Welcome! I'm so glad you're here!
I have so much I want to share with you on how you can unlock your hidden artist and find joy in the Art of Creative Journaling! I've been any artist my entire life but it was when I went to college that I began the ritual of filling a large black journal every year. Let's just say college was, a-hem, a few years ago when Prince and Madonna were giving us all life. Every year since then I've created a journal. I can’t see that ever changing.
The mixture of creative play along with putting pen to paper is one of the quickest ways to get in touch with your deepest thoughts and emotions. That said, it’s not always pretty and sometimes quite messy and maybe even a bit sad, pretty reflective of life don’t you think? The greatest thing about journaling is that it’s just for you. It’s a completely safe place for you to write your feelings and paint your ideas. It’s a place to add pictures that inspire you and doodle when you are feeling stuck. Sometimes my pages are full of just writing while other pages are full of my sketches, paintings, and ideas.
The beautiful thing about Creative Journaling is that any one can do it! Once you begin the process you will experience more clarity and find peace within yourself in a new, exciting way.
Let's Get Started
1) Choose your journal: First think about how you want to use your journal. If you mainly want to write and sketch then you may like the Canson Black Spiral Journal I use. I like the large size but it comes in several sizes. If you want to primarily paint and use mixed media then you may prefer Strathmore or Moleskin watercolor journals. I have both. I use a small Strathmore watercolor journal for when I’m traveling along with a Windsor & Newton travel paint set. These went with me all over Italy and back! You may want to browse the isles of your local art store and select one that feels best for you.
2) Art Supplies: Some of these may seem obvious but here is a general idea of what you’ll need. Pens, Paintbrushes. I like Artist's Loft Synthetic Brushes, Paints: Watercolor - trasparent - fluid, Acrylic & Guache - opaque and more saturated color, Stamps, Ink, small spray bottle of water, Gesso, Tissue Paper. I could go on and on because you can literally use anything that will stick to paper to play with in your journal! In my Creative Journaling Playshop I explain more about how you can use each of these mediums.
3) Conquer your inner critique: It's easy to feel overwhelmed when staring at a blank sheet of paper but the great thing about it is, this is for your eyes only unless you choose to share it. So To Begin - Just Begin! Let go of all outcome and let your words, paint, or pencil flow across the pages without judgement.
4) Find inspiration: Once you get into the practice of creating journal pages you will start to see things differently. Anything can become inspiration! If you are just getting started I would suggest you start with taking a walk in nature. Yup, just take a walk. Nature is full of inspiration. Connecting with the pure vibration of nature with an open mind is one of the quickest ways to jump start your creativity. There are also many creative art and writing prompts you can explore. I talk more about those in my Playshop.
5) Create your background pages: Sometimes if you "just aren't feeling it" you can start with something as simple as creating background pages. You might want to mix paint colors on your pages and come back to them later when you want to write or collage on top of them.
6) Words: I love to play with words and quotes. Draw them, cut them out of magazines and make a collage, layer them on top of of your background pages or write a word and just doodle around it. A simple writing prompt is to answer the question "I Am____________" with several answers. Artist, author and friend Christine Mason Miller, aka SwirlyGirl, writes about this in her beautiful book, Desire To Inspire.
7) Draw simple shapes: Even if you say you're not an artist, just about everyone can draw repeating circles or triangles, squares that interlock, etc. I'm personally a fan of "dots" they show up quite often in my paintings.
8) Mixed Media: This is one of the funnest ways to journal because you basically are playing with all kinds of materials. One of my favorite things to do and very simple, is photocopy or print out an image in black and white and then paint it, or add whatever else speaks to you.
9). Try looking at it a different ways: I take lots of breaks when I'm painting pages and have found it helpful to step back and look at the design. You can even turn your pages. Sometimes I will take a picture on my phone and look at how the camera captures the design.
10) Take your time: Set a time that will consistently work for you. I like to journal and paint in the late afternoon. It’s my way to unwind at the end of the day. You can see my daily paintings on my Instagram. I started it as the 100 Day challenge, which I've now done three times! It's become a habit that I look forward to every single day!
Some of you may choose to journal first thing in the morning. I will do that as well as a way to sketch out what my day will look like or write about something I'm trying to process and figure out. Author, Julia Cameron wrote the most amazing book 25 years ago that is still relevant and helpful, The Artist's Way, where she talks about the power of morning pages among many other wonderful insights.
I truly hope you will give it a try! Put on some great music, light a candle, pour your self some tea, coffee, or a glass of wine and have fun!
If you want to learn more about Creative Art Journaling, I will be offering an on-line Playshop in the Fall. The best way to know about it, is to join my newsletter. I'm also launching a super exciting Podcast which is all about supporting artists and creative entrepreneurs while giving back to the community in a unique and meaningful way. I'm soooo excited about it...More to come on that soon!! Let's keep in touch! xoxo Mari