Art from Your Heart: How to Art Journal for Wellness and Balance | Marybel Martin | Skillshare

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Art from Your Heart: How to Art Journal for Wellness and Balance

teacher avatar Marybel Martin, Art is love and love is everything

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Benefits of Art Journaling

    • 4. Choose Your Subject

    • 5. Where Your Focus Goes

    • 6. Using These Tools

    • 7. Observations & Moving On

    • 8. Prompts to Help You Connect

    • 9. Conclusion

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About This Class

Want to take your journaling practice to the next level? Learn how to go beyond the written word with art journaling.

In this class you'll learn how to art journal using hand-drawn images and color. Art journaling is a wellness tool that incorporates creativity, exploration of expression, mindfulness, and connectivity to self. 

Everyone can join, if you “cannot draw” ask your kindergarten self: could they draw? The answer would be a definite “yes”! You can use stick figures, shapes, lines, scribbles, patterns, shading and lots of color. The point is not the finished product, it’s the journey.

Once you understand the concept and structure, you will be able to self guide your own art journaling practice. I will also post some prompts that will outline a specific goal, like for example “self love” or “letting go”. This class is useful because, journaling is already a powerful tool, the addition of images brings it to another level. The fact that this type of journaling is portable and readily available allows the person to have an immediate release. 

Required materials: blank sketchbook, and any of the following in any combination: pencils, pens, eraser, colored pencils, markers, crayons, or watercolors. You want something that is portable, doesn’t smudge and dries quickly.

Note: this is not a drawing class — I will be teaching you about the practice of art journaling, not technical drawing tips. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Marybel Martin

Art is love and love is everything


Hello, I'm Marybel, and I'm an artist living in the Pacific Northwest. I have been an artist for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the shadow of Disneyland in Southern California and also in bustling Buenos Aires, Argentina. I draw daily because I became a professional artist later in life and feel the need to catch up on all those lost years of living my dream. A few years ago I added Wellness Coach to my repertoire and that move influenced my art practice immensely! I'm here to teach as well as to learn. What a wonderful thing!

