Visual Journaling: Express Yourself with Art and Writing

Creating a visual journal can bring out the artist in you. Sometimes words cannot do your feelings justice or adequately express your mood. When you want a little more freedom of expression, why not give visual journaling a try? A visual journal is a combination of a scrapbook, a sketchpad, and a diary.

Start with an unlined notebook. You can create your own with a looseleaf notebook, but it will be big and cumbersome if you want to work somewhere besides your kitchen table or workshop. With an inexpensive notebook, you can decorate the cover as well as each of the pages inside. Some people like to use water colors to add color to several pages before they write on them. (Be sure to let the paint dry before closing the book.)

The variety of art materials that can be used in a visual journal are limited only by your imagination. Collages from old magazines were fun when you were a child, and they are still an enjoyable creative outlet. Tear out the photos or words, or cut them carefully. An inexpensive glue stick does a good job of attaching the paper to your journal page.

Collages and other visual journaling techniques are a good way to increase your motivation to achieve dreams and goals. A visual display of motivating slogans and inspiring photos can give you that needed shove to keep your spirits up in times of adversity. Creating that visual display yourself makes it unique, personal, and your own.

In addition to water colors for backgrounds, try paint pens, gel pens, and glitter pens to add color and glitz to your pages. Don’t forget to add your own poetry or musings to the creative mix. Found objects, fabrics, buttons, and similar items add three-dimensional texture to your pages. Do be aware, though, that too many three dimensional objects will make your book hard to close.

Here is a recycled version of a visual journal: Use an old book for your journal. This art medium is usually called making an “altered book.” One beauty of this method is that it saves an old unwanted book from going to the land-fill while giving you the therapeutic experience of creating art with color, texture and words.

Glue plain paper and pieces of magazine pages over the pages to create your new journal. If it has more pages than you are going to want to fill, glue them together. It’s possible that there are words on the original pages that you want to save by highlighting in some way. Or maybe a transparent color wash over the existing text can form a fitting background for other things.

Let traditional journaling prompts give you ideas for pages in your visual journal. Here is an example: “Remember a special time you spent with a friend. What did you do together? How did it make you feel?”

To visually journal this prompt, you might use photos of your own special friends from childhood. You could add a magazine picture of two people who look like friends or make you think of friendship. Your own writing can be done artistically in a variety of colors on colored paper, cut in the shape of a heart, and glued into the book. The page can then be decorated as you like with whatever seems to contribute to the theme of friends doing things together. For instance, a raffia knot can symbolize the tie that binds you and your friend.

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of including the date on each page. Years later, when you or others view your masterpieces, they will tell the story of your own unfolding as a human being.

About Shery: Shery is the creator of WriteSparks!™- a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks!™ Lite for free at . She is also the author of 2 books. Visit her official site at

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