Okay, so maybe claiming that art journaling “saved my life” is a bit of an over statement. Unless you’re like me and consider being a slave to the daily grind isn't really living at all...
You see, years ago I found myself feeling utterly lost. I felt depressed and unfulfilled, like an empty shell.
But I had everything I could want - a loving family, a supportive husband, and even a successful business selling my art. I spent my days crafting and creating. People loved my creations; I was featured online, in magazines, and even on TV.
You could say I was living the dream.
Yet, as my business success grew, my spirit deflated.
Before my eyes, that which I once cherished had turned into another 9-5 job. I was on auto pilot; not only with my work, but in my personal life as well. I had no idea who I truly was or what I wanted, but I felt a deep yearning inside to be free, to create, to express myself. I knew I needed to alleviate that suffocation before things fell apart.
So I quit.
I quit my business and embarked on a journey, determined to reclaim myself and my creative expression, and to find the freedom I so desperately needed.
But answering the call to create isn't always as easy as it sounds.
If you're anything like me, you may easily wake with a nine-hour-YouTube-marathon hangover, knee deep in supplies you now feel guilty for buying because you still don’t know what the heck to do with any of it. And even if you did, you know it’ll never turn out the way she did it. Ugh.
Yup... I got caught in that "research trap" hard.
I wasted over a year watching tutorials and soaking up everything I could before putting brush to paper.
Instead of helping me be a better artist, all that "research" did was cause doubt, fear, and perfectionism.
I was totally unaware at the time, but deep down I became intimidated by all the beautiful art I was drooling over; like somehow I wasn't worthy of doing it myself. I had fears that I would fail, or that maybe I wasn't a true artist like I thought I was.
To top it off, when I finally sat down to face my first art journal page... I was HORRIFIED to find what came out onto the page wasn't what I saw in my mind.
All of that research had tricked my brain into thinking I was gaining experience.
In the end, none of it mattered.
So I took this lesson to heart and started over.
I scrapped everything I had "learned" and embraced being a beginner to forge my own way forward.
With the help of my life coach training, I was able to uncover and transform all of the blocks that were holding me back.
As I dove deeper, I noticed how my process reflects back at me. I saw how the fears, doubts, and beliefs I work with mirror my daily life.
And that’s when everything turned around.
It completely shifted the way I live and approach life.
It unearthed parts of myself I didn't even realize I had lost.
Through art journaling, I was able to reclaim my most authentic self. She who had hidden behind the mask of the expected for far too long.
It brought me more clarity, more happiness, and a new appreciation for life.
I've come to see how infusing creativity into our daily lives is therapeutic in so many ways. Once I recognized it in my own life, I became deeply cognizant of it in other people’s lives as well.
I couldn't deny the call.
It’s what has ultimately inspired me to make it my life’s mission to help others wake up from the slumber of the daily grind, and to reclaim their true creative selves and their lives.
And I believe it all begins with art journaling. A place where no rules exist; where you can let loose and free your most inner desires, callings, and truth.
Are you ready for this amazing journey?
Always in curiosity and love,
Sign up to get the Free Art Journaling 101 E-Course!
For about two weeks, you’ll receive daily lessons (full of images and videos) as we dive into the basics such as choosing a journal, what supplies to use, journaling fundamentals, stating your intention, creating sacred space, and more. As well as talk about the obstacles you may encounter such as finding time to journal, overcoming the fear of the blank page, the “research trap”, and others.
Paula McLane Jennings says
I also suffer with Depression as well as Anxiety and a host of physical ailments. I scrapbook, make cards and do a bit of altered art but art journaling/mixed media has really been the best place to express all sorts of emotional issues. I have also used art journaling when teaching Sunday School with my teen class using scripture verses. My God-sized dream is to be able to use art to help other abused women and children to begin their process of healing.
Kristal Norton says
That’s a beautiful dream Paula, thank you for sharing! There are so many out there that can greatly benefit from art, they just need to be introduced to it.
Art journaling also saved me. I began journaling in earnest after 3 surgeries in a year due to endometriosis, with the final being a hysterectomy. I was so gutted on every level and frustrated with drs., etc that it all just needed to come out.
Most recently I have been teaching journaling for depression in a mental health facility and will be expending the program to include survivors of domestic violence and sexual assaul.t
Kristal Norton says
Bless your heart, you are doing such wonderful work Paulissa!
I am so happy I saw this on Pinterest! I have been wanting to do this for several years but keep feeling lost on how to do it and it be worthwhile. Thanks so much for offering a free intro :)
Kristal Norton says
You’re welcome Beverly! I hope you enjoy it :)
SARN (Stamping For Pleasure) says
WOW . . . what an inspiring post. I have just started Art Journaling after watching a few Dyan Reaveley videos and am TOTALLY loving it. I am so EXCITED by its limitless possibilities. Will join up with you to see your take on it all. I like your positivity.
