How Creative Collaboration Can Lead to Creative Freedom

Dear Wonderful, Creative You,

Recently, a wonderful artist named Cait Sherwood contacted me. She said she’d seen my Instagram feed and felt that our styles were similar.  When she invited me to make a shared journal, of course I agreed.

Cait suggested using an accordion fold journal and I was keen to try because I’ve never used an accordion journal that was bound. As soon as my Moleskine journal arrived in the mail, I was bursting with excitement. I took my circle hole punches to it and couldn’t wait to see how circles and holes would play with the accordion fold.

I’m in love with how this dynamic technique creates multiple art pieces – the piece on the current page, the larger “whole” when it’s completely unfurled, and the piece that is constantly changing depending on how many layers are overlapping. If you are interested in learning more about dynamic elements and play in your journal, check out my workshop in the 21 Secrets e-book for Spring 2016.

Art does take courage, and yet I’m surprised by how freeing this shared journal has been. While I initially felt pressure to create something “good,” that quickly gave way. Especially with this first round of art in the journal, I’m not responsible for a finished product. Knowing this allowed me to put more trust in the creative process and my creative partner, to take more risks, and to allow my imagination to take me new places. I trust that anything that’s not working will evolve in Cait’s hands, change in relation to what Cait does on the page around it, or I’ll know how to transform it later.

[bctt tweet=”Art takes courage. #sharedartjournal #artjournal”]

I’m about to mail mine today, and now I can’t wait to see the journal Cait is sending! Here’s a few more peeks into what I’ve started:

I got playful with splats and scraping here. This page has a layer of alcohol inks, liquid acrylics, my new obsession, and black pen.

The splatter-like form above was inspired by a piece I saw on Instagram. I later learned the artist did it with the computer – glad I didn’t know that in the first place, I would never had tried.

I like this page, it’s mysterious and also reminds me of The Little Prince.

There are lots of different ways to approach a shared journal, but if you are looking for some guidance, here’s a structure:

1. Both artists buy (or make) a journal and make art on multiple pages.

2. Set a date and exchange the journals with each other. If you live close you might even have an artist date!

3. Using what the other artist did as a starting point, keep evolving images and pages.

4. Trade again and repeat as many or few times as it takes for you both to feel they are finished.

You can find Cait’s book and her musings about the shared journal experience here. Have you ever shared a journal with someone? What was the experience like? Will you share in the comments? Forward this post to a friend who you might like to create with and see what happens!

Creatively Yours,


[bctt tweet=”Make some art. It’s time to let your imagination out to play! #artjournal”]

*The links in this post are affiliate links. If you choose to click on them and purchase something, at no extra cost you will support the work I’m doing to promote art and creative self-care. Thank you.


  1. Joy

    Oh. My. Goodness. I love this idea! Like, ALL of it! I’ve never heard of an accordion journal, or even thought of doing windows in one, but this is GREAT! I’ve been trying to tempt my husband into doing a shared art journal, but he won’t bite. Might have to find a friend back home who’ll try one with me…. this is just too neat to NOT do.

  2. Sally Swain

    Fabulous, Amy, as always! Clear and inspiring. Thank you.

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Sally:

      Oh, I’m so glad that it reached you! Thank you so much for taking the time to say so, it means a lot to me. Have you done a shared journal before?

      Creatively Yours,

      • Amy Johnson Maricle

        HI Joy!

        I just love reading your comments – so full of, well, JOY! I am mailing my journal back and forth too, and I think it adds something special. I just sent Cait’s out yesterday and can’t wait to get hers soon. You may also ask someone from Creative Self-Care if anyone inspires you.

        I hope you post pics!

  3. iHanna

    It sounds like a lot of fun, reading about reminded me that I did fill an accordion once, many years ago, also a traveling notebook like yours. It was super fun to do. I hope to see more of yours soon.

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI iHannah!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. Your notebook is so lovely and playful, not surprisingly. Thank you for including the link! I’ve been working on the journal a ton this weekend and will post again very soon!




Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: API requests are being delayed for this account. New posts will not be retrieved.

There may be an issue with the Instagram access token that you are using. Your server might also be unable to connect to Instagram at this time.