Behind the Scenes with Dawn Sokol

Behind the Scenes with Dawn DeVries Sokol

Dawn DeVries Sokol is one of our favorite doodlers of all time. And that’s saying something. We’re running a month-long art journaling workshop with Dawn in August, so we took a few moments to learn more about this creative, music-loving lady.

Go behind the scenes with Dawn Sokol:

Where do you live?

Tempe, Arizona.

Do you have any adorable pets/kids/life partners we need to know about?

My husband, TJ, and hopefully another dog soon. It’s important to have a studio buddy to keep me company.

How (and when) did you get into art journaling?

I got into art journaling during some retreats I went went on in 2003. I went to Art Fest and saw amazing journals from Teesha and Tracy Moore. At the time I was a book designer, but I knew I wanted to author a book myself. That’s when I created 1,000 Artist Journal Pages: Personal Pages and Inspirations (1000 Series) with Quarry in 2008. After that, another publisher wanted to do Doodle Diary: Art Journaling for Girls with me, and it turned into a series.

Behind the Scenes with Dawn DeVries Sokol

At first, art journaling was hard for me. It seemed weird to spend time to create something so private but atthe same time, it was appealing. I took lots of classes with lots of different instructors. After a while, all the reasons it seemed weird were the reasons I liked it; mainly, that you’re making something for yourself, because you like it, not for money.

What’s the toughest part of art journaling?

Finding the time. I constantly remind myself and my students that ten minutes a day is plenty. That I don’t need to spend a huge block of time each day working specifically on my journaling.

What advice would you give people who are new to art journaling?

Be kind to yourself.

In the beginning, you’re going to hate a lot of the pages you make. That’s okay. It’s not about the outcome, it’s about experimenting. It’s about documenting life. It’s about observing and brainstorming.

It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.

There are no rules.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I get a lot of my inspiration from listening to music. It gets me pumped and it gets me moving – in a mental sense.

A lot of the stuff I journal about are phrases and lyrics. I actually bought a couple of guitars last year (one acoustic and one electric), so I’ll be playing around with that as well.

Behind the Scenes with Dawn DeVries Sokol

How do you make time to make art?

I tell myself I can sit down and do it for ten minutes. A huge part of what I do is art journaling, so sometimes it’s hard to separate the journaling I’m doing for me and the journaling I’m doing for work.

I rarely do a full page in one sitting – I work on whatever I feel like.

Going through my stash helps and I don’t follow a strict schedule. You’ll find that eventually you do it for longer and longer, you just have to give yourself permission to do it in the first place.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Some of the people I know personally are the most inspiring to me, like Dina Wakeley, Mindy Lacefield and Pam Carrakir. I’ve seen their processes and taken their classes and gotten inside their minds a little.

They’re amazing because they just do what they do. They put themselves out there, and they have such great mindsets.

What are your favorite materials or tools to work with?

Pens. I consider myself a “pen whore.”

I’m constantly finding new favorites. I jump around a lot…but I am loyal to micron pens. I was using a refillable pen for a while with a metal tip and that’s when I found out what a heavy hand I have -! kept leaving scratches and marks on the paper. With microns, you find out how you really make marks on paper without leaving scratches and tears.

What is your most favorite thing you’ve ever made?

Some of my favorite recent projects have been the large pieces I’m working on. I’ve never worked on such a big scale before and I’m finally doing it. I always wanted to work on canvas but I didn’t like the texture, and then I took a class from Jennifer Mercede who paints on wood. And that was it! What I’m working on is really abstract stuff and it’s a lot of fun.

Be honest – how much fun is it to film these Creativebug classes…or at least getting to hang out in SF for a little while?

It’s pretty awesome. I was excited to get the chance to do a workshop. I’ve done a lot of online classes myself, and I hate the video production side of things. It’s great to do the class and let someone else handle all the editing. Plus, everyone here is really supportive and encouraging.

Behind the Scenes with Dawn DeVries Sokol

Best and worst/hardest parts of filming a class:

I think I just mentioned the best part, but the hardest is talking straight to the camera. It helps to have the guys and Courtney in there – they’re all very patient. I’m fine when I’m drawing or explaining something, but just talking about myself straight into the lens is tough.

Do you like being in front of the camera?

I really enjoy creating in front of the camera because it’s like teaching a class.

Okay, last question. Where can we stalk you online?

On my website.




You can find all my books on Amazon.