to play this on the piano and sing, I thought that it was so beautiful and that she was so great at playing. I became warm inside and was thinking of angels. For me this song sparks joy and feel like I am floating in the air.


A while ago I got exciting mail. I have coveted the Get Messy x Malala Art Journal Magazine for a long time but the postage to Sweden is horrendous. A bunch of us European Get Messians got together and ordered it in bulk which was much cheaper. Anke was kind and coordinated the order and when she sent me my copy she also sent me a poster she has created. It truly made my day, I was bedridden with migraine so happy mail cheered me up. She hasn’t put this one up for sale on Etsy yet, but you’ll find other cool posters there.


Today I made some Batman wrapping paper with black gesso and a cut out stencil. I had to make the glitzy tag too. It will be used to wrap art material for a drawing- and Batman-loving little boy I know.


We had a Christmas Card swap with Get Messy – we each sent one Christmas card and if we wanted, an unfinished art journal page that the recipient will finish and send back. My card for Teresa took some time to finish, some of the elements are inspired mostly from our trip to Britain this year. You can see the inspiration below, for the dove I found reference on the web. This took a lot of sketching and erasing, I did the colouring with watercolour pencils and some Neocolor II’s. I love the process but it takes too long time in order to do it often. A smaller reprinted version became our Christmas Card this year. 

I choose to make a monocrome background for the art journal page collaboration. The drawing is a scanned version of a sketch found amongst an old friend’s estate. I received a lot of his sketches and reference material. He was quite old when he passed away and had a different style but I love to incorporate his stuff in my art journal as a way of remembering him. I can’t wait to see what Teresa will create of this art journal page. Begrundan means by the way to meditate or reflect. The card inspiration from top left – a medieval carved stone in Chester, a fallen tree on Öland, a manhole (not the right word) cover in Shrewsbury and a saucer at Jane’s Enchanted Tea Garden


I’ll end this post with two of my favourite songs right now:

Freddie Wadling was a Swedish, very special singer, that passed away this year. The song Ships from 1987 with the band Blue for Two I listen to over and over again these days.

I think many has forgotten this year’s winner of the Eurovision Song Contest – Jamala – or raged over that it had a somewhat political overtone -here she tells in her own words about the song 1944:

The title of the song is «1944». I wrote it in last year, but the origins of it are in my childhood. It’s inspired by story that my grand grandmother told me when I was small. The song is about the tragedy that happened to our family and all Crimean Tatar in 1944. I mean the deportation of Crimean Tatar people from Crimea to Central Asia, the crime made by Soviet government. They packed all people to the vans like beasts for a few weeks with no food and water. Those who couldn’t survive were thrown out and left lying on the ground. My grand grandmother lost one of her daughters as well. But “1944” concerns all people who had their own horrible tragedies in the past, such as Holocaust. We should always remember and never forget them to avoid like in the future. I want to deliver this message to as many people as possible.

This content is protected by a Creative Commons License. Source: http://www.esc-plus.com/jamala-my-song-is-about-the-tragedy-that-happened-to-our-family-and-all-crimean-tatar-in-1944-ukrainian-semifinalist-exclusive-interview/

I love the song and I need it to remind myself that there are terrible things going on in the world and to feel some of the pain. Especially during Christmas when everybody is supposed to be happy.

Still I wish you a peaceful Christmas with lots of love.

Using Travel as an Inspiration for your Art Journal + a freebie

Today I want to talk a little bit about finding inspiration for your art journals when you are travelling. Specifically from your travel photos. I don’t know about you, I have been taking photos of stuff that inspires me for years, things such as floor patterns, cracks in a wall, cool architecture, shapes of nature or colours. I have probably thousands of them, but do I use them in my art? Nope. They all sits on the hard drive forgotten. Until last week when I heard Lauren Hooper speak on the How She Creates Podcast about how she uses the inspiration she collects at her travels in her art journals. That got my inspiration going! I will tell you about that soon. Lauren also just released her ecourse Travel Like An Artist about how to find and collect inspiration wether you are on a long trip around the world or exploring your home turf. Lauren is one of the hosts for my favourite art journaling community Get Messy Art Journal. 

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I went to Gran Canaria with my parents. We had a lovely trip with plenty of this:


We also travelled around a bit and had amazing food. Pretty normal charter travelling things. My husband is an introvert and I am an ambivert so I knew that both of us needed alone time, perfect time for me to do travel art journaling. I brought some supplies and a simple journal, more about this in an upcoming post.

During our trip I took quite a few photos so when I listened to the How She Creates podcast on the plane home I knew I needed to start right away. I scrolled through the photos in my phone and found quite a few that evoked something in me. Down below are some that I didn’t use for this project. These first two ones I think are quite nice photos.


This one above is quite obvious for inspiration; the colours are awesome and there are a lot of repetition going on in the shapes.


Here you can find repetition again in the vertical and almost diagonal lines in the masts. There is a feathery like cloud in the sky and in the water are wavy reflections that evokes a dreamy like quality.

Some photos turn out pretty crappy and can still inspire, below are some photos from our trip to the mountains:


The light shining through the windows onto the Christ Statue in the Church of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. I love how you can see the colours of the stained glass window even if the strong light has blown the highlights of the window. The Christ Statue is barely visible which sets the mood.


These roots grows near the peak of Roque Nublo and could symbolise that you can survive everywhere or that you are firmly planted. There is a fuzzy feeling about the green pine needles and the weird blue effect around them can be cool around an image.

