In my most recent online course, The Clarity Course, we explored several diverse practices and thought processes that can aid with clarity. There are certainly a multitude of approaches, and students discovered specific methods that resonated with them, proving to be exceptionally valuable. Among these, there’s one technique that has profoundly struck a chord with me since I was around 10-years-old, enabling me to traverse even the most enigmatic of paths throughout my life — a practice known as art journaling.

Unveiling the Magic: The Remarkable Benefits of Art Journaling

Photo: Holly Becker

Unveiling the Magic: The Remarkable Benefits of Art Journaling

Photo: Holly Becker

Unveiling the Magic: The Remarkable Benefits of Art Journaling

Photo: Holly Becker

Within the course, I took the opportunity to guide my students through the process of art journaling in a creative and visually captivating manner – live together on a Zoom call. With tools like stickers, markers, washi tape, magazine cutouts, and even decorative gift wrap, I demonstrated how effortlessly art pages in a journal can become a canvas for self-expression.

Witnessing the inspiration kindled within my students during this session moved me deeply, prompting me to extend the discussion on art journaling to a broader audience here on this blog. The benefits are boundless, and I’m convinced that like my students, you too can experience a significant positive impact by embarking on this creative journey.

Wouldn’t you agree that nowadays, we struggle with FOCUS problems. That’s what I believe that it’s essential to find avenues for self-expression, reflection, and rejuvenation that also allows us to start and complete a relatively easy task. Art journaling does that. It’s an introspective journey that offers a myriad of benefits, nurturing both mental well-being and artistic growth. I like it because I sometimes don’t feel like writing in my journal, or I simply lack the words or don’t feel in the mood to write. Having a blank page before me to fill with words can feel like a task at times, but having that same blank page to fill with pretty stickers and doodles and cut-outs from magazines, watercolor paint, etc. is exciting.

I love how art journaling provides an unfiltered outlet for our thoughts, emotions, and ideas. It’s a safe space to unleash your creativity – to get into the flow – without judgment or constraints. Through colors, lines, shapes, and words, you can communicate feelings that might be too complex for words alone. The act of translating your inner world onto paper can be incredibly liberating, helping you gain clarity and insight into your thoughts and emotions.

It also helps relieve stress and encourages mindfulness. The rhythmic motion of sketching, painting, or collaging can help shift your focus away from worries and stress. As you immerse yourself in the process of making, you are in the present moment, cultivating a state of mindfulness that eases anxiety and promotes relaxation. The tactile experience of using art supplies and seeing your creativity come to life adds a tactile dimension to the practice, enhancing the therapeutic effects.

This form of journaling also opens you up to experimentation. You’re free to try new techniques, combine unexpected elements, and explore a variety of artistic styles. You can practice hand-lettering, watercolor flowers, or sketching faces or objects. This experimentation fosters a spirit of curiosity and innovation, leading to enhanced creative problem-solving skills that can extend beyond your pages. As you see your skills evolve and your artistic voice develop, your confidence as a creator naturally grows, influencing how you approach challenges in other areas of your life. Creating interesting art pages encourages you to think outside the box. As you experiment, you’re honing your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. These cognitive benefits extend beyond your pages, influencing your approach to everyday obstacles and fostering a more adaptable mindset.

I also love how my journals give me a visual timeline to follow which show my growth throughout the years. Flipping through the pages of your art journal is like revisiting chapters of your life and personal growth journey. Each page captures a snapshot of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences at a particular moment in time so make sure to date your pages! Over the weeks, months, and years, you’ll witness your evolution as an artist and as an individual. This visual chronicle serves as a powerful reminder of your resilience, progress, and the obstacles you’ve overcome.

Once you get started, you won’t want to stop. It’s a gateway to a world of self-discovery, mindfulness, and creative fulfillment.Whether you’re an experienced artist or you can barely draw a stick figure, it doesn’t matter, the benefits of art journaling are accessible to all. You can make mini mood boards with collected images, and use colored pencils to doodle simple shapes, adding colorful patterned washi tape to your arrangement for further interest. You don’t have to know how to draw or paint at all!

I encourage you to grab a journal without lines or grid (blank white pages only), grab your favorite art supplies, and get started. Try to find a journal that can lay somewhat flat so it’s easier to create pretty pages.

Do you art journal? If not, are you curious to get started?

(Photography: Holly Becker)

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