Art Journal Idea: A Sure-Fire Way to Trigger Inspiration

Recently, I found myself in our local veterinarian’s office with my 12-year-old dog, Cowgirl, who hasn’t been herself lately. When the doctor took Cowgirl to another room to weigh her, I was left alone. Standing in the space, worrying about my dog, it suddenly hit me. I had to write about this situation in a way that expressed what I felt, what I was afraid of, and how I’ve come to love this animal so much.

Inspiration is like that. Sometimes it hits us hard. Even the idea of writing Cowgirl’s story brought me to tears–but that’s how I knew that it would be powerful to others as well.

Circumstances like this don’t happen every day (thankfully). And yet, it’s still important to create: to write, to draw. An art journal is the perfect place to express these emotions and experiences. So when you’re not in a situation that evokes strong feelings, how can you come up with ideas for art journaling? Nichole Rae, author of Art Journal Art Journey, explains one way to have inspiration on hand.

Art prompts for art journaling, Nichole Rae |
“In these two pages my main design element is color,” says Nichole. “I found two images that had both white and yellow in them and used these two colors throughout the pages. I used text and stamped words to tie the two pages together. I found a yellow paint sample and added it the right page to bring more yellow onto this page. I used a brown sticker tag on top of it to pull the color from the wood chips in the photo on the left. I also used an oil pastel to add yellow accents throughout both pages.”
Art journaling tips, Nichole Rae |
Image from Art Journal Art Journey

Inspirational Life Ephemera by Nichole Rae

“After I’ve collected my supplies to use in my journal I’ll find a few things to place on my table for decoration,” says Nichole. “I always enjoy having little things to inspire me as I create. When working on my journals, I’ve found that having sentimental items that bring a sense of comfort inspire the journaling and creative process. When I work on my journal pages there are times that I may have a creative block, and these things can often inspire a creative vision or feeling.

“[In the example above], I propped up a vintage camera with some seashells, a picture of seagulls flying and a D block that reminds me of my dog, Dakota. These are the things of sentimental value that I can look at, refer to and spark my creative spirit.

“Find a few things that you cherish and add those to your space. Let this step of the process come naturally. If you’re drawn to have something on your table, add it, but if you want just your supplies that’s fine as well.”

Whether you rely on inspiration to come through emotional experiences, or whether you can harness it with a personal collection of symbolic items, one thing’s for sure: Making art is good for the soul. Fortunately for us, the Interweave store has a wide variety of art journaling books, and they’re on sale during Art Journal June. Use them not only for inspiration, but also for specific techniques on how to create backgrounds, layered collages, and more.

In the meantime, I’ll be working out how to creatively express the love I feel for my dog. Join me by expressing yourself, through your art journal and beyond.


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An update, responding to Carrie2’s comment below: Thanks so much for asking about Cowgirl – we’ve been giving her some meds, and now she’s doing great! <3

I did write about my fears, which I put on my personal blog. I’ll share that link here in case you’d like to read it; it’s like prose/short story. It just came out. I should probably include a disclaimer about my other blog; it’s unaffiliated with F+W, which owns Cloth Paper Scissors. 😉 But, it’s the only place where I felt comfortable posting the written piece about Cowgirl because it’s so personal/specific/etc.



Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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