On the plane home I took this photo:


Nothing I would put in an album but look at the colours, the dreamy reflexion in the window that feels like a double exposure and even the frost specks on the windows. I am in love with the feel of this.

The photos below are the ones I used for my art journal page:


Several of these are originally a small part of the original photos, that’s why the angles are awkward in the the images of window decorations. Something in each of these images intrigued and inspired me. I forgot to add this to the collage:


I don’t know how many photos of cool floors or pavings I have. This was a paving in Puerto de Mogan.

From all these ten elements I sketched this:


Can you find the inspiration photos in the line art? I think it is so cool that I could use all these elements and create an original piece of art that is truly me and also push me to try a technique I’ve never used.

Besides doing art journaling I find colouring very relaxing and now I suddenly had my very own colouring page:


All made with watercolour pencils and Neocolor II’s activated with water afterwards.

The sky was inspired by this video about turbulence and Vincent Van Gogh even though it doesn’t look like it at all.


This little fella just came to me and wanted to be in the image and I think he is my favourite in this image even if I quite like the whole painting.

Thank you for reading the whole way through. I couldn’t help myself scanning in the page and clean it up a bit for you if you’d like to colour it yourself. You can download it here. I would love to see what you create so please tag me on IG with @by.smilinthyme – that would make my day. Enjoy!



Music as an inspiration

I work in several journals at the same time. This helps me having momentum going. When one journal is drying , I can work on another. I am not finished with my Get Messy Season of Music journal and one of the prompts for that season was about listening to songs and and take inspiration from them. This is one of the pages inspired from this prompt. Here I actually worked on the base first without listening to a song. It was a day when I was a bit off and not in the mood for doing deep stuff, so I was inspired by the How She Creates podcast about collage. There they talked about the need to ”glue shit down”. It’s really therapeutic and just the right thing for that day.


Another day I decided to listen to some songs and Under Pressure with Freddie Mercury and David Bowie just stuck and I knew that I had found the journaling for that page.


This spread is not entirely done yet since this particular art journal has pages in various sizes and as you can see the left page is smaller than the left. Also there is a burnt hole in it, inspired by the very cool Vanessa of Dans Mon Crane. I got very carried away with burning holes in my journal after seeing her tutorial at Get Messy Art Journal. I haven’t tried adding stitching yet though, which I intend to do to other pages in this journal.


Please make sure you put safety first if you try to burn holes in your journal.


Shared Adventures are the Best + a Gift

I had the best raw cake this morning at our city library yesterday, it contained avocado and you couldn’t tell. So creamy and rich! I usually spend my mornings there after being on sleep call at work. This makes the day after not having much sleep much more likeable and I get more done during the rest of the day. Yesterday I took the chance to use the library’s lovely soft natural light to take photos for this post.


One of the best things that comes with being in a big art journaling community such as Get Messy Art Journal is the possibility to do collaborations. This is an adventure themed zine I made with Torrie, Moriah och Lynda. Making the zine is really an adventure in it self, it really stretches your creativity.  Torrie created the base for the zine and started it and sent it on for us to complete. We were to each create a 3-4 pages and then send it on to the next one. I was in awe when I received the zine, it was so beautiful. I hardly dared to paint in it. Then when I started it was so much fun, to work on a smaller surface was so freeing.

Here are the Adventure Zine, enjoy it in all its glory and keep reading for a gift.


Torrie printed the zine for all of us and look how beautiful she made the envelope. I wish you could see whole lettered address, it’s gorgeous, but I don’t want to put it out on the web.




So much lovely art already, it makes me smile.


In the base of the zine there were different kinds of papers; blank ones, musical scores and canvas (which was a new thing for me to work with, quite happy with the result though – above to the right).



So much diversity and styles!


Other worlds…


… and galaxies!



I was in doubt wether to do the next one to the left or not…


But since the musical score was Londonderry Air and this was played on my father-in-law’s funeral I just had to make it.


Torrie was so kind and made this zine into a black & white  download (to make it like an old school zine) and the instructions for printing you find here on her blog post. Enjoy!

PS, to cite Torrie ”Once you’ve downloaded and printed your zine, we would LOVE if you shared it with us! As an aritst, nothing jazzes me more than seeing something I’ve made in the hands of others. You can see more of the zine and share your copy on Instagram using the tag #gmadventurezine.”

Moriah has blogged about the zine too. I think Lynda is planning to too.





Dreams are on my mind

Welcome to by.smilinthyme! I’m Jenny and I live in Sweden. Today we had our very first snow and I am happy to bundle up in doors and immerse myself in art. The main focus of this blog will be about my endeavors in art journaling in different forms. I am belonging to a great art journaling community called Get Messy . It’s a wonderful group of people and the inspiration and tutorials are awesome. Right now we are in the end of the Season of Dreams, every monday for six weeks we get prompts themed around dreams. The art journal page above tells about a weird dream I had. I usually have fun in my dreams, I dream long sequences, stories really. Of course they never get finished but usually they are exciting to be in.

Not all of my dreams are lovely, although I wish they all were in pink. Some of them are feverish and scary which is represented in the spread below:


In my dreams you also can find the weird and wonderful as below. It is inspired by some tutorials in the Get Messy Community by two cool artists: Essie and Vanessa, in this post by the latter you’ll see an awesome example. Mine is somewhat different since I have used watercolor ground over gesso in my Moleskine calendar. The paint doesn’t bleed so much then but I really like the effect.


Tomorrow I will tell you a bit about a collaboration I was in recently. Much fun.

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