creative journal

What is a Creative Journal?

11 min

While playing in our journals we are observing our mind, our feelings about what our mind is saying, our beliefs about our creative process. We are opening the door to live life creatively ... with curiosity and courage rather than a life of self-judgment, perfectionism, doubt.

Creative Journals

Before I began this journey I called all of my journals “Art” Journals without realizing how the word “ART” has become a trigger of judgment, criticism and self-doubt for many people.  I now call them Creative Journals and that is actually more accurate. When we make a creative journal we are practicing and experimenting with “Artistic” skills but our process has a lot more layers than that.  While playing in our journals we are observing our mind, our feelings about what our mind is saying, our beliefs about our creative process.  In fact we are opening the door to live life creatively…with curiosity and courage rather than a life of self-judgment, perfectionism, doubt.

It doesn't matter what you call your Journal.  (Although I was surprised to find out that some people have very strict opinions on this subject.) The name of it is not nearly as important as the intention with which you use it.

A creative journal could be used for many purposes.  I usually have two or three in use at the same time.  I use my journal to express my thoughts and feelings, to heal, to explore the inner workings of my being, to process emotion, to practice following my intuition, to play with color, texture and techniques, to practice drawing, to release unwanted baggage and sometimes just to remember what fun it is to create.  My intention for my creative journal is to document my journey of self-discovery and to express my thoughts and feelings.

I use both “art” and writing in my journal.

I might put photos, poetry, coursework, ticket stubs, magazine cut outs, cool words I find…anything that I find inspiring could go in my journal. (Along with paper scraps, fabric scraps, lace, bags, etc.)

One clear distinction that you will need to make as you examine your intention for your creative journal is how private do you want it to be?  A journal implies that you are documenting life experience or working through difficult emotions.  Sometimes that is not for sharing.  You can do what I do and write, vehemently if necessary, until you feel a release and then cover it with paper and glue or acrylic paint, or gesso, or texture.  I call that “laying the foundation”.  That does the trick for me.  You could also have two journals…one for creative expression and one for documentation in writing.  The important thing is to give yourself the gift of releasing what does not serve you or enhancing what does serve you.

The reason there seems to be some importance to this is because it changes your journaling intention from one of outcome to one of process.  That is a rather important mental distinction.  When you journal for process you are journaling for yourself and your creative expression.  It is about the journey not what the page looks like.  When you are journaling for outcome your intention is to create a piece of art and that does change the focus.

I would like our journals to be the expression of our thoughts and feelings, a healing, creative practice, a fun exploration.  We are playing and learning and observing…we might make art (because this is all art to me) but that won't be our focus.

Just one more thought…make your creative journal your own.  Choose your own words and challenges, your own color, your own decoration.  Make the format fit your needs.  What is important is not what we are making, necessarily, it is creating, learning, observing and growing together.  The processes are really fun and the pages will be meaningful and insightful to you.  I encourage you to make and honor a commitment to your Creativity and Feed Your Soul.

Creative Journal Supply List

The Supplies you will need are simple.  As you play in your journal you may want to expand your supplies but all that you really need is a journal with fairly heavy paper, black and white pens, and a color medium.  That will get you started.

A more comprehensive Supply List can be found below:

  • You need something to Journal in. This is what I am currently using 9 x 12 CANSON XL Mix Media with 98 lb paper (you need fairly heavy paper to hold up under the weight of paint, glue and paste).  I have also used composition notebooks, magazines, old books.  To begin a fresh, white page is nice (sometimes intimidating but we will take care of that).  The solution to thin pages is to glue or Mod Podge them together.  If you can't find 98lb or heavier that is the solution.
  • Page protector – I found thick plastic mats at the dollar store in the kitchen department. I think they are to roll out pie crust on.  Those work well.  So does butcher paper, waxed paper,  you just need it to be larger than your journal page to protect the other pages from paint and glue.
  • Masking tape – 1″
  • Pallet knife
  • White glue – Mod Podge (my favorite for journal work.  I get the Matte but if you like a shiny finish you can get Gloss) or Matte Medium (I like using the medium but it is significantly more expensive than Mod Podge)
  • Acrylic Paint – Doesn't really matter what brand.  If you painted a Mandala that paint will be fine.   Black, White, Brown, Green, Yellow and Turquoise are what I used for the River of Thought.
  • Scrap paper – this can be anything.  The weight of the background should be a normal copy paperweight (20 lb).  Envelopes that come in your bills, sheet music, doodles, gift wrap, book pages (if you have books that are falling apart), paper bags, etc.  I try to stay away from shiny paper as a background.  The glue doesn't always like it.  Once we do a page you will understand the significance of the background and find lots of background pages.
  • White tissue paper

I think that is about it but let me tell you there is literally no end to what you can use in a journal or products you can buy to enhance your pages.  For now lets just get used to creating in our journal and we will see where our inspiration leads us.

I will see you in the art room…

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