The Art of the Day Planner- How to Create a Journal of Creative Practice

The 2022 edition

Two years ago I started a daily doodle practice after challenging myself to do something artful every day. I’ve written about this before on this blog but I thought it worthy to bring around again being the New Year .

I decided about the only thing I could successfully commit to doodle in the 2” square of my day planner since it wasn’t being utilized for anything else.  The ground rules I made- use pen, no erasing, no self-criticism, go back over it later and add to it if you want.  Be spontaneous and just see what comes up. Often I only see the merits of an entry until I let it sit for a day or weeks later. Sometimes I take the previous day’s idea and make a different version of it.

The end of 2021

What surprised me is how much of a treasure my doodle planner has become.  Besides being a written and visual record of my life, it’s been an exercise of breaking creative barriers, an idea generator, and an artifact of my existence.  I’ve used these drawings for greeting cards and the basis of other artworks such as paintings and zines.  It’s a ritual I look forward to every morning.

Do something 365 days a year no matter how small and you will improve.  It doesn’t matter how you fill up that 2’ square.  Write a tiny poem, craft a quote, start a song, record ideas, sketch something even if it is something as simple as circles. Do that for a week or more and you will have some mighty interesting circles! Keep it rough- 12 minutes is a good maximum time. The important thing is a daily commitment.

I never could find a day planner like the original one I had so last year I made my own for 2021. Today,   I’m finishing my one for 2022.  If you are interested, here is how I make mine…


  • 8 X 6″ spiral bound sketch book
  • Brush pen, 2 or more sizes of black gel pens or use what’s on hand.
  • Collage papers for cover. Strong glue like Yes paste or rice paste.
  • Skip the ruler- just eye-ball it for more interesting lines
Old & new
cut-up old painting excercise
Zander trying to help

Copy my format or invent your own.  On the facing page before January I write my word or word of the year (this year is “GRATITUDE”) and draw rectangles for monthly goals.  I grid out the week to come every Sunday night.  Initially I did this in pencil but now I draw directly. This process started out quite crudely but has improved by leaps and bounds.  Trust the process and have fun!

Some changes for 2022
Goodbye 2021
No overthinking. Just do it!!!

See my doodles on Instagram @almostdailydoodle

9 thoughts on “The Art of the Day Planner- How to Create a Journal of Creative Practice

  1. Great idea to make them small, Alanna! I did Inktober this year for the first time, but trying to fill a whole page was a little intimidating on some days. Hope you have a Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Pam – stay safe out there in Colorado with those fires. I’m sorry you and your your community are experiencing such tragedy We’ve been dealing with the same thing the past couple summers. It’s just heartbreaking!

      Liked by 1 person

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