Today Lauren and I are opening the curtain and giving an inside look into our favourite online art community, the Get Messy Art Journal Community. Over the last three years we have grown Get Messy into a pretty magical place. It’s a place where you can nurture your creativity, become the artist you desire to be, and find your creative community. Without Get Messy, I would not still be making art journal pages, and I would not have grown as much in my art, and I would not have had incredible, life-changing artist friendships. I’m allowed to say all this because Get Messy is not just Lauren and I. It’s evolved based on every single Messian that ever entered, created, shared, and grew. I’m amazed every single day by the art that’s created from the community. We’re over 1000 members now, and I get giddy when I think of art that has been made through the nurturing of the community.
I guess the whole thing is kind of mysterious unless you’ve been a part of it. And we just aren’t cool enough to be mysterious. We like to include everyone that has the same desire in her heart. So, if you’d like to imagine a stage curtain being opened into two before I go on… make sure it’s a really dramatic curtain, okay?
Beyond this video, I’d love to show more screenshots into the different aspects of the community. Click on the image to make it bigger.
Become the artist you want to be
This is what the Dashboard looks like once you’re in the private membership site. I’ve put it in its entirety give or take a few extra posts since I screenshot this. Lauren discusses it more in depth in the video. The Dashboard is the command center for everything. It has the announcements, the quick blog link, navigation, and then the breakdown of prompts, inspiration, and tutorials.
The blog is updated three or four times every single week. On Mondays, prompts are released if you’re looking for direction in creating, if you are feeling stuck, or if you would like to see things differently. Wednesdays are for tutorials, and Fridays for inspiration. These are posted by the most creative people I know. So it’s not just one or two styles, you have 15 regular artist styles that are so different to each others that you’ll certainly find something that speaks directly to your heart. We also have guest artists posting, as well as Messy Conversations and Member Spotlights. This is a pool of resources, not just a single opinion. There are currently 44 pages of archives.
Be encouraged with prompts
Every Monday 4-6 prompts are released to get you making. These can be simple suggestions such as a painting with a specific color or an in-depth storytelling prompt that spurs you to make an entire book. You can expect that the prompts are half journaling and half art focused. Now you might want to scroll a bit for this one cause it goes on and on and on.
Do you see all that inspiration? When I checked, we had 76 art journal spreads that had been made by Messians in the community just for this set of prompts. The prompt pages have a place to link up and to check out what others are making. This allows you to cheer on and be cheered on, and to give you ideas for your next page. I freaking love it.
Learn with tutorials
Every Wednesday there will be a tutorial shared on our private blog that will teach you a new technique. Sometimes they are simple and can be done with the tools found at hand, sometimes they are in-depth and cause you to explore and experiment with new mediums, tools and ideas. These tutorials are created by us, by community members, by experts in their fields. Wednesdays will leave you itchy to make something.
This is a cropped recent tutorial from Essie. She’s amazing. Every single tutorial on here teaches me something – whether an entirely new technique, a new product, a new way of looking at things, or just tangential inspiration.
Be inspired to create
Every Friday we present to you a photo, an idea, a challenge. Something that will spark ideas and that will help you look around your surroundings and see the potential in everything to become art.
This is a very brief, blurred out example of a recent tutorial from the crazy talented Elizabeth.
Find your creative community
The private site is not where it ends. I mean, that would be great as it is, but it gets kind of lonely when you don’t have friends who understand how strongly you feel about a certain brand of gesso. Husbands try, but they just can’t quite get it. You know? So there’s the community. As an introvert, I know it’s tough to put yourself out there. So there are a few options.
Passive community through social media
Hashtagging on Instagram, and following along on YouTube (which are both public and free, btw) are one way to feel a bit less alone in your creative journey.
Active community through private groups
We have two private options for sharing in your creative journey – Facebook and Slack. Facebook is open to directly asking artists their opinions, and Slack is a live chat for those who like to interact in that way.
Sorry for the blurring and cropping, but I didn’t want to share anything a Messian wouldn’t be comfortable in having public.
Nurture your creativity
We’re also in your inboxes if you’d like – annual Messians get prompts delivered straight to their inbox, and we have our amazing free Introduction to Art Journaling course. This is what those look like:
I could show you this stuff every day all day, but you’re not going to get anything from it until YOU take that first action. You’re the one who needs to start creating. We’d love to do it for you, but we can’t, so we’ve just made it as easy as humanly possible for you.
If you feel like you’d benefit from the community, you already know how strongly I recommend it. I’ve also saved a few messages from other people. Here’s my promise: if you allow it, and if you make an active effort, art journaling will change your life. The Get Messy community will completely elevate the change.
You can join for one year ($8 per month, paid as $96 once off), or have a monthly commitment ($10 per month). You can cancel at any time, it’s totally chilled. And if you join between right now and 9 September, you’ll also get a little present. I’m excited about it.
It’s 8 backgrounds, 10 prompts, 8 lettered quotes, 4 typewritten poems, and a zine template.
Recently, a whole bunch of lovely Messians posted their first art journal pages and it was so much fun to look back on. I shared my first pages in our Whatsapp group, but not online. Until now. Almost exactly 18 months ago, I posted my first Get Messy post on the blog. It was just Lauren and I and we called it “L + C Get Messy”. I cannot believe how much the group has grown, but clearly Lauren and I were not the only people tired of doing nothing, and hungry to create.
