Illustrated Life Journal by Kate Sutton: An In-Depth Course Review

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Join us as we share our favorite course experiences, uncovering what we loved, what didn’t quite hit the mark, and all the fun details in between. Have a course in mind that you’re dying to see us try? Shoot us an email and follow along as we add it to our ever-growing list!

Course: Illustrated Life Journal: A Daily Mindful Practice

Teacher: Kate Sutton, illustrator
Level: Beginner
Number of lessons: 13
Course time: 2 hours, 0 minutes

Embark on a journey of self-expression through Kate’s illustrated life journal course, a practice that offers a unique blend of art and mindfulness. Discover and enroll in the course by visiting here.

Why this course?

I have recently gotten into drawing. The reason this course caught my eye was…

  • I’m trying to get into the habit of daily sketching to improve.
  • I love the idea of keeping a life journal where I don’t need to write a lot but where I can capture small moments of my day with a quick sketch.
  • This course has gotten some great reviews.
  • When I saw that it’s aimed at beginners, I figured it was the perfect fit for me. My hopes were to learn how to fill a journal with fun drawings without pressure to make it look perfect and improve my art skills along the way.

Here’s how the course is set up

Unit 1

The first unit is mostly introductions. Kate goes into the materials she likes to use and shows us how to find good reference pictures online.

following units

Then she shows us how to turn this into the very first picture in our journals. Before you know it, Kate gets you to fill your pages with things you’re grateful for, foods you’ve eaten, and daily experiences. Things that make up your mundane, beautifully unique, everyday life. I found it easy to follow along, and the drawings are beautiful without being overly complicated.

final unit

And then the last part of the course is all about presenting your drawings and including the online community to help you keep up with your journaling.

About the Instructor

Kate Sutton is a freelance illustrator with 15 years of professional experience under her belt. She studied graphic design and has worked with some big names, like The Wall Street Journal, Waitrose, and LeSportSac.

Kate’s work is heavily influenced by nature, drinking coffee, and talking to random dogs. I can relate! Her love of nature is reflected in this course too, from the very first picture she draws of a bird to the pages of her own journal that are filled with outdoorsy gorgeousness.

My Learning Experience

My favorite lesson was the lesson on daily gratitude. It was fun thinking about all the things I was grateful for and putting them on paper. I love the practice of daily gratitude, and this was a lovely new way to do it.

I liked the pace of the lessons and how none of the projects seemed overwhelming. It was a rather therapeutic experience because there was such an emphasis on taking your time and enjoying the process. I can’t say that, at the end of this course, I have become a great artist worthy of note. But I can say that I am much more inclined to draw throughout the day and to make it a bigger part of my life. Exactly what I was hoping for!

Pros and Cons

The biggest pros for me were: the pleasant, relaxed vibe of the lessons. Nothing felt overwhelming or too difficult. I liked that it was okay to make mistakes. And the aim is not to make realistic-looking art but just to get your life onto paper.

Kate was a great teacher who went into exactly the right level of depth and detail. I think anyone can do this, no matter how much of a beginner you are. And at the same time, I think anyone can learn something from this course, no matter how advanced they are.

My personal cons? Kate’s presentation style at times can seem a bit unenthusiastic, for lack of a better word. I’m sure that she loves what she does, but it’s not always clear that’s the case.

Another con is that the last unit was almost completely pointless for me. The focus is on presenting your illustrations. I don’t use Photoshop, and I have no desire to share my journal online, so I would have preferred this unit to be filled with more exercises or examples. But the information was clearly laid out, and I’m sure that it is very helpful to others.

I can say that after taking this course I am much more inclined to draw throughout the day and to make it a bigger part of my life.

Course Materials and Resources

For this course, you need a journal, of course. The materials Kate uses brush pens, highlighters, fine liners, regular pencils, and colored pencils. I like that she takes the time to show how to use each of these materials and that none of them are very expensive or difficult to find. She also recommends the type of paper you want to look for in a sketchbook.

This course comes with a couple of downloadable resources. These include a 100-day challenge, a glimpse into Kate’s own illustrated journal, and a guide on how to create a time-lapse video in Procreate. I personally didn’t find these resources very helpful, but it was really nice to get a good look into Kate’s journal.

Interaction with the Community

The forum is a very active, very positive, and very supportive place. People are excited about each other’s drawings, and it’s beautiful to see how people are opening up about their art, the small struggles and joys of their lives, and the overwhelmingly positive response they get.

Final Project

For my final project, I have started a gratitude journal. Every day I draw a couple of pictures of things that made me happy that day, funny things my boys said or did, or a sweet moment with my husband. Now I actively look for the good things in my life so I can draw them. It’s been a lot of fun.


Overall, I would highly recommend this course to anyone. For beginners such as myself, there is a lot of practical advice to be found and some great starter projects to dip your toes in. Kate does a great job of keeping things simple, fun, and relaxing. There is no fear of failure here; everyone is welcome!

And I bet that there is something in here too for the experienced artist. It might be a new way of looking at the world, permission to keep things simple, or ideas on how to incorporate creativity in your day-to-day life. So, do I think this course is worth the time and money? It’s a big yes from me!

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