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Maria Zaidi and her passion for journaling

Photo: Maria Zaidi

Every person has a different way of processing his or her impressions and experiences. Some share their stories on social media, others write diaries. Not everyone wants to put these feelings into words. We met Maria Zaidi, who creates stunning art journals and asked her to tell us about her passion.


Hi Maria, Can you please tell us something about yourself and your passion?

I’m a self taught artist and an avid art journaler based in Islamabad, Pakistan. My work is a mix of black and white florals, intricate pen and ink designs and art journaling.

I always had that passion and inclination towards art ever since I was a little girl. I loved to read, draw and colour and my father wholeheartedly nurtured and encouraged this love in me. We would sit down together and cut out pictures and stories from children’s magazines and glue them down in a diary. He would tell me stories that I used to then draw on little pieces of paper and stick them all in one big sketchbook. He brought me all sorts of art supplies I could imagine as a little child. When I was around seven years old, he bought me a little yellow diary which he would give me on one condition only – that I would write in it. I wasn’t too keen on writing at that age but eventually agreed. And from that point onwards, my love for journaling began.

Photo: Maria Zaidi

Do you miss being a child?

If given the option to travel back in time, I would definitely love to go back to my childhood and relive all the moments I spent with my father, drawing, colouring and listening to his stories. He would transport us with him, into his imagination, with all the stories he told us, be it imaginary or real life happenings from his childhood. He was such a good story teller that my brother and I used to listen to him with such awe. I also get the knack of photography from him as he was an avid photographer.

Photo: Maria Zaidi

How do you get inspired?

Inspiration is everywhere. All you need is an observant eye. I derive my inspiration from my daily life – my surroundings, my home, my back garden. I have always been fascinated with nature, especially flowers. It wasn’t until I started drawing them for an Instagram challenge, that I discovered my love for making them and ever since, flowers have become a major source of inspiration for my work and I often incorporate them into my art journals and black and white intricate designs.

I am forever in awe of all the amazing artists out there who create stunning pieces of art by expressing themselves in their own individual capacity and uniqueness. I don’t aspire to be like anyone in particular but there are many whose work I find extremely impressive. Everyone has their own way of interpreting their creative energies in a way and medium they find best.

Photo: Maria Zaidi

How long does it take you to complete a journal? What feelings do you process with your art?

It depends on how often I work in them and how many pages a journal has. I have five to six journals currently in use and I work in them whenever I feel like. I usually don’t have an end result in mind when I start. I enjoy working on instinct, allowing myself to just go with the flow. Some of my mixed media spreads take a couple of hours to finish whereas my intricate black and white designs often take a couple of days to a few weeks to complete.

It is mostly what I’m feeling at any given moment or what I’m in the mood for at a particular time. Sometimes, I want to escape the stress of daily life, sometimes there’s a thought I want to process or a quote I like and want to record it. Then there are colours I’m drawn to, want to play around with them to see what I come up with, experiment with different combinations and tools. There’s not one particular thing, it depends on what I’m in the mood for, when the urge strikes to be creative.

One of her favourite artworks
Photo: Maria Zaidi

Do you have a journal that you would consider a favourite?

I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece but this spread is so close to my heart. One of my absolute favourites. I made it when my husband was travelling abroad for work and we were at a point in life where we had to make tough decisions. I was really missing him and hoping that the decision would go in our favour. So it was during that time that all of this came pouring out of me on these journal pages.


Follow your heart for things you want to do.
There is no such thing as ‘perfect’ in life. We all are a work in progress.

Just start, right now, instead of waiting for the right time.

Maria Zaidi

Photo: Maria Zaidi

Thank you for the great interview!

Follow Maria Zaidi on Instagram and YouTube for regular inspiration from her artwork.

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