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Marybel Martin and I'm an artist and a wellness coach. Today I'm going to talk about art journaling for healing. I created this tool with things that I was already doing like drawing, journaling, meditation, and learning about psychology. I mashed all this up and created this awesome way and tool to be able to let go of things and move on. I'm going to teach you how to get the most out of an illustrated diary or journal. Obviously, no prior knowledge of art or any art skills are required. This is just an extra tool for mental wellness, so valuable. What am I going to talk about during this class? Number 1, the benefits of art journaling. Number 2, how to choose your subject. Number 3, where does your focus go? Number 4, the best way to use these tools. Number 5, observation and moving on. I am so excited to teach you this class because it has personally allowed me to let go off situations or memories that were blocking my wellness and my personal growth. I hope that this tool is as beneficial to you as it has been for me. What is art journaling for healing? Well, instead of writing in your journal, you are drawing in your journal and going very, very deep with your inner child creativity and inspiration. Everybody and anybody can benefit from this class. There is no prior experience or knowledge of art to be able to art journal. You can go back and draw just like when you were in kindergarten and reap all the benefits of this wonderful class. I am thrilled to take you on this journey with me of art journaling together. It's going to be amazing. 2. Class Project: What's the project for today's class? Well, I'm going to teach you how to connect to your inner child, tap into your creativity, release, learn how to release, come back to self-love and therefore balance. I have been journaling since I was 13, and it has been such a valuable tool. But there was a situation in my life that I wasn't able to get over with just journaling. One day I drew something and the difference was remarkable. I felt like it was such a powerful experience. Then I started looking into the healing effects of art, the meditative effects of drawing, and the removal of self from situation. These three things were what accidentally occurred, when I drew in my journal, instead of writing something in. In order to be successful in this class, you have to let go of the idea of your final result. This is not an art contest, it's about the process, it's about being connected and it's about the journey. I want to see your process shots as you progress. This project is about release. It's about freedom. It's about allowing yourself to be free on your paper. It's about movement. It's about connection. It's about color. It's about feeling and being present. Also it's about removing yourself and observing. What is our class project for today? Well, I'm going to give you the inside scoop on a super powerful wellness tool that has helped me immensely. Why? Because drawing in your journal is so much more powerful than just the written word. I'm going to explain to you every single step so that you can do this on your own. Now that I've talked about the class project, I can't wait to tell you the benefits of art journaling. That's coming up next. 3. Benefits of Art Journaling: What are the benefits of art journaling? Well, there's so many of them, but I'm just going to give you a few to start. The first one is that it boosts your mood. It's unbelievable how this changes as soon as you start drawing. Second one is stress relief, you're doing something and you're releasing onto your paper. It's unbelievable how this happens. Also, you get a sense of processing instantly because you're being so connected and so present to what you're doing, that this allows you to really process something that's going on. Then lastly is your connection to inner child. Why? Because you go back to that place when you were a little kid, when you draw and you weren't worried about making a masterpiece, you were just enjoying yourself, moving your hands, and creating something from a deep place in your creativity and intuition. Here's some of the pages from where it all started. These are the first few journal entries that became illustrated and things began to change. I began to feel healing and I began to notice that the same patterns going in my head had halted and that I was able to move on emotionally from situations that were no longer an issue. As you see here, the use of more pattern and more detail were very healing. here the use of color as well pattern, were very important in allowing the feelings to process and go through. Sometimes it would just be a few moments that I would dedicate to this, and sometimes it would be longer. I would also add text in order to just leave more detailed descriptions. Sometimes they were happy entries, sometimes they were just moments of uncertainty, and detail, and more landscape, and more characters and shapes. Remember, this is not about having a perfect drawing at the end of this. This is not an art class, it's about the experience, it's about the process, and it's about understanding yourself a little bit more. You now know the benefits of art journaling. There's so many of them, and I'm sure you'll discover so many more. Next, we're going to talk about what to draw and how to choose it. 4. Choose Your Subject: [MUSIC] We're now getting into the good stuff. This part is going to help you select your subject. How do you do that? Well, like I said, make sure you're in your body and you're present and you're grounded. What are you feeling? What is the thing that you would like to work on? Let's say I'm feeling disconnected and sad. There are two ways that we can approach this: One way is looking at the things that make you feel that way, disconnected and sad, really go deep and think about those things. The other way that we could approach this are the things that make you feel happy and connected. I like to go the first way first because then you get very, very deep into the core of these feelings. So let say, the one thing that makes you feel disconnected and sad is being away from your family. This is something, an image, that we can start imagining. There are also different levels of how deep we want to get. We can work on things that affect us today; like, for example, our current relationships, our work, our home life, our finances, anything that's stresses us today, or we can go back to trauma or patterns or childhood or anything that could be something in the past that is affecting us somehow today. How do we choose what to draw? Let's say, for example, we go into a place where we want to go back to a happy place when we were kids and we remember that our happiest times were when we were a little kid outside our house playing with our cat. Now, we don't have to draw the whole scene we can just choose one thing that represents that event, for example, the cat, or another thing that we could do is remember the shape of the house and start remembering what that looks like and start putting it down on paper. Remember it's not about capturing an exact photograph of what we want to convey, it's about the feeling of what that thing causes us. There's another way of doing this as well. If you don't want to go down the road of drawing something figurative, you can go down an abstract road and you can use shapes, lines, squares, triangles, patterns, color, just makes sure that when you're using this tool in that way, you use the emotional aspect of it too; you're connecting that to a memory or a feeling. Then that is the same exact result that we get then if we're working on something figurative in terms of a memory. What about if you can't decide? If you're