Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Creanouk: How to light the spark after a creative break

Hello beautiful artist, Anouk here today to share a little bit about how my creative journey is going and of course a little tutorial to get you inspired.

A little backstory for the people who are new here or who aren't following me on Instagram. I've been dealing with chronic fatigue syndrom since I've been a teenager. This doesn't simply mean that I'm tired all the time, I wish it was that simple. Some periods in my life I'm so tired that I get really sick, I'm in a lot pain and I can't properly function. When we decided to start a family we knew that it was going to be hard on my body, but we felt confident that we could handle the situation together.

After a year of being a mother I slightly know what to expect when our son is in a development leap. I know how my body reacts to big milestones like eating, crawling and currently trying to walk. I know that in these periods I need to be kind to my body and give it a rest whenever I can. But this also means that I have to sacrifice my creative time. And that's okay. I mean we have a beautiful son and I'm so grateful every day that he's in our lives. But that doesn't mean that I don't miss being creative. I miss letting my emotions and thoughts out on the paper. I miss doing something that I love. And I miss the connecting with you, the art journal community. But I know that this too, like all the other times, shall pass. I know that once we've all adjusted to the new situation my health will get better. That I will have some energy left during the day to grab my art supplies and to put every cropped emotion from the last two months out on my paper.

So why am I sharing my story here on the StencilgirlTalk blog today? Well, because I know that many of you struggle from creatives breaks sometimes. And I wanted to tell that it's okay. It happens to all of us. I promise you it will get better. Whenever that will be a few days or months, you'll feel that spark again. You'll feel your art journal pulling you in. And when this happens be mindful about it. Don't expect to create a masterpiece. Just grab a few minutes to connect with your art journal again. Take the time you need.

Don't want to wait until that spark hits you?

Well.. I'm a self claimed master in crawling out of a creative break. So let me share a few tips that I like to do when I'm struggling my way out of my creative pause. I actually did all these things in the last couple of weeks to get the spark back on and it definitely made the difference.

1. Take 5 minutes each day to spend in your journal

The thought of spending an hour at my art desk can feel a little bit overwhelming in times like this. So I suggest that you'll set yourself a 'non pressure' goal to spend 5 minutes with your art journal each day. You'll be amazed what you can do in five minutes. This might be my favorite way to get that spark on.

If you want some inspiration on what you can do in 5 minutes I've written a few blogs about it in the past. You can find them here, here and here.

2. Clean up your art space

When my art space is all messy and cluttered I don't feel the inner peace to create. So in the moments where I'm sitting at my desk staring at a wall I like to put in a song and make everything tidy. Sorting through your art supplies might also give you a bit of inspiration!

3. Follow an art journaling course or a workshop

If you want to create but don't really know how to start this is a great way to get starting. If a course is too big of a commitment to you in this time of your life, there are plenty of free Instagram/YouTube challenges out there that you can follow. Pick a few prompts that you like and you'll be back to creating in no time.

4. Make a small art journal

There's just something about making an art journal that is so relaxing to me. Searching for papers. Cutting them to the right size. Binding them together. Making a cover. It's just so mindful and low pressure. Keep it small and simple. If you want to take it a step further. You can glue down a few pieces here and there, make some marks and before you know it you're art journaling again.

5. Seek inspiration for your own work

Whenever I'm having a little break from art journaling social media feels a bit too much. I always feel a bit sad looking at all the beautiful work that people make. That's probably why you won't see me on Instagram that much when I'm having a creative break. When I feel like it's the right time to get back at it again I like to flip through my own art journals to search for inspiration. And that's what I'm doing today.

Here are the art journal pages that I drew my inspiration from. My eyes were drawn to the layering of the stencils, the gold stencil butter and the bright vibrant colour schemes. Before my 'break' I was in a very neutral phase in my art journaling so I like how these pages are lighting up the spark of colour again.

Making the Page:

First I added thin layer of clear gesso to prep my pages. I looked more closely to the pages that I picked out for inspiration and I saw that they all had some sort of stenciled underground layer. So I grabbed the stencil Douro Valley Tile (S932) and Ultramarine Vilolet acrylic paint and I used them to create the same effect.

I can't art journal without collage. It has been something that had sneaked in to my art journal practice and it's hear to stay! I just love tearing and glueing down all these tiny elements on my page. The tea bags are my absolute favourite! They are just so great at blending all the elements together.

To soften the background I used white gesso and I smeared it out with a baby wipe to create a sort of distressed look.

Now it's time to add a bit more colour. I really loved the Ultramarine Violet colour in the background but I wasn't sure what colour I liked with it that would still be me. I don't want this page to be to bold because that isn't really my style. I know I wanted to work with colour but... Baby steps. Ha! So I grabbed a light purple by Dina Wakley called Heater and I applied it with my fingers. I also threw some Titan Buff Deep and Apricot from DW in the mixture to create a bit more warmth. Using a few different shades of one colours on a page is my way to keep the page soft and balanced. It may seems boring but it works for me.

I kept building layers with glueing down a few tiny pieces of book pages and some beautiful rooibos dyed tea bags. I add some coffee splatters her and there and a large scribble that you can hardly notice. I also grabbed my watercolour Pastel pallet and I played a little bit with the purple colour.

I applied the TWC Champagne Gold stencil butter, which is just as delicious as it sounds, through the Pilgrimage to Mexico Stencil (L363) stencil and I absolutely LOVE how this looks!

For the finishing touches I add a quote with my typewriter, some bits and pieces of collage and of course a few ink splatter.

Thank you so much for reading this blog! I really hope that if you are in a creative block yourself that you can find that spark again! It's worth it. You're worth it!

Stencils Used


Handmade journal
Vintage Music and Book Paper
Tea Bags
Type Writer
Cookie Packaging
Amsterdam White Gesso
Amsterdam Clear Gesso
Mod Podge Matt
Dina Wakley Acrylic Paint - Heather
Dina Wakley Acrylic Paint - Apricot
 Amsterdam Ultramarine Vilolet Acyrlic Paint Amsterdam Titan Buff Deep Instant Coffee Prima Marketing Pastel Dreams Watercolours
TWC - Stencil Butter Champagne Gold


Thank you so much for reading my blog post. I hope that I have inspired you to create today! My name is Anouk or Creanouk on social media, and I'm an all-round creative from the Netherlands. I love art journaling because I can put my heart and soul into it. You can find my work on Instagram and Youtube.


  1. Thanks for sharing your struggles and your tactics to break out of the creative doldrums. Your finished page shows that your tactics work! 😀


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