Updated: Mar 15, 2022
First off, you might be asking yourself "what is visual journaling?"
Well, it can be anything you want it to be! You most likely have already been doing it without even knowing! If you have a photo album, or love scrapbooking, then you are visually creating memories - a journal. If you doodled through chemistry class and embellished your notes, you created interest to make a topic stand out! Ok, so maybe you were just bored and needed the distraction; there is not a wrong answer here!
I am definitely a doodler! Drawing patterns in my notes and highlighting special parts with bright colors has always been my style. However, the first time I was really intrigued with visual journaling was teaching high school art! I realized students were intimidated by the blank pages of their sketch books, and really didn't want to practice drawing something on a stark white page where it stood out! It was freeing for them to layer colors, play with paint and texture and then add in some practice drawing images and doodling. I also realized that as they created, their enthusiasm grew! Maya Angelou said, "you can't use up creativity, the more you use, the more you have". This message is foundational to really starting your creative journey. Leonardo Davinci illustrated everything from inventions, ideas, dreams and even his grocery lists over thousands of journal pages. He even wrote backwards to keep the authorities from discovering his thoughts; now that is creative! Even the most primitive of men kept visual journals of sorts: while we do not know much about the reasons for ancient cave paintings, it is speculated they were a visual form of writing. And what about hieroglyphics? Hopefully you get my point!
Step One: Grab an old or new book, journal, sketchbook or something you can use for your journal. If it has written pages, you can either draw right over it, or glue down layers of texture using paper or paint to create your surface!
Step Two: Pick a theme - anything goes - breakfast, flowers, your dreams, sports, a famous quote, or even a story or poem you love. There is no wrong theme - this is YOUR journal!!!
Step Three: Draw, doodle, paste images, layer text. The best guideline here is to use at least 3 different mediums (pen, paint, charcoal, cut paper, etc.) and try and stick to the 20% text, 20% pasted images (could be shapes or photos), and 60% drawing or doodling! Your drawing does not have to be perfect- this is a quick sketch or drawing for practice and to create ideas!! Keep these things all different sizes and cover a whole double page spread! ( 2 pages of a book that open to each other). Remember to layer! Sometimes I have no idea how it is going to look until it is evolving - that is part of the fun!!!
Once you have completed the first one, then you can do another - same theme, or a different one!! Whether it is story telling, historical documentation, or just dreaming, visual journaling is a wonderful way to start creating. So start! There are no mistakes and remember, anyone can do it!