I’ve been using a visual diary, on and off for a few years now – probably more off than on to be honest.  I’ve been using it more and more lately and find the process of writing/drawing/creating in my diary very relaxing.  In this time of great menopause anxiety anything to help me relax is awesome.

I started using my visual diary when I attended a textiles course at TAFE many years ago.  It morphed into more of a process journal and the creative side of the diary went by the way side.  Recent courses in Porcelain and Print/Draw/Paint saw me break out the visual diary and treat it more like a vision board/inspiration tool/ideas journal etc – I’m sure you get the picture.

A few of you expressed an interest in understanding my creative process and I must say I was a little hesitant at first.  My diary is something I create for my personal use and not really to share with the public but I decided to make an exception just this once – plus I’ll only share snippets!!

Just remember there is no right or wrong way to create a visual diary and there are pretty much, no rules.

It’s incredibly simple.

I use an unlined, hard cover book I purchased at a local second hand store (it was completely unused – winning!!).  The pages are thicker than normal paper which makes it great for gluing things onto (ie the pages can hold quite a bit of weight).

I’m a very neat person so I like to set my diary up with specific topics/themes to a page or double page.  I’m not the best at drawing so my sketches are quite crude but they work perfectly for me and of course, I’m the only one that needs to understand them.

This is a pic of a necklace I drew a few years ago when I started creating tube beads.  I ended up making this piece in porcelain – yet to make it in polymer but I’ll get there.

I like to have on hand some magazines, art books etc that I find in the secondhand stores and most importantly, that I’m happy to cut up.  They’re cheap and sometimes you can find some great inspiration.  Kids picture books can sometimes have awesome images with ideas for different colour schemes, textures etc.  I also have a range of texters, coloured pencils etc which are great for adding hand drawn elements to your pages.


Paint chips from any hardware store or paint supplier are a brilliant idea for mixing and matching colour combinations.  I’ve always loved these little sample cards and honestly, they are just so handy.

I’ve also managed to find some great art books over the years at various second hand stores which I keep for inspiration only – meaning there’s no way in the world they’ll be getting cut up.

Even if you’re not into Gourd Craft, some of these books have incredible inspiration.

Just check out some of the amazing inspiration in these pics alone.  It’s not ideal to copy directly but mix and match and play around with ideas from what you’re drawn to.

So now I’ve gathered a few tools, what’s next?  Okay…good question…where do you start?

I can’t give you the answer to that but I can tell you a little about my process and that might offer a bit of inspiration.

I had workshops to plan and prepare and knew I wanted to do something Outback inspired.  The outback to me, means earthy colours, simple shapes, cracks so that’s where I started.

I gathered together some earthy coloured paint chips and some other images that screamed “outback” to me and created a design page.  This in itself can be such a relaxing process.  I then gathered earthy coloured clay to start creating some of my clay colours to use – so yellow, orange, black, brown, red.  By mixing a few different combinations of colours I ended up with lots of luscious colours.

Now I know you’re going to say how incredibly clever I am to create colours that match my paint chips exactly….well I have to be honest and say this was a complete fluke!! haha I’m certainly no colour guru when it comes to polymer clay but having a basic understanding of the colour wheel helps immensley.

Once I had my colours made, I could create my crackle and turn this crackle into some luscious beads.

I can’t stress enough, this is the way I do things and you may find you want to do things completely different…fantastic…there’s no right or wrong here.

Thanks for joining me and hope you have an awesome time creating.

Love Deb










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Jeannette Slocombe
Jeannette Slocombe
4 years ago

Debbie we met at Polymania in Bristol and I’m not awizz at blogs but here is What I hope will help your giddiness.Dr.Carol Foster half somersault maneuver on you tube MiracleXXXX

Jeannie Pleban
Jeannie Pleban
4 years ago

Hi Debbie, I did your workshop, on surface techniques, this year at Polymania in Bristol and was totally inspired. Can I ask one question please. When you make a long curved bead how do you manage to thread it onto cord, or do you glue the cord in either end?

Ashwini Rao
Ashwini Rao
4 years ago

Thank you, Debbie. I love your work, and your blog. I always notice the balance of spontaneity and control that you bring into your art expression. Thank you for sharing elements of your visual diary, which is such a private process. I can relate to that well. Even is there is the convenience of Pinterest and social platforms to create virtual palettes at one’s fingertips these days, nothing like the visual -tactile experience of making a collage of it all with one’s own hands.