Kristal Norton says
Thank you so much Sarn! Glad it inspired you. Wishing you continued motivation and inspiration on your new art journaling journey! :)
I love your spirit. Creativity in all forms is so healing and nurturing. I need to do a post on this topic. Would you mind if I linked one of posts to it? I work in the energy psychology field and on emotional traumas and memories that have impacted people’s health negatively. What I find is many people get so encased in the wanting to heal that they forget to just be still, content and live in the moment. I use photography, watercolor painting and knitting and crocheting to give me that creative balance. Healing comes so much more easily and naturally when we are doing what feels good. Thanks for sharing!
Kristal Norton says
I totally agree, and thank you for your kind words! Yes, please do link to my post or any other to spread the word. The more we can all come together to help people, the better. :)
Your article was exenllect and erudite.
Kay Burnett says
Kristal it has been such a pleasure to get to know you and learn from you in this field we call ART. As I travel through this world of creating, whether it’s journaling, blogging, painting, mixed-media, etc, I find that I am a much calmer person. I find that these are ‘my’ choices and not what someone else expects me to do. This may sound so selfish, but it is ‘mine’ and no one else’s. I can choose to share or not. We can remove ourselves from a stressful world and create something beautiful. And, let’s not leave out what it shows our children. Being an older parent of an 8yo is an amazing experience. My ‘stepping’ back into the art world has helped me to see (again) through a child’s eyes, the simple things that can bring a smile to your face so easily. Personally, I have been through so much trauma, but I am now so very blessed to have a husband who understands me, for who I am and why. Our life isn’t always easy, however, we know God looks after us. We don’t really have to look that far for a blessing if we pay attention to what we want in life. I have found you to be a most wonderful blessing of late. xoxo
I love this idea, as I completely relate to traditional journaling for healing emotional wounds. To add art to it creates another level of healing and self discovery.. what an amazing idea!
Kristal, i love all your creations…in someway i like the rustic, natural, what nobody likes, i find beauty on it…i finished Art Journaling 101…is there a J 102?…
Prompts: i started with #1 – The Rainbow – but now i dont find this to continue with No. 2…please let me know how to find it… Not an expert with computers, so my excuses! Thanks for your time.
Kristal Norton says
Thank you so much Petrin! :) I do have an e-course coming out soon called ROOTS that will be like the next step after Art Journaling 101. I’ll send you an email regarding your other question.
Ina Shepard says
Remind yourself daily of what you are grateful and thankful for. An entry each day in this lovely journal certainly puts you in the right frame of mind for your journey to a joyous and fulfilling life.
Teresa Arsenault says
This is an excellent article and a glimpse into the heart of what motivates you to inspire others.
I love your insight that even doing something creative as a job does not fulfill the need to express yourself freely in art.
Thank you so very much for helping me on my brand new journey into art journaling.
I am so glad I found your free course. I have been wanting to do journaling for some time. I have not started to on a daily basis, but I have several pages completed, and others in progress.
I really enjoyed your lessons, and the fact that I could take them on my own schedule.
I wish you all the best, and Wow, from all these comments, it seems to me you are making a real difference in the lives of others! Something to be proud of!
Have a super week!
I may not even be an adult but I can art journal just as good as the rest, though my journal pages may be a bit more immature and whimsical.
So with that out of the way I have to thank you for kinda showing me the way and I have just gotten to the middle of my first art journal.
Sarah Jane says
that’s quite nice to here Emilia, when I was a bit younger all I wanted to do was be a singer, I never thought of doing much art though I drew a bit so well done
Kristal. Thank you so much for your generosity. I thoroughly enjoyed your free course. It has given me lots of confidence to just let myself create xxx
Wiene grant says
I have found your e-course really helpful,thank you. I now am off to an art week at a.Christian centre for healing. I am going to try ans lead a little workshop on art jounalling! I feel that inspired.
Debbie Reed says
Thank you for sharing your story. It’s been an eye opener taking this course and learning from you.
Kristal, So glad I found you on my journey of creativity! You have such a gentle spirit, not unlike my own. I really feel like I can connect with you and with art journaling.
Please send me more information on your next class. ROOTS I think you called it.
I have just began your class today and know I will want more.
Kristal Norton says
Thank you Margie! I’ll be sure to let you know when we’ll be journeying through ROOTS again! :)
You are an inspiring person and your story make me realize my need to connect with what’s inside of me.
Thank you for sharing and thank you for Art Journaling 101.
I enjoyed reading this post very much as it resonates with me (I’m on a journey of reclaiming my happiness too).
I am discovering, for myself, the power of art journaling at the moment.
I’m glad to hear that it transformed your life or “save your life” as you say.
I don’t think it’s an under-statement. If it felt true to you, then that’s your truth.