For years I have had various forms of planners. I like to make my own, or use ones that have ample place for lists and doodles and ideas. I enjoy looking back through them years later because they are like a snapshot of that stage of my life. I see sketches of ideas that came to fruition, and others that have been long forgotten. Often the pages of schedules are intermingled with pages of journaling and drawing. It is all part of living the creative life. Over time, these planners have become more and more like an art journal. Recently, The Documented Life Project has popularized this notion of combining the necessity of organization and planning, with the creative release of an art journal. The results have been beautifully done pages of life. Throw in a bit of scrapbooking as well, and the idea of a smash book, not to mention some of Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages from her book The Artist’s Way, and you have created a wonderful keepsake of your year as you lived it. It is definitely a merging of life, art, and faith into one fantastic journey, recorded in a beautiful and inspiring way.
Since everything is funner together, I am starting some local get togethers to work on our “ARTfull Planners”. I will try to keep you online friends updated as we go. I am leaving the choice of planner or book to do it in open, but I do have some recommendations!
- a plain old journal with blank pages and heavyish pages will work fine. You can paste in, or draw in your calendars. I would usually paste in a printed monthly view from our school calendar, then draw in week-at-a-glance pages. The ones I have pictured are plain ol’ blank Moleskin journals. I like the ones with a Kraft cover because they are easy to paint on, but any will do. I also love the handy back pocket in all of the Moleskin varieties that can hold tons of stuff waiting to get stuck into your planner. Moleskins, and similar journals also come in a wide variety of paper choices. You can get watercolor pages, grid pages, etc. Just keep in mind, that the heavier the paper, the less pages. If you don’t mind using multiple books in a year it’s not a problem, but if you want the whole year to fit in one book, consider the number of pages. Because I am a heavy journaler, I generally use one of these thinner books for a quarter, so I would need 4 separate books to get me through the year. That can be a little inconvenient when planning months ahead.
- While we are on the topic of Moleskins, another favorite that I use, and also recommended by The Documented Life Project, is the Moleskin Weekly Planner. The thing I love about these is that they have all the days of the week on one side of the page, and a blank ruled page facing it. Perfect for organizing on the left, and list making, journaling, or arting (or all three!) on the right. I use the 7.5 x 10 inch version because I like lots of space, but it is also available in a smaller size. Both sizes are also available in 12 month and 18 month formats. I also like the extra little features like the back pocket, a ribbon marker, and an elastic band to hold it all together…nice as your book starts to thicken! A little bonus of the Moleskin planner is that it comes with a cute little set of calendar stickers, although instead of “cocktails” and “seaside” I might prefer “laundry” and “pay bills”!
The disadvantages of the Moleskin Weekly are
1) the paper is quite thin. If you do a lot of wet work you might want to consider something heavier with watercolor or mixed media pages. I use tons of gesso and added paper to take care of this issue.
2) I don’t care for the months being at the beginning separated from the weeks. I usually resolve that by using one of the blank pages each month to add in a monthly calendar right with the weekly pages. As you can see, I also like larger spaces for Saturday and Sunday, so I modify the day spaces as well.
Another arty option…paint in your month. I used a tiny 1″ ink pad to quickly block in the date squares, then painted over.
For those who aren’t into planners, or need that much organization, blank wall calendars like these are a great option.
Finally, I am pretty excited about the planner pages I designed to fit in my popular smash books.
I have both monthly and weekly pages available on my Etsy shop. They can be downloaded and printed over and over again on your choice of paper. I found that a 9 x 12 piece of 90# watercolor paper goes through my printer, and works very nicely as planner pages. They have a subtle gray background to allow ample opportunity for adding your own artwork!
And an example of a decorated weekly page:
I like to decorated these while on a single sheet, then simply cut down the middle of the page, punch indicated holes and add to your favorite smash book. I recommend the Tim Holtz binder punch. It works perfectly for these pages.
The thing I love about this planner is that you can add in as many pages as you want in between for special lists, projects, etc.
I also offer some great accessories to use with whatever kind of planner you choose. I have sticker sheets to use in you ARTfull Journal, and my little Peerless Watercolor cards are perfect to tuck into a pocket to always have along.
What is your favorite planner?