My journal journey started a few months ago at the beginning of this year but my artistic journey started way back when I was a kid. I grew up holding a pencil, I remember myself constantly drawing, sketching, and doodling. I used to draw a lot of things especially my favorite characters from my favorite shows, anime, and movies.
I was always trying different ways, methods, and different drawing styles. I experimented with everything. I was inspired by the things that I grew up on, fascinated by animation and character design. I was excited and touched by how it made me feel. I couldn’t believe that art made me feel so many emotions. Because of that, at a very young age, I decided that I will make other people feel the way I felt, hopefully with my creations.
When I was little I used to draw only in black and white. I was afraid to add colors thinking that I’m going to mess up the drawing and so I kept drawing like that until I was more confident in my skill. As a teenager, I got my first watercolor pallet and a bunch of acrylics. It was exciting and scary for me because of how different the colors behaved from what I was used to. For the first time in my life, I was inking my drawings and coloring them afterward. I started following more and more artists who inspired me to always create, especially create my *own* art. Discovering all those different art styles turned me into a very open-minded person when it comes to drawing – from chibi art to sci-fi concept art, from simple to the complex, from monochromatic paintings to colorful ones.
As I was getting better and better at drawing, I started thinking about what to do with my life and career, and the more I kept thinking about it the more confused I got. I knew I wanted to draw no matter what but I also knew that being an artist is hard, it’s not always as dreamy and fun as it looks and there are millions of more artists like me, I knew that in order for me to stand out I had to make something special. The problem was I didn’t believe in myself or my skills and so, I started to think about other things I could do.
When I think about all the things I wanted to do instead of drawing it always makes me laugh because I literally wanted to try everything. I wanted to be an actress, a dancer, a piano player, I wanted to start a band and make music – long story short I wanted to do things that will excite other people.
I knew working with numbers isn’t an option (I suck at math). I just wanted to free my creativity and make new things, to create from my heart and soul. So, I decided to go for it and never go back on my decision (It’s my ninja way :P). I started searching for and exploring the internet for professions that will allow me to create and make a living. I found a few that seem to fit the bill until I came across something called Graphic Design. As soon as I learned what graphic design actually is I decided I don’t want to be anything else but that. Graphic design is just what I wanted to do and more. It allows me to animate, illustrate, and to design unique visuals.
How it relates to bullet journaling you ask? Well, in March 2019 I bought a doted bullet journal in some anime convention I attended in my country, without even knowing bullet journaling is a thing. To be completely honest I just really liked the cover and I bought it without thinking about what am I going to do with it.
I never used it until I discovered bullet journaling in January 2020. I was fresh out of college (completed my Graphic Design degree) and was looking for a job. At the same time, I kept seeing people on Instagram posting journals with fun doodles, floral designs, lists, thoughts and just creating whatever they like. I fell in love with creative freedom very quickly. The idea of drawing or writing and bringing your own world into a notebook was very appealing to me.
Through the years, I remember that I was always sharing my art on Instagram, sticking to one style that didn’t really suit me so eventually, I got tired of it. I wasn’t having fun and felt a lot of pressure from social media so I kept changing my art style for years. I thought being a successful artist means to be popular on social media and so I constantly focused on trying to get more followers and likes than improving my art skills.
When I came across bullet journaling I decided for the first time to just be myself. I wasn’t thinking about anyone else but me. I wanted to make art for myself and not for other people, to be genuine and honest with my art. I told myself that likes and followers aren’t a factor and that I am going to focus on creating art just for myself, without the pressure.
With the COVID-19 crisis just beginning and the rest of the world in quarantine (including me), I had a lot of free time to draw and start journaling. I uploaded one post every day and before I knew it my art was reaching to more and more people. Although it’s very flattering when people say that they recognize my style, I try my best to not let it go to my head. I continue making posts just for fun.
My early bujo style didn’t include writing at all, so in one of my very first posts someone commented: “Will you write something there?!”, and ever since that comment, I couldn’t stop thinking about what he said. As a child, I was very shy and introverted. To this day I have trouble speaking my mind because I always think people don’t want to listen to what I have to say.
At first, I had no idea what should I write about. Whenever people asked me to write about myself I never knew what to write, the page always stayed blank.
So I started writing the lyrics of my favorite songs with floral drawings to hopefully inspire people. I did that for a while until one day I decided to write about my morning routine and I got surprised when people actually found that to be interesting! People started commenting, sharing their own morning routines and I enjoyed reading their comments. I also enjoyed connecting with my followers and getting to know them better.
The more I wrote about myself the deeper I was discovering my soul and the more I did that the more I enjoyed the idea of sharing. As my audience grew bigger I shared some of my closest thoughts. Bullet journaling helped me discover myself like never before. it helped me reflect on who I really am and I will always be grateful for that because I always struggled with finding my true self.
To me, bullet journaling is more than just a hobby. It’s a journey and I discover new things about myself every time I create a spread. I’m also grateful that I get to share important messages with my audience and use Instagram as a positive platform to make people’s day better or help them.
Whenever I get asked “how did you grow your Instagram so fast? Please share some tips” I always reply the same way - “have fun!”. That’s the most important thing I want to share across social media. I used to participate in this race to be a popular influencer on social media and I failed every time simply because I gave up on myself, I hated everything I was doing and I even stopped drawing for two years because of that.
I constantly say to people to create from the heart, to enjoy what they do. Likes and followers don’t matter if you’re not having fun. I keep spreading that message to help people realize how impotent it is to create because you want to not because you have to.
Besides having fun and self-discovery, bullet journaling helped me become a better illustrator, a better graphic designer and helped me develop my own style even when I’m not drawing bullet journal related content.
When I look back on my life I feel like all the dots are connecting, everything comes together and now I enjoy creating more than ever. I feel inspired by so many things and I immediately think about a way to bring my ideas to life.
I recommend everyone to start a bullet journal because - “in the pages of your journal you will meet yourself in all your aspects” - Robert Moss. Something really special happened to me ever since I started doing this. But I guess that’s just my story.
And drawing? Drawing was and always will be my safe place to go to when I just want to be myself.
You can find Dorin on Instagram @dorindraws.