Tired of boring old journals with lines? Give art journaling a try!
I really enjoy writing and getting my crazy thoughts out on paper has also been a very useful tool, but sometimes writing the words isn’t very much fun. With art, I get to let out my thoughts and feelings and maybe make something that looks neat… or at the very least involves a lot of glitter.
The scariest thing that I experience with my mental illness is my inability to trust my own thoughts and emotions. Sometimes they make no rational or logical sense. The “cause” and “effect” do not add up. As a result, I have no idea what action steps to take. I don’t know what behaviors are appropriate or what will help me feel “better” when I’m distressed.
Luckily, art doesn’t have to be logical, rational, or reasonable.
When I can’t make sense of the flurry in my head and body, and I don’t know what to do, but I know I need to do something, I turn to my art. I pull out my glitter, glue, crayons, colored pencils, whatever medium speaks to me, and I just let it all out.
The end product usually looks how I was feeling- a mess of colors and undefined shapes. But I’m not creating for some master piece finished product. I’m creating to get lost and forget that my ill mind is ill. I’m creating extra space for the overflow of thoughts and extreme emotions. I’m moving the overwhelming sensations out of my body.
There’s something very therapeutic about expressing feelings and emotions through colors and shapes. The cool thing about art journaling is that like regular journaling it can be kept private, and you get to hoard beautiful journals and art supplies.
You don’t always have to be in a state of distress to do art, though. Get the supplies and try it out just for funsies.
What You Need To Get Started
- Multimedia Sketchbook or Unlined Paper that can handle your choice of medium (i.e. water color, crayon, marker, chocolate sauce, whatever)
- Art Supplies
Pretty specific list, I know.
When you think about an art journal, don’t think sketchbook. Think preschool. In preschool, no one is expecting masterpieces from you, and as a preschooler you don’t even know what a masterpiece is. When it’s time to get crafty and arty in preschool, the teacher pulls out that huge tub full of poster paint, colorful feathers, glitter, construction paper, and all that good stuff. Don’t limit yourself to just a pencil and some markers. Don’t let me tell you what supplies to use, though. This is YOUR art journal.
How To Start Out
- Grab your supplies and get somewhere cozy.
- Check in with yourself. How are you feeling? What’s on your mind?
- Then, you can warm up by drawing/painting shapes, lines, patterns. See how it feels.
Just play around with your supplies and see what feels good. You can also start out with a couple of exercises…
- Create a self portrait using colors and shapes
- Assign colors to emotions and create a reference chart
- Make a collage using inspirational words and images from old magazines
- Trace your hand and fill the inside with drawings or words of your favorite things
Now go find a really cool, magical, beautiful looking art journal!
You can find more of Sabrina Shelby’s DIY projects at The Active Koala.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.