I have to admit that starting this visual journal process was a challenge this time around. I had my book covered and ready to go- (For Visual Journal Part I go here) but the hundreds of blank pages staring back at me kept me paralyzed. I found myself not knowing where to begin. I was stuck in fear of the outcome and worried about what the pages would end up like. Recording the process of a visual journal for everyone to see was something new for me. What if they didn’t turn out how I hoped? What if other people didn’t like it? Having to put your “art work” out there was intimidating. I didn’t know where to begin.
Desperate for inspiration, I began thumbing through this book called The Art Journal Workshop by Traci Bunkers (which I HIGHLY recommend) and I stopped at a page where she talks about silencing “The Inner Critic.” That is exactly what I needed to do before beginning my journal. I had to let go of the outcome and if it would look “good” or not and just enjoy the process.
If you are wanting some ideas and more of a step by step guide to starting a Visual Journal- this book is a must have! She has several pages with supply lists and tips on how to do it. It also comes with a DVD that shows her creating the pages from beginning to end. You can find more about Traci and her book here.
So, STEP ONE: Silence “The Inner Critic.” I created my first page with a photo of me (holding an oreo cupcake- two of my loves combined!) so I would remember that this book is MY perfection (and what that means to me)- and no other opinion matters.
STEP TWO: Find a place to spread out. Cover the table or floor if you are worried about paint spilling. Warning: it could get messy- but that means you are having fun right?
STEP THREE: Gather all your supplies in one spot. I love using my art caddy that can be transported anywhere. Note: I also like to play some of my favorite tunes to set the tone.
Supplies. I recommend gathering:
Gesso, paint, glue, scissors, magazines, cool paper, anything from a junk drawer, old ticket stubs, stamps, stickers, quotes, photos, roller, hair dryer, ink, paint brushes, sponges, scrapers, and pretty much anything you want to include. There is no right or wrong.
Note: I use magazine clippings in a lot of my journaling so I have a place where I have magazines already cut out and categorized for quick access. Plus, I don’t want to have to store so many magazines!
STEP FOUR: GO FOR IT! Just dive in there and begin. Even if you are unsure of where to start- just start doing something- anything.
I started by ripping out pages of the book. This was hard to do at first (who likes to destroy books?) but I soon learned that I could reuse the pages by adding them into my gesso for a really cool look. Note: It is important to take out about 1/4 of the pages to allow space for the book to grow…because it will!
I then covered the page with extra paper and Gesso. Additional note: use a blowdryer in between layers to speed up the drying process. It helps to have each layer dry before adding the next layer.
I then added some paint. Note: I chose a softer color to portray “motherhood.” Notice what colors you are drawn to for certain pages. I also just lightly brushed it on because I wanted to keep the print and gesso from being totally covered up.
Then, I cut out words from one of my favorite magazines Seeing the Everyday (totally recommend this magazine!) Then I decided to paint over the words with white to leave the word on the page.
I then glued the words on the other side of the page along with an instagram photo of the shadow of my son and I holding hands. I added other phrases to the page.
Lastly, (I didn’t get this photographed) but I left space for me to write down my thoughts on being a mother and the memory of holding my little boy’s hand as we go for walks. Then I will stamp his little hand with black ink on the other page to always remember his little size.
My page is done! Easy breezy?
Remember you are done when you feel like your page is done.
I had no idea what the final product was going to be and had to just let go of My Perfectionistic Self and Inner Critic and to let whatever happened just happen.
It was so freeing.
I decided that I wanted to make this particular visual journal a place where I kept all the daily things I am grateful for. So, I printed off a bunch of photos I have taken with my phone and have them stored in an envelope in the back of my journal to be able to write more on these little moments of gratitude on the rest of the pages.
Warning: Visual Journaling is addicting and you may find yourself spending countless hours engaged in this activity.
It’s so fun- once I got started-I had a difficult time stopping!
Here are some other pages I completed in this sitting.