just starting out, you could feel overwhelmed with the options and that's completely normal and completely okay. What would I do? I would just start doodling in my journal. What happens there is that once you start making art and you connect to that, you're going into a deeper subconscious level, almost a meditative state, and that's where we want to be in order to start working on things. Once you start going into that deep meditative state, things start coming up and when those things come up, just stay there with that sensation and continue working on your journal, make sure you don't go into could have, should have, would have's in terms of memories because we can't change the past. What we have to do is stay present and just feel the feeling that we're feeling as we're working on our art. Before we move on, I would like us to become grounded and become present. How do I like doing that? Is closing my eyes, taking a few deep breaths, make sure I'm feeling myself in my body, I can feel where I'm sitting, I can feel the temperature in the room, I can hear the sounds that are surrounding me; just really become extra, extra present before you continue this exercise so that your mind isn't going wild and all over the place. How do I choose what to draw? Well, I made a list of drawing prompts just for you, and the first one is to draw the place where you are at the moment. The reason why I chose that prompt was because I wanted to ground you where you are. By picking and drawing the place where you are at the moment physically, that allows you to think about your surroundings and how those affect you on a daily basis. This is a very powerful prompt because you could be at home, you could be away from home, and where you are affects your mood and your well-being as well. So this is how you use the topic, and in this case, we are choosing it because we want grounding. You know now how to choose what to draw. Next. I'm going to tell you a little secret about where your focus goes. Stay tuned. 5. Where Your Focus Goes: Let's say I decide to go back and draw the family cat from when I was a little kid. As soon as I start drawing the cat, as I said, don't go into the should or could or woulds, because then that brings you into these stories and patterns in your mind. What we're trying to do here is funneling the feeling, just the feeling without any context in terms of the repetitive stories that are in our head. We're funneling this and putting it down on paper. It's like releasing it onto a material thing and using as much detail as you can in terms of pattern, in terms of color, you can even add speech bubbles and make sure you work as much as you need to on this piece to allow the release of what you're feeling and funnel it onto that piece of paper. Having chosen your subject, for example, childhood pet, it's about going back to the sensation of being a child. It's not about making a perfect portrait of your pet. It's about feeling the emotions and going in like a child, and allowing the freedom of creativity to come through. When you allow your creativity to shine through, you tap into a deeper level and you tap into your inner child. What happens there is that you're in almost a meditative state because you're not really thinking about a result, you're just staying present and allowing the feeling to funnel through and go onto paper. Now, there's no right or wrong here. It's about the process and not about how this piece looks at the end. It's not an art class, and it's not an art contest either. This is just a way of allowing these trapped feelings to get through and the only way to come out is to go through. Just be free and don't think that things have to look a certain way. They can look any way you want. Also, it's a beautiful way of tapping into that childlike joy and freedom that you had when you were a little kid and you were allowed to do whatever you like to creatively. Allow this mental and emotional release to go through into your work. The more time you put into it, the better. Remember, we are going to be observers of this as well. When you start feeling the sadness, for example, or the anxiety, observe it, just watch it. It's not judgment about this. It's about allowing it to just be released. It's very important to notice where your focus goes. The focus is on the paper, on what you're drawing, and on your feelings. It's not about the stories that you know, that you keep telling yourself and the circle in your mind non-stop, and the should or could or woulds, it's more about feeling, allowing those feelings to come through, get through your body, and leaving them via what you're doing on paper, on this paper. For example, if there is something that comes up, a feeling of sadness triggered by an old story, focus on the feeling in your body, focus on the sadness. Where is it? Where do you feel it? Is it on your chest? Is it in your head? Is it in your heart area? Allow that feeling to just come through onto the paper and allow it through your movement to rest here. Now you know, the most important thing is where your focus goes, what's next? Well, I'm giving you a bunch of stuff and a bunch of tools and now we're going to talk about how to use them all. 6. Using These Tools: Now that you've chosen your subject, and you have the tools, I'm going to explain to you the best way to use these tools. When you are about to start drawing, you are putting yourself in this grounded state. Now, the way we approach drawing is as if we were a little kid. How did we draw when we were a little kid? Super engaged, with full intention, excitement, and using all of the materials possible. We use movement, we use shapes, we go into pattern, we're very, very engaged with our subject. In this way, we're tapping way, way down into our inner child, and our intuition, our creativity, and our inspiration. It's a really beautiful place to be when you're doing this kind of work. This is the example for someone who is overwhelmed and not sure about where to start. The key here is to allow the freedom of letting your hands decide, and the movement create the shapes. There is nothing that is telling you what the format is here. It's all about freedom, shapes, patterns, and really tapping into your inner child, and your subconscious to achieve a meditative state where you are beginning to feel the feelings of your chosen topic. Like I said, this isn't about an end result and what this is going to be, especially when you're using abstract as your art. It's actually about the process and releasing, we're putting everything down onto the paper. There is no right or wrong here; everything is right, everything is wrong. Just allow yourself to be a kid, and have fun, and feel. Remember, don't go into the should have, could have, would haves, because that's not where you want to go mentally, it will just bring you into repetitive patterns that do not serve you. It's about feeling the feelings of the memory, and funneling, and leaving it on paper so that you can release it. The only way to release something is to allow yourself to feel it and not to resist it any longer. Because the resisting will only trap it and allow it to persist. The more layers, and the deeper you are connected to yourself, the better the work. How do you finish the project? Well, you don't really decide. It's your inner child who decides when your work is completed. You know when you were in kindergarten and the teacher would be like, ''Okay. Put your materials away.'', and you're like, ''No, wait, I'm not done with the sky or whatever.'', same thing. Stay connected to your inner child because they are the ones who decide when this project, when this work is completed. The goal here is to feel the feelings, because when you're feeling these