A Journey Through Art Journal Fear

If you follow my Twitter feed or Instagram account then you might have spotted the sneaky peek at an art journal page I started last weekend. This wasn’t meant to be anything other than a quick play with some new materials in my art journal but it turned into so much more. This page represents a little journey of overcoming fear for me and I hope it will inspire you to push through what you fear.

PaperArtsy paint and stamps

So starting at the beginning and the new materials I wanted to test out. I got my inky, painty hands on some lovely bits and pieces from PaperArtsy and just had to have a play. I used the JOFY Collection 32 and the Lin Brown Limited Edition paint set.

I used a double page in a new A5 repurposed flier that I’m using as my current art journal. I started with a semi-transparent layer of Gesso and the PaperArtsy Caribbean Sea paint, stamped the images over the top and painted them with the PaperArtsy paint then went over the outlines with a black Derwent Graphik Line Painter pen.


But as I looked at it I thought perhaps it needed something else. This is where the fear factor kicks in. I want to be better at drawing and I do practise when I have a moment. But faces, human form and the such are super difficult for me. So I decided to be brave and do something that I have never done before. Paint a face.

Underdrawing for a face

I know the trend is very much towards whimsical, stylised faces but I really wanted to see if I could draw something closer to a real face. I didn’t work from a photo or use a mirror so it is an imaginary face but I wanted it to be as real as I could make it. I seriously have no idea how to paint a face so I was learning as I went along.

I sketched the proportions of the face in pencil and then set about putting a thin layer of paint on the underdrawing. I used Liquitex Basics as I have the colours I needed to make skin tones in this range.

putting in details on a face

At this stage, pictured above, I was tempted to leave it as it was turning out far better than I expected it to and I was afraid to mess it up! But I gritted my teeth and pushed through…

Art journal faces

and I’m glad that I did. She isn’t perfect but seeing as she is the first human face that I have ever painted I’m really pleased with the result.

Close up on a face in the art journal

Things I have learnt and wanted to share with you guys:

  • Try something that you haven’t done before – you might surprise yourself.
  • Push through the fear – if it turns out rubbish you still will have learnt a whole lot from the process.
  • Working in arts and crafts is full of transferable skills – you will be surprised how much you improve a certain skill set even when you are doing something else that isn’t directly related to that specific skill set.
  • Don’t paint your first face over a fold in your art journal!

Now I need to overcome a new fear – trying to paint another face, this one might have been a fluke!

What lessons have you learnt recently from your art and craft work? I look forward to hearing all about them in the comments below.

Catch you later artinators!


Kim Dellow Blog signature

Kim Dellow

Kim Dellow is an artist–designer–film-maker living the creative life in London, UK. She's a freelance creative for the craft industry and others, and she loves to share her art-ventures on her blog.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. die amelie

    Haha, loved the fourth thing you discovered and are sharing with us, Kim!

    Folds in journals can turn into a real challenge sometimes. I know. lol
    I love your painted face and it is amazing how well you did considering the fact that you didn't have an image or photograph to follow. Well done! And I think it is "perfect" enough (honestly I always try to ban that special word from my artistic vocabulary and try to replace it with "true and daring" – which you both were by the way 😉

    Thanks for sharing your fears and journal page!
    Claudia x

    1. Kim Dellow

      LOL thanks Claudia! Glad I could make you giggle! I had to do it over the fold it just would not have worked anywhere else 🙂

      You are so right about the word 'perfect', I think I put so much pressure on myself to make things look pretty that it sometimes inhibits me doing what I need to do to improve. True and Daring is definitely better. Kx

  2. Shirley Davis

    What a happy ending this was for you! I think you probably looked like yourself in the top left of this page. Your imaginary person looks real enough to me – well done, Kim!

    1. Kim Dellow

      Thanks Shirley, I think the next big thing is to get likenesses! But I think I will work a bit more on just getting real first before I try likeness. I have tried sketching David in pencil but it never looks like him, so I will stick to imaginary until I feel a bit more confident 🙂 Kx

  3. misteejay

    How brave Kim and what a great result.
    I worry about spoiling things and need to work on taking that leap of faith – as you say, even if it doesn't work it will be a learning experience.
    Enjoy the weekend
    Toni xx

    1. Kim Dellow

      I totally do the same Toni. I have found that I go through several stages with projects and one of those stages is the 'I'm going to spoil this if I work on it any more!' stage.

      But it does take that leap of faith and trying to take the pressure off by remembering that the worst that can happen is that you messed up some paper! Not always easy to do!
      Hope you had a fun weekend.

  4. maj.

    This is absolutely beautiful!

  5. massofhair

    Oh no how bad of me to miss your first face post, huge apologies Kim! So proud of you for taking your first steps toward conquering your fear of faces.

    She is beautiful, has great eyes and a wonderful sense of understanding. Thank you for asking me to share your journey i am honoured and so pleased you asked me to join in.

    Looking forward to Artinators Friday from now on.

    Mo:-) xxx

    1. Kim Dellow

      Ahh thanks Mo 🙂 I'm so glad you wan't to join in. Your spreading the word has done wonders so thank you! I'm so looking forward to seeing all the lovely faces you create, it is going to be fun travelling this road together! Kx

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