This woman! The one who gave so many of us platforms to shine and start from! She truly is a gift collecting and curating so many wonderful artists and books. She created A World of Artists Journal Pages that I spoke about here, she is a woman I have long looked up too, for her creative fervor. I am delighted to have Dawn DeVries Sokol today.
Dawn DeVries Sokol is an author, artist and art journaler. She’s written and illustrated several books on doodling, including Art Doodle Love, Doodle Diary, and Year of the Doodle, to be published Nov. 2015. She loves that after creating, she can close up the journal and put it on a shelf, that her journal is just for her and no one else. She lives in Tempe, AZ, with her husband, and dog-child. Her most recent book, A World of Artist Journal Pages, displays more than 1000 diverse journal pages from more than 200 artists worldwide.
How do you start your day?
Once I put our dog Lola out, I grab some breakfast and we both go to the studio and settle in for the morning. I might surf the internet and answer emails for a while, but if I’m on deadline, I’ll work on that project. With books, it’s either writing, painting, designing, or doodling. Sometimes I have to get ready for a gallery show, and then I’m painting on wood panels. Other days, I’ll take an online class and learn new techniques. Every day is different. Lola curls up in her studio bed at my feet or spreads out on her bench in front of the studio window so she can watch what’s going on in the front yard.
How has your experience as an artist changed you?
Being an artist has changed my life in every way. It’s allowed me to continue working at home and express myself even more through my work. I’ve met artists from all over the world and feel I have some strong connections, even if I haven’t met them face to face. But it’s also made me even more of an introvert. I try to meet up for coffee or lunch with friends once in a while because I just need to break out of the hermit phase, and I remember that it’s gratifying to have conversation with like minds!
When have you been unexpectedly vulnerable?
Honestly, I’ve learned that I should always expect to be vulnerable. As an artist and author, I continually put my work out there. It never fails that I hit some ruts in confidence. It’s inevitable, but part of the process. Recognizing a rut is half the battle. You can’t worry about it, you just have to go with it.
The lesson in my life that keeps repeating is….?
That you can’t please everyone. Not everyone will like your art, or like your book, or like something you post online. There’s always someone in this crazy technology-driven, faceless society who will try to beat you down for no real reason. You have to let all of that go and keep moving forward and doing what you believe in.
How do you make space for play? What is your favorite form of play?
I love to play in my journals or on a wood panel. Sometimes it’s just something I feel I have to do at that time, or maybe I need to work out of a rut, or try something totally different.
What does being brave look and feel like? Example?
Being brave is putting yourself out there all the time. It doesn’t feel pretty at times, but you just have to do it. It’s easy to doubt your ability or vision. Believe me, I doubt myself all too often. It’s easy to listen to that little monster. But you just have to tell that voice in your head to shut up because you love what you’re doing.
What is pulling you forward? Your motivation for what you do? What do you wish everyone to know?
My motivation comes from inspiring others. I love to hear from someone through my blog or through social media that my art or words have encouraged them or triggered something within them. That is the greatest reward.
I want everyone to know that we are all artists. I always used to think that an artist had to be someone who draws realistically. That just isn’t true.
How we see the world around us, that’s what comes through our hands onto the journal page, the canvas, or whatever substrate we are using at the time. That’s special. That’s what makes your art magic. No one else has your eyes, your mind.
If you want to paint, do it. If you want to draw, do it. Some people just seem to do it easily from early on, others have to learn and practice, but it doesn’t mean those people aren’t artists. We just have to hone our craft. Pick up a pencil or a pen and make a mark. Make some more. It takes time and patience. I have learned patience through art. I have also learned about myself through art. And that’s the best lesson to learn!
Describe a time when you walked through the doors of passage?
I feel like I’ve walked through those doors a lot! But I think of them more as windows. I usually have to climb up and out through them. I love when I see a window opening. It’s usually when a door closes. I like to keep open to possibilities. You never know when a new opportunity will pop up. It’s all about having your hands in many different pots, and knowing when your heart isn’t into something anymore. Admitting it can be difficult, but once you do that, another opportunity will blossom from one of the other pots.
What lights you up? What are you saying a big YES to these days?
Exploring new subject matter interests me…finding what I feel is “my style”. I still don’t feel like I have a particular “look” to my art yet. As a former art director, I can look at someone’s pages or artwork and know pretty much who it is just by their line, color palette, and subject matter. I want others to look at my artwork and know that it’s mine like that. I want to be able to see that in MY art!
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild precious life?
Hopefully, I will inspire others to create as I cover the world in doodles and paint!
Also besides grabbing a copy of all her other lovely books Dawn Devries Sokol’s next book, Year of the Doodle, comes out via Abrams and STC/Craft in November!! It will be a journal for those who wish to doodle something different every day for one year. Pre-order a copy HERE!