Using Your Art Journal to Release

Using Your Art Journal to Release

An art journal can be anything you want it to be. 

That’s what I love most about it.  It’s a personal place (if you keep it personal) to experiment with different techniques and express your thoughts and feelings.

My earliest art journals were in my writing journals.  I called these diaries when I was a kid.  As I got older I started drawing in them here and there.

I remember in my 20s I had left a job.  The job was very stressful and very intense, but I also loved what I was doing.  Eventually I had to leave it because the stress was affecting my mental health.  I felt like I was abandoning the people I left behind, even though I left on good terms and I don’t think they felt abandoned.

I guess I felt bad because I was leaving for my own purposes, putting myself first and it felt really uncomfortable for me to do that.

I held this guilt for a while.  I wrote and wrote about it, but I didn’t feel much better.

Then one day I pulled out my colored pencils and did a page about releasing it all and moving on.  I remember it was a tree with leaves.

( I burn my journals to let them go every so often, so I don’t have that page to share with you.)

I felt so much better.  Drawing it out had worked so much better for me than just writing words.

Words are important, too.

I do have a daily practice of writing in a journal in the morning to get everything out before I start my day.  Plus throughout the day if I’m having a moment of anger or confusion and I don’t have someone readily available to talk to, I’ll put out my journal and write it all out.

But having that extra bit of creative expression really helped me move on in the situation with that job.

I’ve used that process over and over again in my life.  I didn’t know anything about art journals or that that was what I was doing.  I was just doing what naturally made me feel better.

Now I have a specific art journal practice.  I’ve shared lots of my art journal pages on this blog to hopefully inspire you.  I’ve gone through lots of different styles and techniques.  I love experimenting in an art journal.

I picked up art journaling because years ago I discovered painting, but I realized that I don’t have enough space in my home to hang them all.  And I didn’t really love every one of the paintings enough to display them anyway, but I still wanted to paint and make art.

Enter my art journal.  I can do all the same fun experimentation in my art journal and not have to figure out where to put the art then it’s done.  I can flip through the pages whenever I like.  And it’s great because I can express how I’m feeling via art, but not have to share it with anyone that I don’t want to.

As you know, I love making jewelry and my passion is helping others to learn how to make jewelry.  As much as I love jewelry making, there are times when I want to express myself in a different way that I can’t quite convey with jewelry.

As I made more and more art journal pages, filling up book after book, the pages started to influence my jewelry making.

For example, I could experiment with colors in my art journal and then translate that into a piece of jewelry.

I could take a theme from an art journal page and then think of ways I could use that inspiration in jewelry making.

I love this process so much that I created an eCourse to teach you about it as well called Inspired eCourse.

In Inspired eCourse, I give you creativity prompts and art journal prompts, you make an art journal page, and then I show you how to take inspiration from your art journal page to design and create jewelry.

So if you’ve thought about trying art journaling and you love making jewelry or if you’ve wondered how to put the two together, or if you are interested in more ways to get inspiration for your jewelry pieces, I suggest you check out Inspired eCourse.

Even if a full eCourse isn’t your thing, try making an art journal page and see how you can translate that into a piece of jewelry.

I chose this art journal page

Art Journal Inspiration

I encourage you to try out art journaling for yourself.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate.  You don’t need a bunch of supplies.

My first “art journal page” was simply a really sketchy tree drawing with colored pencils I had around with images and words I needed to see and read to let go of my feelings of guilt.  (And definitely don’t let the fear of “I can’t draw” hold you back.  I can’t either.  No one has to see your art journal.)

Do you have something you need to let go of?  Try using art journaling as tool to help.

Soar: Art Journal Inspiration to Inspired Jewelry Piece

Soar:  Art Journal Inspiration to Inspired Jewelry Piece

Last week I shared my art journal pages so far in my new art journal this year.

This page, “Soar,” is one of those pages.  In that blogpost I also shared my layering technique for each of the pages and what materials I used to create each page.

Soar:  Art Journal Inspiration to Inspired Jewelry Piece

Today I wanted to share a jewelry piece that was inspired by that art journal page.

Soar:  Art Journal Page to Inspired Jewelry Piece

How I went from art journal page to jewelry

When I use an art journal page as inspiration for a jewelry piece, I have a process that I call “mapping.”

I look at the page and look for themes, colors, shapes and textures that I can pull out of the page.  Then I think of techniques I can use to translate those ideas into jewelry pieces.

Then I sketch jewelry ideas and choose which idea I want to pursue.  (And, of course, save the other sketches for another time.)

Soar:  Art Journal Page to Inspired Jewelry Piece

For this piece, I choose blue because it was very prominent in the art journal page.

