Creating and expressing in a visual journal came to me later in my artistic career and in my life.
I was actively creating art for a decade before I began to keep a journal. I was intimidated by the idea at first, believing falsely that I needed to be a proficient sketcher, or water colourist, or a writer, or poet to make use of a practice like journaling.
I thought I needed to have something important to say. It turns out that I did have something to say—I’ve since filled over 20 journals of all shapes and sizes.
I believe we all have a story, no matter how mundane or ordinary we may believe our story to be. With my visual journal, I create a dedicated space just for me, a sacred space for my eyes only, any time, any place; even in the midst of a bustling airport or the doctor’s waiting room.
Having my journal alongside me, always open and receiving, willing to be my steady confidant and playmate—this is a gift to my soul.
My journal is a place to explore new artistic ideas, to get thoughts out of my head, to express myself without fear or self-consciousness. Often, I freewrite, stream of consciousness style, and I allow myself to be surprised by what arises. I might make a point of writing the date and where I am, alongside a rough and tumble “sketch” of something that interests me in that moment. Then I will add layers of colour, collage, and random mark-making.
My visual journal is my sanctuary, a place to find myself, to connect and reconnect—to reveal what wants to be seen, acknowledged, and nourished within me. It’s also a place for pure play; the simple enjoyment of experimenting and exploring with colour, shape, and texture.
One of my missions is to demystify the creative process to encourage and inspire others.
We are all creative beings.
A way to begin
Gather together some or all of the following, there are no rules:
>> Art journal or notebook. It does not have to be fancy.
>> Soft, dark pencil for mark-making (try using your nondominant hand)
>> Assortment of pens, pencils, pencil crayons, and children’s crayons
>> Small watercolour set
>> Any art supplies you already have
>> White school glue or glue stick
>> Old gift wrap, newspaper, photos, postcards, or greeting cards to collage
Begin with freewriting using a writing prompt:
>> My favourite way to spend the day is…
>> 30 things that make me smile are…
>> Something I’ll never forget is…
>> The words I’d like to live by are….
>> What I wish others knew about me…
Write, glue, colour, paint, express. There is no “right” way to do this. It’s all yours, you get to decide. You are a creative sovereign.