Art Journals

How I Got Into Art Journaling

People ask me all the time how I got started with Art Journaling. I’ve touched on it some in my blog, but not what led up to it.

I wish I had a rosy story to tell, how the heavens parted and I was given sunshine and rainbows and inspiration galore. But it didn’t quite happen that way.

Back around 2016 I was depressed. Not, “I’m sad” depressed but, “I didn’t want to get out of bed, and why isn’t my brain working like it should?” kind of depressed. 

My creative spark had been GONE for a good three years. 😱

Lori Greenberg making glass beads at torch 2016
Working at my Torch in 2015

At the time I was a glass bead maker and my love for the medium just wasn’t there anymore. I was lost, and knew that something had to change.

During that three years I tried so many things to try to break the cycle. I tried different kinds of glass work. I tried writing a novel, twice. I tried digital art. I created coloring books for adults. That all kept me afloat, but my creative joy did not return. 

Out of boredom I signed up for a three-day out-of-state workshop, totally unrelated to glass and jewelry, just to get away. It was paper arts, collage, painting, and all the things that could be used in art journals. All things I’d always been afraid of because I believed I wasn’t any good.

art journal pages with octopus and astronaut
Early Art Journal Pages

The Art Journal Workshop Effect...

At the beginning of the weekend we made and bound a big blank journal, and each day we filled a different two-page spread with each workshop’s project and techniques.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that weekend my funk started to lift, and my creativity started to return.
Lately I’ve been getting messages from people asking how they can get started art journaling, too. I get it.

Creating is such a life-changing activity with so many benefits:

  • It boosts your mood.
  • It makes you forget about things for a while.
  • You can express yourself in a safe place and way.
  • And you get pretty stuff at the end, just to name a few. 

I created a free resource so you can experience those things, too, and help you avoid the pitfalls that I spent so much time in.  It’s a  six-step process for getting started with art journaling.

This roadmap literally shows the exact steps you should take (and in what order!) plus common mistakes to avoid to go from stuck and overwhelmed to living in a state of inspired creative flow.

Need Help Getting Started?

Jumble Journal Roadmap
will show you how!

It’s a pretty awesome feeling, and I want you to be able to experience it, too.

Letting it Be What it Wants to Be

I’ve been continuing on with the art leading the way. I find myself working as a zoom lens. Honing in on a small area and not thinking about what is outside it. It sucks me in, and when I zoom back out it’s interesting to see what has been created. In this way, it’s not me running the show and controlling what will appear. It is the creative process, in real time, dictating what happens.

Stepping back from this piece I can see many things emerging. I have more to do before the picture will be fully visible to me and just because I see certain things right now, doesn’t mean that those will be the images that survive in the end. So, I continue to hone in on the areas that need to be filled, and suspend judgment until I embark on the next step of refinement.

It’s a work in process. I just meant to type that it’s a work in progress, but I think that “work in process” is pretty accurate as well. One little stroke at a time it unfolds. Much like life. As it is in progress you might sit back and think, “Yeah. I don’t like what I see so much.” But then you have to remember to have faith, and continue working. Nothing is permanent, everything can change, and sometimes it’s ugly before beauty emerges. Sometimes beauty doesn’t emerge, so you disconnect from the work for a while. Maybe you come back and try again. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you come back and think, “Hm. It’s not really that bad. I actually like it.”

It’s pretty fascinating to watch and experience, and I enjoy relating the art process to life, letting it teach me.

WIP – The Purple Page

This is an art journal page that I started a long time ago. Acrylic paint and paint pen on watercolor paper. As you can see, it’s gotten overly busy. I love my detail, yes I do. But, it doesn’t make for a very grabbing finished design without some kind of frame, and the border isn’t defining enough.

I’ve looked at this page over and over. There are elements I really like, and some, not so much. I’m not really fond of the purple and yellow either. I kept putting it away and coming back to it. I gathered up my courage and just went for it…blacking out some of the areas that weren’t as exciting to me. Once again I realized that once I get started, it starts to take on a life of it’s own.

I was really pleased with the bold black areas that I added, and I decided to call it a night. My friend, Chris, pointed out that it looked like a silhouette in the middle and I thought, YES! I did not see that when looking at the actual piece but it’s pretty obvious in the photo. I highly recommend taking a photo of your work to gain a new perspective.

I came back the next day, ready to tackle the face in the middle and again, I was paralyzed. I didn’t want to mess it up. So, once again I pushed past my comfort zone and dove in, knowing that it will all unfold as it should, and if it didn’t, I still had plenty of black paint to start again.

I liked it! But then thought, “I can’t just leave all that black there!” So I set out again, and think I took it one step too far. The new detail, shown below, took away from the impact of the vivid black. As did the white colored pencil shading I did. Boo.

And if that weren’t enough, I even took it a step further and started to add color to those new plank shapes that I added. Ugh. I’m going to keep going with it because, well, you never know. And yes, always the painting over it with black to fall back on. I’ll keep you updated, if you’d like to follow along. One of these days I might feel done.

I do love the feel of the paper as the layers accumulate. It starts to feel leathery. I also think that the previous layers do show through, even though you can’t really see them. I don’t know how to put that into words, but you sense it when you see it in person.


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