The quote that is the most important to me on the page is, “Not only could she fly, she could SOAR.”  And the page has a lot of birds on the page as well. So I choose feathers as a symbol of flying – and soaring.  I added a bird to the clasp that I made myself as well.

Materials I used for this piece:

  • Recycled sea glass beads in a gorgeous blue color that I made into wire wrapped bead links and connected with jump rings.
  • Feather charms.  The charms had a hole on each side and they actually came in a chain that I took apart so I could use my own jump rings
  • Jump rings that I made myself.
  • Chain.
  • Clasp that I made.  It’s a hook clasp and the other side is a wire wrapped bead link made with a little bird bead.

Soar:  Art Journal Page to Inspired Jewelry Piece

The result is this lovely necklace that isn’t just beautiful, but it’s really meaningful and inspiring to me.  When I wear it I remember to not only fly, but to soar.

I often take inspiration from my art journal pages to create jewelry pieces.  I love the process so much that I created an entire eCourse around it called Inspired eCourse.

In Inspired eCourse, I give you creativity prompts and art journal prompts to create your own art journal pages and then take you step-by-step through the process of how to get inspiration from your art journal page and map out and sketch jewelry design ideas.

Inspired eCourse

In the class there is a jewelry project each week.  Students typically create their own jewelry designs and complete them each week, but I provide the jewelry tutorial as inspiration and instruction for perhaps new techniques that you don’t already know or to give you ideas for your own piece.

If you’re new to art journals, Inspired eCourse’s introduction is an introduction to art journaling.  And even if you’re not new, you may learn some fun new ideas and techniques.

After the intro there’s 4 weeks of class with each week having art journal and creativity prompts, creating art journal pages, pulling out inspiration from art journal pages and making jewelry.

Learn more and sign up for inspired eCourse here:  Inspired eCourse.

Inspired eCourse


Layering Technique for Art Journals

Art Journal Flip Through

I love art journals because there are so many options for creating pages.  I love using my art journal for experimenting different techniques. 

I also use my art journal as inspiration for jewelry pieces.  I love experimenting with paper and paint and then seeing how that page could inspire a jewelry piece.

This is exactly what I teach in Inspired eCourse.

Today I wanted to share my art journal so far for 2017.  I started with a brand new art journal.  When I bought this art journal the owner of the store asked me if I had worked with square art journals before.  I told her I had not.  She said, “You’re going to love it!”

She was so right.

My art journal is the Ranger Dylusions Creative Journal 8 x 8.

This year (so far) I have been somewhat obsessed with layering paper and collage to create my pages.  All of them are done with that technique.

I wanted to share my pages as inspiration for you.  I did a video flip through that you can watch and/or you can check out the pages below and I’ll explain how I created them.

Here’s the video flip through:

Part of the reason I’ve been so inspired by paper layering this year, I think, is because at the beginning of the year I went through all of my art supplies.  I donated a lot of things that I knew I wouldn’t use.  That left me with only things I really, really loved.

I have been hoarding lots of different vintage ephemera and lots of little pieces of scrapbook paper that I love.  When I was cleaning out stuff I got everything organized in the way I actually use them.

Also having less to look through and make decisions about is really helpful.  I highly recommend a clean up/purging of any kind of craft supplies every so often.

  1.  It helps you see and remember all the stuff you already have.  Sometimes you completely forget about things.  You’ll be re-inspired by all the stuff you decide to keep.
  2. Having less means having fewer decisions to make.  I don’t have to decide between as many different things anymore.  Having fewer choices is actually really helpful for creativity.

My Art Journal Pages so Far:

Art Journal Page - layering

You’ll see this technique throughout my art journal:  watercolor background and layered paper on top.  I also like making lists and adding that to my pages as well.  Sometimes the list will almost be poem-like, and sometimes it’s more of “what I’m doing right now” list.


  • Watercolors
  • Stamps/stamping ink (dandelion and dragonfly)
  • Sheet music
  • Ripped scrapbook paper
  • List that I typed on a manual typewriter
  • World that I cut from a calendar or book (I don’t really remember)
  • On the right more scrapbook papers
  • An image from an old book.

Art Journal Page - layering


  • Watercolors
  • Scrapbook paper
  • A vintage receipt
  • A tag from a Christmas gift I received this year
  • The green ad on the right side is actually a reproduction that I got in a scrapbook or art journal kit.
  • Mirror selfie.  It didn’t print properly because I was running out of ink, but I thought it looked cool on this page.

Art Journal Page - layering

Art Journal Page - layering

Here I started getting into more interactive pages.  The file folder opens up.  I actually used it because I wanted to keep the journaling more private (which is why some of it is blurred out in the photo.)


