How Art Journaling Can Improve Your Writing

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
I keep an art journal...
...but I am a writer, not an artist.

some of my art journals
In my art journals, I use cut outs from magazines, different kinds of markers, crayons, and colored pencils, stamps, decorative tapes, and stencils. When I am feeling extra fancy, I use acrylic and watercolor paints, gel mediums, ink sprays, and glossy varnish.

Sometimes I start with an idea or theme in mind; sometimes I just squirt paint around and see what happens.

How does art journaling relate to writing, you ask?

1. On the most basic level: I often include writing on the art journal pages. This can be as simple as quotes or song lyrics or lists, or as elaborate as a full journal entry.

2. Art journaling is a much more visual medium than writing. I can see the layers of my creations. I can see when something doesn’t look the way I want it to. I paint or paste over it and try again. It’s not always that simple to see what isn’t working in my writing, but being aware of the process of creation helps me to break down my writing process so I can see it in layers, too.
3. Art journaling inspires ideas. Working in a visual medium taps into a part of the brain that isn’t used when just writing down words.
4. The creative and meditative process lets me get to know myself, which gives me self-confidence, which spills over into confidence in my writing. I love how art journalists are dedicated to stomping out the inner demon that tells you your work is no good.
5. Creating art is relaxing. When I write, I’m often writing because it’s my job, to make money. It has to be clear, concise, and professional. Other people are going to read it and judge it. Art journaling, though, is a safe space to explore, make mistakes, and learn. I don’t expect so much out of myself with making art because I don’t identify as an artist. But I try to take that relaxed, carefree attitude into my writing. It has helped me to remember that writing should be fun, too.

inside an art journal - Christmas ephemera

Interested in starting an art journal?

Below are links to some of my favorite artist bloggers who often provide examples of and tips on art journaling:

2015 Art Journaling Challenges

Project Life is an art journaling/scrapbooking challenge to get you creating something every week of the year to document your life. This could be a good place to start.

Or you could do something even simpler. For example, I got a new notebook and I am going to challenge myself to write in it at least twice a week, and incorporate visual elements into it at least once a week.

Good luck, have fun, and happy writing and journaling in the new year!

Written by Anne Greenawalt: writer and writing instructor


Sioux Roslawski said...

Doing artwork--even if you are NOT a real gifted artist--is relaxing. I enjoy zentangling, and have a journal that combines writing and zentangle stuff.

Have a great start to 2015, Anne.

Margo Dill said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful art journals with us! :)

Suzanne Pitner said...

What a terrific idea! I do write in a journal every day, and occasionally post pictures in it. I enjoy zentangling too, Sioux. That's about as artsy as I can get. But I love the idea of including a picture in the journal at least once a week. I can handle that!

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