Instagram is home to hundreds of talented creators and artists from the calligraphy and journal communities. At the intersection of these two online communities is Jordan Cliff, a watercolour illustrator and calligrapher known as @lineideas on Instagram, who has captivated the attention of more than 7000 followers with stunning watercolor lettering creations.
Jordan's Instagram posts, with an unmistakable signature flatlay aesthetic, radiate joy and brightness, but also serve as an occasional reminder of the importance of kindness and gratitude, featuring quotes such as "There is power in kindness."
We caught up with Jordan to chat about journals, art, and the holiday season. Here's our interview:
The Washi Tape Shop: What led you to discover your passion for journals, watercolors, and lettering?
Jordan: I discovered my passion for lettering from a good friend of mine! She used to create these absolutely gorgeous pieces to decorate the place. This was when I was just 12 years old too! She taught me the fundamentals of lettering, and I’ve been hooked ever since and was so happy to have found a hobby I really enjoyed! I guess that’s when I discovered my passion for lettering and even started to incorporate watercolour into my pieces.
One day I went to a local art market and was mesmerised by all the lovely art pieces on display, so during the school holidays, I asked my mother if I could join those markets. Since I was very young, my mother took up a booth at the art market to showcase her own handiwork while displaying my art pieces at the side.
I recall my excitement at displaying my work to the public. When I saw that people really liked my stuff, it gave me the confidence to share my ideas on social media and that’s when I really began to explore more creative ways of lettering. Through Instagram, I discovered journaling and all the super talented artists of the most beautiful journal spreads. This got me into journaling.
TWTS: How often do you use your journal?
Jordan: My journals are like a diary for me. I use them every other day, or when I really have something I want to jot down.
TWTS: What would you say is the primary purpose of your journal? Is it more of a creative outlet or do you use it for productivity and note-taking too?
Jordan: I use my journals for all those! There is no limit to how I use my journal. When I want to get creative, I would doodle on it. When I have a fixed idea, I would explore and produce it on the journal and if I have thoughts, I might just jot down my notes. They’re all there so I can open up my journal at any point and see my artistic journey, but I’ve never posted anything besides the ‘creative outlet’ parts of my journal on Instagram, mainly because I hardly put much effort into making my notes look good. Mine always end up being super messy and untidy haha.
TWTS: Can you tell us about how you use your journal during the year-end festive season?
Jordan: I always love doing something a little different for my journal during the year-end festive season! I created a ‘gift shopping list’ section this year, nothing fancy but it was super helpful! I also incorporated more silver, gold and festive colours into my pages too! I also used the note-taking section of my journal to pen down ideas for personalised greeting cards. During the final Christmas rush, I also tore out pages from my journal and gifted some of them as greeting cards! At least l had something handy at the last-minute haha.
TWTS: I love your artwork that focuses on gratitude and kindness. Do you think it’s especially important that we see art as a reminder to be kind people at this time of the year?
Jordan: Thank you so much! I believe kindness should always be present in every situation, and if art can be used as a reminder to me, and to other people, I’m all for it and would literally be the happiest person to know that my art has had an impact on other people!
TWTS: For many people, the holidays are already stressful -- especially this year. Still, your artwork radiates positivity. Would you say that your journal and artwork help you manage stressful times?
Jordan: Sitting down and spending time creating something to fill the pages of my journal has definitely helped in so many ways! Sometimes when things get a little difficult, I find that if I purposefully write something positive even though I don’t feel like it, it will help to remind me that there is hope and if I focus on the good, then I will find that the tough times won’t last forever.
TWTS: Last one! Just for fun, since it’s Christmas, can you tell us about how your creativity informs your gift-giving, if you exchange gifts? Do you tend to give your artwork or other creative handmade items as gifts, or do you prefer to take a break from your pens and watercolors and rather shop instead?
Jordan: Haha, good one! I had this grand plan of giving my artwork to people as Christmas gifts and I had a whole list of inspiring quotes I wanted to write for each person. Then I started to overthink it and started to think whether each quote was suitable for that person and then it made me so stressed out that I abandoned the idea. In the end, I got other gifts for everyone but added a hand painted Christmas card as a personal touch.
Beautiful contrasting colors and seemingly effortless strokes of black watercolour stand out in every post on the @lineideas Instagram account -- but it's Jordan's message that resonates above all. Every piece of art serves as a reminder that kindness is key, and that's an especially important reminder to have as the new year begins.