  • Watercolor pencils
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Postage stamps
  • Rub ons (I believe they’re all from Tim Holtz)
  • The floral paper is by Rae Missigman
  • Pattern paper (patterns that you make clothes with!)
  • Tiny file is by 7 Gypsies
  • World paper is from an old book or calendar

Art Journal

This is a mini Word of the Year vision board I created for the Word of the Year Talisman Workshop.  (You can get that workshop here.)

On the left side I wrote in pen and then used matte medium to attach tissue paper over it.  Layered on top are a heart and the word love that I painted on watercolor paper and cut out.  On the right side it’s just a collage of mostly magazine images and words cut out and a photo I took.


  • Pen
  • Tissue paper
  • Watercolor paper and watercolors
  • Magazine cut outs
  • Photograph (I took the sunflower photo in the upper right corner.)

Art Journal

This is another interactive page and is my favorite so far!  I have a collection of correspondence from the 1920s, which I’ve been holding on to for years.  I’ve used little bits of it here and there.  I don’t know the person and I don’t have any actual personal connection, but the letters are sweet and so fascinating.  I only have one side of the story, however.

The envelop on the right side actually contains the letter in it.  It’s ripped on the right side, so the letter can be pulled out.


  • Watercolor
  • Gel pens for all the doodling, as well as a white colored pencil
  • Various little pieces of scrapbook paper
  • Part of the green receipt that I’ve used on other pages in this journal
  • Letter from the 1920s
  • The negative from punching out a butterfly
  • A cute little sticker from a vintage photo

Art Journal

On this page I have used fabric and I have a great technique for adding fabric to art journals (or for scrapbooking or for cards) that I teach in the introduction of Inspired eCourse.


  • Watercolors
  • Old sheet music
  • Mirror selfie photo
  • Piece of a map from an old atlas
  • Cut out from an old art book (that’s what’s on top on the left side)
  • Fabric (with the birds and bird cages)
  • Part of my jeans that tore
  • Tag

Art Journal

This page is also interactive.  The left side has a pocket that holds a tag that you can pull out.  The tag has journaling on it.  On this particular day I wrote all the small miracles that happened.  (Once you start looking for them, they happen all the time!)


  • Pattern paper (from a clothes pattern)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Various pieces from cut apart scrapbook paper
  • Tag

I hope this was inspiring for you!

Inspired eCourse

Do you want to feel inspired and design your own jewelry based on art journal pages that you create with prompts?

Check out my Inspired eCourse!

The introduction is all about getting started art journaling and I also have some fun techniques for you.

Each week you’ll get a creativity activity and art journal prompt, create an art journal page and then I’ll show you a map to go from art journal page to inspired jewelry piece.  You’ll be designing your own jewelry, but I also have a jewelry project each week to inspire you, give you techniques or you can make it if you’re feeling stuck.

Learn more about Inspired eCourse here.

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase I get a small percentage – at no extra cost to you!  Anything I recommend I have actually used myself and love!

Beach Themed Art Journal Page

Beach Themed Art Journal Page

I made a little video about how I made this page or you can just see the photos below.


Beach Themed Art Journal Page

To make this page I first chose a photo from a beach trip that I loved and printed it 5″ x 7″.  You could use any size photo you like, of course.

Then I thought of a bunch of words that reminded me of the beach.

Beach Themed Art Journal Page

Then I used watercolors and painted all the words as a background on the page.

Beach Themed Art Journal Page

Then I simply attached the photo in the middle.  You can place your photo anywhere you like.

Maybe you’re not a beach person.  You can use this same technique for any photo.  Just make a list of words that represent the photo and paint them as a background in colors to go with the photo.

On Tuesday I’ll share how I used this page as inspiration for a piece of jewelry (and I’ll even share a video tutorial!)  Get it in your inbox by signing up for my newsletter below and you’ll also get my free Intro to Jewelry Making eCourse!

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Get my FREE Intro to Wire Wrapping eCourse and then my weekly emails!  Sign up below:

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My Process: Inspiration to Finished Piece

My Process

I get asked about how I’m inspired to create jewelry pieces, so I made a video to show you!

In this video I’ll show you how I went from inspiration to finished piece including a change I made along the way.

Watch the video:

Here is the art journal page I made that was the inspiration for the jewelry piece:

Summer Haiku Art Journal Page

For the step-by-step tutorial video on how to make the anklet, click here.

We dig deeply into this process in my Inspired eCourse.  Inspired eCourse is an art journal/jewelry making class.

First I give you creativity prompts and art journal prompts.

Then I show you how to take inspiration from your art journal pages to make a map to design jewelry pieces.

Then I show you sketching designs.

Finally, we make jewelry pieces.  (Each week there is a jewelry project that I show you how to make step-by-step.  You can use it as inspiration or a jumping off point for your own designs or make it exactly how I show you step-by-step.)

It’s full of fun and inspiration.

Learn more and sign up here.

Inspired eCourse