Visual Journaling

A few years ago, quite by accident, I started doing a bit of visualĀ  journaling. I grabbed a sketchbook and some colored pencils to take on vacation with me. I wasn’t patient enough to sit on the beach and sketch seagulls or high flying kites or crashing waves, but I found doodling, scribbling really, to be very relaxing. I graduated to a larger sketchbook after returning from vacation and added some Sakura Pigma Micron Pens, and soon this kind of journaling became a regular part of my practice. I started trying different approaches and was surprised at how enjoyable and relaxing it is.

Mostly I find it helpful to illustrate whatever is swirling around in my head. A page often takes me several nights to complete. I almost always start with a design of some kind. Sometimes I just close my eyes and drag the pen around. Other times I start by drawing some random word clouds or simple objects, like arrows or hearts. Then comes the color and sometimes that means closing my eyes and picking three or four colored pencils and committing to that color combination, no matter how ugly. Occasionally, I’m more intentional about the color selection and it’s related to whatever is on my mind.

When the design and color have taken shape, it’s time to lay down some words. Sometimes it’s the lyrics to a song; other times it’s some words of scripture. Sometimes it’s a quote from a Sunday message or something I read recently, or perhaps a word or words that have been on my mind lately. And often, words of prayer find their way on to the page.

I think the key for me is randomness. At times I need to work something out. Other times I need to pray about something. But I rarely have an outcome in mind. I like being surprised by what shows up on the page. I like creating a page that appeals to me visually, something that serves as a container for expression. And I like that it doesn’t have to be perfect or subject to any sense of control.

An early example. I don’t use pencil much anymore, but here I drew the design with pencil, colored in some portions, then erased the pencil lines.

A more recent example of some scripture passages journaled around a random design. I cropped out the edges where I wrote some words of prayer.


  1. Karen says:

    I like the clean lines of your work. Much different from other journaler”s work.

  2. Cheryl Smith says:

    So beautiful, JoDee. I like the working it out, praying it out. Makes sense to me. Unfortunately, I can’t even draw stick men very well. :)
    Cheryl Smith recently posted..Knead- Pray- Sing

  3. Very cool and appealling to the eye! Love the colors! Keep going!
    Deborah Patricca recently posted..Summer Summary – Part II

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree