Hi there!

I'm Eni Oken, artist and author of hundreds of articles, tutorials and books in print and online. For over 30 years I've explored art, color theory, fantasy and ornamental design.

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Best advice for a jewelry designer: creative journaling

Pile of old booksIf you are a budding jewelry designer, one of the best pieces of advice that I can give you is to keep a Creative Journal. In it you can draw, doodle, write, collage, anything you like -- hey, mine even have an occasional shopping list!

What does a creative journal do for you:

It takes all those lovely abstract ideas that are swirling in your mind and makes them concrete. By passing your ideas to a tangible, palpable form without spending materials and resources, you have the following advantages:

  1. You can see the design in concrete form instead of just in your mind's eye;
  2. You can fine-tune a design by re-sketching it over and over;
  3. You can create variations on a design to see which one works best for you;
  4. You create a valuable depository of ideas which can be used later when you're suffering from artists' block;
  5. You can create a historic account of your evolution as a designer;
  6. You can evaluable ideas without spending precious materials!

So how does one start? Here are two valuable tips:

Get a solid, good quality book-style journal:

Go out and buy a nice blank page journal. I like my journals to have hardcover, so that they can withstand wear and tear. I also like leather or fabric covers, for greater protection. Whatever you get, make sure you CANNOT RIP THE PAGES OFF, so get a saddle-stitched type journal (the kind where the journal looks like a book, the pages are stitched together).

Why? If you get a spiral journal or three-ring binder, the temptation of ripping off some of the "less than perfect" pages will be too great. And believe me, there will be NUMEROUS less than perfect pages. But that's alright! It's all part of your growing process.

Start to draw or write immediately

Right after purchase, open the journal up on the first page and write something down quickly, without thinking. Scribble a little and add a supermarket list to the front page.  Add an account of what you did today, in writing. Make sure the writing is messy and if possible, add a few pointless doodles.

Why? If you take too long to add something to the journal or try to make it too perfect, you'll get "journal block", that is, fear of messing up the pristine white pages of the journal. And that's the last thing you want -- the journal is supposed to be the one place where you can write, doodle or say anything you like, with no judgement.

I have completed dozens of journals over the years. For every new one I get, there is always the same feeling when I open the blank new pages: "This time I'll make it beautiful and perfect". And then I catch myself and correct it: "NO, this is not for show. This is for my development -- so go ahead and mess it up".

Happy journaling,




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