Isn’t it fun to look inside other people’s journals?
Kathrin Jebsen-Marwedel is a graphic designer in marketing and PR in Kiel, Germany. She is also the creative spark behind @IllustratedJournal on Instagram where she has over 24,000 followers–with good reason. Her journal is fascinating.
Kathrin is one of the first people I started following on Instagram when I realized other people were posting their journals there. She really stretched my imagination as to what was possible in a journal.
In this interview, Kathrin gives us a behind the scenes glimpse at how she approaches her personal journaling practice.
When did you start journaling?
I’ve been writing a diary for a long time, but it wasn’t until 2001 that I started to illustrate my diaries. I had bought a Moleskine Pocket Diary as an appointment calendar and started making little sketches of the day’s events. I liked that because it made it much easier for me to find certain entries. Better than flipping through pages of text.
How has journaling impacted you? What has it meant to you?
I loved doing these little drawings. For a long time I hadn’t painted or drawn, I had lost the desire to do so during my studies. In my diary, I had the option of just drawing for myself, and it didn’t matter what the result was. The memory was important to me. Over the years the drawings got better, and I discovered on flickr that other people are also using their Moleskine books as an illustrated diary. I signed up there and started showing my diary pages on flickr. This created an inspiring exchange that motivated me a lot.
Tell us about your personal set up? What type of journal and tools do you use?
I still use the Moleskine Pocket Diary in the size 9×14 cm. The paper is actually very unsuitable for watercolors, but I use them most often. The paper does curl a bit, but that doesn’t bother me. I use pencils and fineliners for the preliminary drawings.
When do you find time to journal?
Actually, I think it’s best to draw before work. But since I started working around 6 a.m., I couldn’t do it anymore. So I usually paint in the afternoons and evenings. I always leave the painting supplies on my kitchen table so that I can continue at any time. Unfortunately, I rarely manage to paint a picture in one go.
Do you go back through old journals? How often do you review?
Every now and then I leaf through old journals, but there are now so many that I don’t get to them too often.
What advice do you have for people just getting started?
The simplest trick is: just do it. Many think they cannot draw. But it doesn’t matter, you can start with stick figures. You shouldn’t measure yourself against others and think: “I can never do it that well!”, but try first and foremost to have fun drawing. The more you draw, the better you get over time. It’s hard to break free from comparisons with others, but I think it’s an important realization that you paint the way you paint and you won’t paint the way someone else paints. That doesn’t mean you can’t get tips from others to develop further. But you shouldn’t try to paint the way someone else paints, but learn to love your own style.
Where can people connect with you to learn more?
I am most active on Instagram, where I am always happy to receive comments, criticism and questions.
We hope Kathrin Jebsen-Marwedel’s work inspires you to start your own visual journaling practice. All you have to do is pick up a journal and start practicing different techniques until you develop your own style.