Art Journaling can provide another way to process difficult feelings or anxiety. While a huge proponent of journaling, changing up exactly “how” you journal provides new ways to relieve anxiety and allow your creativity to flow! Learning how to start an art journal will open your eyes to new benefits of processing your emotions.
An art journal is simply a “visual” diary. It is a journal where you express yourself through words and art. No rules apply, and anything goes. Some people collect quotes that inspire or encourage them and then add sketches or pictures to go with them. An art journal is as individual as the person who owns it. Getting started is easy; don’t be intimidated, the only prerequisite is a few simply art supplies and a willing heart!
“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”
Why You Should Start an Art Journal
Before we get into he nuts and bolts of getting started on creating an art journal, let me share with you some of the benefits of art journaling. This creative form of self-care helps you to process your feelings in a healthy way. You don’t need to have any art talent or instruction, just a willingness to “play” and express yourself through colors, images, words, you name it! Art journaling provides an avenue of healing. Consider with me just few of the benefits.
- Helps work out thoughts and feelings. We all have bad days, difficult trials, and stressful lives. Art journaling provides an outlet for those feelings to be expressed in a constructive way, rather than locking them inside.
- Releases your creativity. Even if you don’t think of yourself as an “artist”, God made us in His image, we were made to “create”. Art journaling opens up that avenue for you to experience gifts you didn’t know you had in a safe place.
- Encourages personal and spiritual growth. art journaling provides time to reflect, consider what you believe and reveal your own personal strengths.
- Provides an opportunity for fun. As adults we don’t often take the time for ourselves to have fun and “play”. We especially don’t take that opportunity when anxious or overwhelmed.
- Offers healing and is therapeutic. We use art therapy in grief counseling to get “what’s inside, outside.” This not only works for grief, but other difficult emotions like fear, anxiety, sadness and even bitterness and resentment.
“Art is not always about pretty things. It’s about who we are, what happened to us, and how our lives are affected.”Elizabeth Brown
The Beauty of Art Journaling
The beauty of art journaling stems from its very personal nature. Creating art this way allows you freedom of expression without fear of rejection. Everything you create remains safely tucked into your own personal journal. You may choose to share pages with someone, or you may choose not to.
You may choose more abstract expression of thoughts and feelings, or a more defined method. I like to include inspirational quotes, bible verses or my own poetry. I have also seen people who use mixed mediums of expression like the images below. Calligraphy or decorative writing is also another way of art journaling. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.
Keep Your Supplies Simple
Don’t feel like you have to go out and buy a bunch of expensive art supplies for your journal. Find a journal that you like, I recommend a mixed medium paper journal around 5 x 7 inches. Anything smaller will make it difficult for you to develop, and anything larger may have you feeling overwhelmed to fill it.
Gather some basic art supplies; one or two basic drawing pencils, a nice set of color pencils, markers, calligraphy pens, (if you enjoy doing calligraphy), and some basic water color paints. Acrylic paints work nice too, but they can be pricey, I only mention them in case you like using them too!
Collecting pictures from magazines, inspirational quotes, leaves, flowers petals, all sorts of items give me options that can be incorporated into my art journal. I keep these in a decorative box along with my other supplies, providing an eclectic array of choices and inspiration.
Inspirational Prompts for Your Art Journal
As I referenced earlier, starting or using an art journal has many benefits. One of which is it allows you to express your creativity freely knowing you are the only one to view it, that no critics are permitted! But sometimes, even when you know it will help you to spend time in your art journal, you have trouble getting started or with “inspiration”. Here are a few prompts to get you started, or to use when you come up short.
- Pick a quote, enter it in your art journal and design your whole journal page around it.
- Take your art journal outside; write, paint, or draw what you see, or do a combination of the three.
- Do a “gratitude” page: write down some things you’re grateful for, use different lettering for each, decorate!
- Find a poem that inspires you, or write your own! Design the art journal page around it.
- Think about a fear you have; Draw a mountain in the middle of the page. Draw or write your fear on one side of the mountain, and what it would look like on the other side after you faced your fear.
- Paint or draw what it is like when you are in your favorite place.
- Illustrate what peace looks like to you.
- Use, pictures, or quotes to make a collage page.
- Draw or paint with your non dominant hand- don’t be critical! It’s amazing what you create over time practicing this!
- Illustrate your emotions; use lines, shapes, colors. What do they look like?
“It’s not about me as the creator, but as the created made to reflect His Creativity.”Ruth Chou Simons
Creativity Sparks Life
Most times you won’t need a “prompt” for an art journal idea. Once you begin to use this form to express yourself, I promise your mind will start to pick up ideas everywhere. Creativity sparks life. When I struggle through a difficult week at work or a distressing emotional time, I feel the need to create most strongly. Having an art journal provides tremendous opportunity for personal growth as you allow what’s inside, to come outside.
I find art journaling very life giving because it flows from within me, allowing my creativity freedom of expression. My thoughts, fears, emotions, dreams, even my pain finds expression through color, lines, shapes, pictures and words. My art journal breathes life into my soul as it displays the beauty within. I’d love to hear about your experiences with art journaling, leave me a comment below and share your experiences!