Blending Art & Writing In Your Intuitive Art Journal
Dear Wonderful, Creative You:
I’ve been thinking about how to give you some of the goodies that I’ve been developing for my Diving Deep: Intuitive Art Journaling class, and I’ve got a sweet idea. The PDF that I’m developing for the class is THOROUGH. I love being able to develop solid and inspiring resources for you. I know that not everyone learns the same way, and I’ve realized how helpful a written guide is. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the lessons about blending art & writing in your intuitive art journal. I think blending art and writing doesn’t come naturally to all of us, but can be so cathartic and beautiful in art journal pages.
So my gift to you today is an excerpt from the Diving Deep class PDF. I hope you enjoy these techniques and share them on social media with #mindfulartstudio so we can all inspire each other!
Using Text in Your Art Journal
The text on your page is not just writing, it’s a part of the art piece. Of course, you can always leave things more loose, letting them evolve naturally. I do this often as well. It’s important to make space in your journal for the ugly stuff too.
Sometimes I NEED to just let go of the aesthetics and do what feels good, regardless of how it looks. Other times, it’s a blend of following intuition and thinking about it as “art.” What helps me decide what I need that day is to tune into my body before I begin to create, and set an intention to honor my needs in the moment.
Having said that, let’s talk about using writing as a part of your artistic composition on the page for those times when you want to blend your intuition with aesthetics. You want your writing to look like a natural part of the piece, not something you slapped on top of it as an afterthought.
I use writing in several different ways. Try them all, and then experiment with your own ways as well:
- Use writing to create a textured background.
I frequently write on a blank journal page and then draw or paint over it, covering some or all of my words. The first image with the triangles shows writing with triangles drawn over, and then a layer of smoky gesso, and then collage. The second image shows writing, smoky layers of high flow acrylic paint, collage, and gel pen for the branching lines. I love how layering art techniques in this way allows me to transform my feelings on the page. I can go from feeling stressed and confused, or even icky, to relaxed – like I have a handle on things. Sometimes the symbols that emerge – like with the fish and bird in these two pictures, have powerful metaphors that help calm my feelings.
- Use text partially hidden in the imagery.
The image on the left has writing in the white “smoke” that surrounds the figure. It doesn’t jump off the page, but rather is a secret to be discovered. I like this element of mystery and how it matches the feel of the piece. The blue piece on the right uses the writing almost as part of the line work on the page. It’s hard to read in many spots. That suited me well in this piece, as I didn’t want others to easily read it.
- Use text as a supporting element to the focus imagery.
I like to create images and colors on the page without a plan, see what comes up, and write a few phrases that encapsulate the thoughts and feelings that emerge. I find this process very cathartic.
- Use writing as the central focus of the page.
With this, you want to be sure that your writing is placed in a way that marries well with the imagery on your page. It can’t ignore the imagery, the colors, and the rest of the piece, but needs to play nice with it.
I can’t wait to see what you create with these ideas. I hope you dive deep into your intuitive process. And if you are longing to dive even DEEPER, we have just 5 spots left in our live class, Diving Deep: Intuitive Art Journaling and we would love for you to join us. You can learn more here.
I don’t often write on my pages but this is an intriguing challenge. I love all of what you have done here.
Oh I didn’t realize that was not a norm for you, and I can’t wait to see what you do with it.
Hi Amy –
Love these examples and the interesting note that some are very clear to read while others are somewhat clouded. Lots of intention and artistry – beautiful!
Thank you so much for looking and commenting so thoughtfully, Barbara. I’m so happy this process speaks to you.
When I read this I thought it was my writing. I wrote this on a therapy blog 2 or 3 years ago. “I write on a blank journal page and then draw or paint over it, covering some or all of my words.”
Hi Winter: Yes, it’s amazing how ubiquitous art ideas are! This is a trusty expressive therapy technique I learned in grad school. Happy creating!
Love these examples Amy! Thanks for sharing 💗
I’m so happy these speak to you! I can’t wait to see what emerges from it for you!
So, I’m relatively new to art journaling and was wondering what recommendations you guys have for notebooks/journals to use?
Sure! I have a whole post on all my favorite materials here: Happy creating!