feelings, they go through you, and you allow this release. If you're holding on to anger, anxiety, sadness, whatever the feeling is, it's trapped inside you, and you tend to have those memories coming back and over and over, in the shape of patterns. But if you allow this release through these types of exercises, you will see that you will have a sense of freedom. The best way to use your tools is as if you were a child, and really getting into details, patterns, color. Take your time, enjoy the process. If feelings start coming up, allow those feelings to flow. Don't get into the stories because, like I said before, the stories do not serve you. But allowing those feelings to go through you, that is what we're looking for. If their feelings of sadness or grief, allow yourself to feel them without going into the details of why you are feeling these feelings. Just like a kid, you are really, really making this your own, going in with as much detail as you want. It doesn't have to be a figurative piece. It could be completely abstract, and you will get the exact same results because the work here is actually done with your feelings and your thoughts, instead of the finished piece. We're not working to make a masterpiece here, it's not about the actual art. Just remind yourself, it's about the process, and allowing the funneling of all of these feelings that have been trapped within us, to flow and leave. You now learn how to use all of your tools. What happens next is the next lesson, observation and completion. Stay tuned. 7. Observations & Moving On: What happens when you're done? Well, this part is completion and observation. Once you're finished with your project, take a moment to step away from it, and then come in to it with fresh eyes. Look at it as if you are not you, as if it's a third-party perspective. When you come in and you're looking at something from third-party perspective, you look at it completely different. Take this example: A friend of yours tells you a problem, and you instantly have a solution for their problem. Why? Because you're not connected to it emotionally. Same thing here. What we're doing here is removing ourselves from it, coming back with fresh eyes, disconnected from it, looking at it. Because it's down on a piece of paper, we're emotionally separated from it. It's not in our head, it's on another surface. Then we can come up with another way of resolving the issue, or maybe thinking of the issue. It's just a completely new experience of looking at something from another perspective. Another good way of doing this is, let's say you have moved on into the future and you continue doing work in your art journal, and then you can go back into your old pieces. Again, you will be seeing these from another perspective, because time and emotion has separated you from the moment in which you were working on them in the first place. This gives you even more perspective on the piece or on your emotions than when you were first doing the observation. Time is another thing that is on your side. Once you've completed your piece, it's time to take yourself away from the work, and observe it as a third party. What does that mean? When a friend tells you their problems and you can see an instant solution, because you're not in the problem emotionally, that's what we're doing here. Let's say we remove ourselves from the place where I am at the moment to prompt. I have drawn this home, and I have funneled feelings onto my piece. I observe this as if I'm not in it, and what I felt, I did not feel. It allows me to clearly make ideas or decisions based on where I am at the moment, cool headed, and be able to move on and release what I felt onto this piece. You've learned so much. We've just completed observation and completion. Next, I'm going to give you a list of prompts to guide you in the right direction. 8. Prompts to Help You Connect: [MUSIC ]Next up, I'm going to give you a list of prompts to connect with inner child. This is just an example of something, an exercise that you could do. I'm going to go down the list and explain how to use these prompts. How do you use a list of prompts? A list of prompts is a starting point. Let's say you don't even know where to start and I give you a list of prompts, and this is a place where you begin your journey. But then you take each one of those prompts and you go very deep and personal. Even if I say something very open as a prompt start, yours is going to be completely different to someone else's, and that's what's going to make it work for you. Because when you go deep and personal, it will be a completely different experience and result than anyone else. Seven day art journal prompts. I'm going to go down each prompt and explain how to go about drawing each one. Number 1, place where I am at the moment. What I'm talking about here is at the physical place where you are. If you're home, if you're in an office, if you're in a room, you can draw any of those, and if you are near something, an object that you see that catches your interest, you can draw it too. This is a grounding exercise. This is to place you physically on this earth so that you can ground. Number 2, self-portrait. This self portrait can be representative or it could be figurative. You can draw yourself as you are now. You can draw an ideal version of yourself or you can draw yourself as a child. This is about thinking about who I am being, who I am being right now, and it brings you into how you show up in the world. Number 3, favorite place in nature. Be it a forest or the beach, or a park, or wherever you like in nature. This is about thinking about trust and how you just put trust in the universe. We can't control nature or anything about it or its beauty. This is about giving control to the universe. Number 4, wild creature. This can be a creature that you invent or that you create out of your imagination, or a wild creature that already exists in nature. It's up to you what you want to do and make sure you use colors and shapes and pattern here. This exercise is about what you are afraid of. You can't control a wild creature. This is about just thinking about the things that you are afraid of. Number 5, sweet tame pet. If you have a pet, you can draw your pet or you can draw a cartoon pet or any kind of domesticated animal. What this means is, this is a representative of the things you can control. The things that you can control and that you have power over. Number 6, my hands. You draw your own hands or something that represents your hands, and this is a moment of reflection that I give you to think about how you react to things. Let's say something happens that you weren't expecting. That moment of reflection before you react is what we're thinking about when we're drawing hands. The last one, magic potion is any kind of magic potion, something that you've seen in a movie or in a cartoon, or something that you make up. Think about the color, think about the container, think about what's around it. This is representative of what you need at this moment. As you draw this magic potion, think about what your needs are. That is how you go about the seven-day journal prompts that I've presented here in this activity. I hope that the list of prompts that I gave you was helpful. Now coming up next, the conclusion to this class. 9. Conclusion: You made it, congrats. What I'd like you to do with this is take it and run with it. Make it your own. You've learned everything from the benefits of art journaling to how to do it and how to take it and make it personal. I want to see what you guys are up to. Please upload your process shots because it would be awesome to see how everyone's results are completely different. I wish you the very best. Thank you so much.