• Erica Gilliam

Cultivating Inspiration Through Art Journaling



As an artist, I have made a lot of excuses for not having ideas or creating consistently. I spent years waiting for ideas to feel "right" before I start creating them and as a result, my work would come in waves. I would create ten new pieces in a few days and then nothing for months. This act of waiting for inspiration to strike had a negative impact on all areas of my life, not just my artwork.


But one thing I have realized is that often, inspiration comes from the act of creating something, not the other way around. It’s in the act of doing where things begin to happen.


Inspiration is not something that we are the mercy of, but instead something we must cultivate. When we combine intentional action with consistently showing up, that is when the magic begins to take form. It doesn’t always come in a single grand moment of inspiration, but sometimes it is a little whisper. It’s your job to give that whisper a safe place to manifest.



Set up an intentional space that you can create in.

Your workspace can be so important! Clear a space and add things that inspire you. For me, that includes lots of plants, dried flowers, candles, books and more! Sit down and write out the things that inspire you or feel peaceful. Make this space completely you, not what you think it should be based on what you’ve seen online.


Remember that things don’t have to be perfect.

Having an art journal is about letting creativity flow. It’s okay if you drop your paintbrush onto your page or things don’t turn out exactly how you intended. Remember, it is in the doing that things happen, not their “perfect” execution. So, pull out new supplies that you haven’t used or try your hand at something new. This is a safe space to create.


Don’t judge a piece before you have finished.

I can’t tell you how many times I have started something, hated it, and nearly threw it out. Then, I decided to finish it and it became one of my favorite pieces! Sometimes things can surprise us. And even if they don’t quite turn out the way you intended every piece is a learning opportunity.



While I have journaled and painted separately for years, art journaling is still something I am relatively new to. It can be time-consuming, but it has been hugely transformative. It is sparking ideas, pushing me outside of my comfort zone, and challenging me to look at things in a new way!


This year join me in choosing to show up for ourselves. To create even when we feel inspired to do so because sometimes the most amazing things come out of that!




Erica Gilliam of The Sleepy Pine Studio finds inspiration for her artwork from nature, her travels, and her own spiritual journey. She regularly weaves elements of ancient mythology and fantasy literature intricately into her pieces. When she is not in her home studio surrounded by hundreds of indoor plants, you will find her in a coffee shop with a good book or spending time with her family playing video games, bingeing Netflix, or exploring a new area.


Connect with her online on Instagram or Facebook.

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