Mark Maker: Cindy Tadje

Mark Maker: Cindy Tadje

You've seen her art but meet the talented artist behind some of the beautiful journal prompts - Cindy Tadje. A few years back we collaborated on an Instagram page called @Rusticojounal with the purpose in mind to create a collection of daily writing prompts curated to inspire and help develop a daily habit of focusing on your inner journaler.

And the response was great! Cindy would craft a new prompt to provide fans with some inspiration to repel writer's block and create a space where you can explore the use of different words, shapes, colors, paints, and textures.

We sat down with Cindy to learn more about her and tap into her imagination as we designate her a Rustico Mark Maker.  

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

When I’m not a strung out from being a mother of 4, I’m a free spirit who loves her art. I love it, specifically water coloring.

It’s my release.

It’s my therapy.

It’s a way that identifies me other than cooking, cleaning or chauffeuring my kids around. I sometimes have to find laughter in life and I feel I can sometimes do that in my silly art stuff. My kids enjoy helping me come up with ideas and watch me craft it. They’ll hang over my shoulder and tell me, “Mom that’s really bad, maybe you should do another one.” I know something makes sense when I show my kids and they can make out what I’m trying to portray. If they get it, everyone else will. Check me out my personlal page at @artbycindytadje

Where do you call home?

I’m a gypsy. I have a gypsy home mentality. I want my home to be everywhere! More of a feeling not necessarily a location. And I think that comes from being an artist and having that mindset. You don’t want what everyone else has. Look for something better. That’s why home is a feeling for me. 

When did you start drawing?

I’ve always been a doodler; probably something to do with ADHD. But I actually started doing it more as an outlet for one of my nieces. She needed love so I started painting for her. I started doing it more and more for fun and eventually began to dabble in chalk art. Over time, I just kept doing it. I’ve had no formal training and am proudly self-taught. Art for me evolved into a way for me to relax and really calm down. It sounds super weird but something about the water and paper coming together, it’s like therapy for me!

Chalk art is where I was first approached to expand my skill by a talented local architect, Ezra Lee (his houses are amazing btw!). I painted a lion in chalk at a hippie sidewalk chalk event and it shocked me how good it came out! He saw it and asked me if I could paint a mural in one of his homes. I accepted the challenge. Then during a Parade of Homes for Ezra, a contact from Rustico saw my art mural and asked me about an art journal collaboration. As you know, the rest is history. I took on the artist role and here we are today creating daily new journal prompts for our beloved journaling audience.


What does art mean to you?

Um..I feel like art has saved me. I feel like it’s a way to stop, breath and connect! The chatter in my mind stops when I do it. I think as a Mom, even if you’re not a Mom, in this day and age we live in a world with information overload all the time. It’s nice to touch the paper, stop and paint and let your mind be still!

That’s what my mind does. One of my favorite journal prompts is the mindful one (pictured above) the lotus and meditation. There’s something really unique and special about the lotus flower, it grows in the grossest murky pond water but it flourishes just beautifully despite its environment.

What’s your favorite color?

Turquoise. Hands down. I find it very calming. I always use blue in my art. Whether it’s skies, rivers, oceans and lakes; they’re all my favorite things.

From a fan, Amir: How do you draw this beautifully?

Aw, you’re sweet!  Thank you so much for your kind words, I actually don’t think I’m that good haha. But I think this is how we as humans sometimes compare ourselves to everybody. I learned to let that go. This is my art and if people like my art, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too. It’s the best I can do with what I have.

We can sit and compare ourselves to other great artists with stunning typography, especially on Instagram, and before that would get me down. But not anymore, now I’m like whatever. Amir, you’re very nice—that’s sweet of you.

When did you consider yourself an Artist?

If people ask me if I’m an artist, I still don’t consider myself one. I’m an amateur doing something I enjoy! One thing I do have is my creativity. I’m able to whip something quick at the drop of a hat. I’ve always had a knack for that.

Advice to an Artist looking to start out?

Paint every day. Do something every day. Connect with paper every day – or whatever your medium is. The more you do it, the better you’ll get, practice is key. Carve time in your day to do it.

If you go back and see my earliest prompts, you’ll note the change in my progress. I often go back and I wonder what you saw in me J it’s pretty cool to see my work evolve over time. 

Where does Cindy get her inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from my mind. My mind is always running. I’ve always had a strong imagination and been pretty creative. It’s a gift that’s always been with me.

What do you like to do when you’re not making art?

Enjoying the outdoors with my kids is my number 1! I like to be in the mountains. Hiking, biking, paddle boarding and skiing; skiing is my happy place. Essentially anything outdoors.

Do you kids draw/paint too?

They enjoy to come in and do stuff with me when I’m working, they’ve learned to like it more. I really critique them though, like “what is thaaaaaaaaaat?” or “work on your handwriting” in a snarky voice haha. They know I’m being sarcastic.

I do push them to work on their handwriting though. I feel like handwriting is a lost art. I don’t think people realize this. Calligraphy, typography is a lost art but making a comeback. It’s fun to exercise this talent with my family. Who  knows what’s going to be around. I have so many books on fonts and type, you really have to play with it and be ok with messing up. And I’ve learned to keep at it, keep playing with your handwriting to really improve. And don’t forget to have fun!

In school I was always doodling and all my teachers were like, “Cindy, pay attention” while snapping their fingers at me. Look at me now!

journal prompt

Which journals do you like for your art and why?

I love the black paper in the Family Leather Photo Album and Field Leather Photo Album! I love how my metallic pens portray on that black thick paper. Big Idea Album is also one of my favorites. It’s a big canvas to do whatever I want. Another good one is the Traveler Journal, it’s the best for ANY artist. It lays flat on its back easy to draw or paint on and the size is perfect!

As for paper, I enjoy dot grid. It’s my favorite of them all. It’s smooth, great for drawing angles and gives you a reference. For example, when drawing you can easily follow the dots. It’s perfect for any sketching artist. Blank paper is my second best favorite followed by lined. I don’t’ know why but lined just doesn’t do it for me. I really like working with the blank, cotton rag-paper found in both Traveler and Big Idea. They’re great for my art.


Do you have someone in mind you'd like to nominate for a Rustico Mark Maker? We're always on the hunt for someone who is leaving their mark through their purpose and cause. Let us know in the comments below or at 


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