It excites me so much that these words were there from the beginning.
I love having these pages to look back on and know where I was and who I was back then. Life has changed so much and not at all.
On Tuesday I shared a post in the Get Messy private Facebook group, then on my Facebook page, and now here. Just in case you needed to read it:
I’ve been thinking a lot about how so many people are missing out on the amazing things that happen through art journaling. They’re overwhelmed because of the lack of structure and how difficult it is to start. I totally get it. I was there. I wanted to art journal, it looked so nice the way others were doing it. But I was scared of actually art journaling. Of what? Not liking what I made, wasting my time, wasting money, embarrassing myself. Of everything. Then one day I had enough of wishing and realised if I wanted to art journal, I’d actually have to art journal.
Lauren felt the same way. We FORCED ourselves to sit in front of a blank workbook at least once a week. I made a LOT of kak. I had no idea what I was doing. It was NOT easy. But we didn’t want to stop cause we didn’t want the other person to stop. So we kept going.
So if you’re waiting to start, confront your fears and barriers. We all started once. It sucks, it’s going to suck how bad you are. But then after a while you’re not going to be completely awful. And your yay pages are gonna be better than your kak ones. The hard work is worth it. SOOOO worth it.
If you’re showing up every day and sitting in front of a blank page and forcing yourself to do SOMETHING on it, you’re going to make amazing things.I promise, promise. The nice thing about art journaling is that it’s so broad that your amazing things will take quicker than if you were learning e.g. quilting. Plus, the actual process is amazing no matter what your page looks like.
You don’t get to making amazing things by not making anything. No “good” art journaler started off good. Every single person really sucked for a bit and pushed through it.
You have to do the work.
You have to follow what makes you happy.
You choose what success is to you.
Try new things.
JUST START. I’m rooting for you.
Get Messy is not taking any new members from 1 December until the new program and pricing structure launching mid-Jan. Current Messians will be the first to have access to the new site. If you want to take advantage of our lifetime membership, and you’ve been waiting for the right moment to join us, now is that moment. Register and have a whole community root for you.
Eek! Another season of Get Messy coming to a close. This has been a really good season for me, and the prompts really resonated with me. It was good for getting a few things out of my head and onto the page. I tried a lot of new styles, and played with a lot of elements that I don’t usually play with (especially thanks to the Get Messy Craft Swap). Going outside of my comfort zone is so good for me.
Some typical Caylee style.
And some new style peeking through…
And a page with a painted background? Definitely trying out some new styles. Definitely loving discovering new parts of my creativity and self.
Are you noticing a theme yet? Art journaling is magical. I didn’t even know I was having these thoughts until I looked at my page at the end.
This page also came from a stencil, but I totally messed it up when I added black paint and didn’t wait for it to dry. Waiting for paint to dry is the bane of my life. And so I gessoed over everything and tried again. You can see the remnants of the messed up page shining through. I like it.
This page came from the swap. Jen was my partner and her package was right up my alley.
This used the tissue paper from the package, and a tutorial on the private blog from Vanessa. It’s also got a gorgeous feather stamp from Papier Projekt, and lettering inspiration from Nina. So many people on one page. It makes my heart happy.
Those four pages are from a private swap that Julia, Karen, and I did. I spoke about the pages on the Get Messy private blog, so I’m worded out for those. I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun with pages as I did with that swap, and the items received from Jen.
Every single day I am amazed by and honoured to be a part of the Get Messy community. One day totally stood out to me, though. It was the day that I received this in the mail.
Three creative friends of mine got together to make a zine. Then they posted it to me.
Turns out, art makes me cry. Kindness from people I’ve never met in real life makes me cry. This zine is the single most beautiful present I’ve ever received and I’m going to treasure it forever.
Seeing the work of three artists whose works I really admire in real life was moving. Seeing the tiny little details that computer screens and cameras fail to convey is something truly magical.
I ran my fingers over the textures for an hour.
I stared in awe at seeing the handwriting of three of my favourite people.
And the beautiful faces.
With every single page I honestly couldn’t handle the heart that went into it.
Get Messy has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. I feel like the luckiest person in the world. There’s really something special about a community that feels the way you do, that values the same things you do, and that knows that you’d love a gift like this.
I stare at my own art journals all the time. They’re nothing special. When I saw Lauren and Kathleen’s art last month, it was really moving. Because my community is online, I’ve always had a screen between myself and the art. It numbs it down a lot. Seeing their stuff and being in awe of it validates my need to create, and my reason. I can’t explain it, you’d have to feel it for yourself. And oh, I suggest that you do.
My darling internet best friend shared a challenge on her IG feed and I fell in love. I also immediately knew that I wanted to turn it into an art journal challenge for myself. If you go through my journals, you’ll see pink, gold, black and white, and the occasional light blue. It’s pretty monotonous. And with this as my “excuse” I added a bit of a rainbow to my latest journal. While I don’t love any of the pages, nor do I want to use these colours again, I enjoyed the process and being pushed out of my comfort zone. I’ve been in a rut lately, and this helped me get out of it a bit. Knowing that I had to post a page on that day otherwise the beautiful rainbow of the hashtag would be out gave me some major push.
I included gold in my rainbow, since it’s still totally my journal. Plus, with how simple the pages became (paint and words), it fit the series. I can’t freaking wait for the next Creative Captures.