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Making Art

Prompting Inspiration

Using a journal to guide artistic thought

Have you ever kept a journal?

I've journaled on and off throughout my life, with some pretty cringe-worthy high school entries to show for it. Even when I've fallen out of the habit, I've always found the task itself to be more or less necessary.

There's just something wonderful that occurs when you take the time to put your thoughts down on paper­—the worst seems (slightly) better, the best is magnified, and the restlessness of the mind is satisfied.

Emgie Libris journal

Photo by Heather Linder

My sister-in-law gave me this beautiful hand-bound, canvas journal for Christmas, and it's inspired me to be more deliberate and purposeful with my entries. I don't care much for typical New Year's resolutions, but dedicating time to writing in my lovely new journal seems like a worthwhile endeavor.

(Fun fact: the Internet tells me that journal writers on average are less stressed and better problem solvers, while those who daily record the things they are thankful for have better immune systems and lower rates of heart disease. I'm not making this stuff up!)

The biggest challenge in keeping a journal can be those days where you feel like you have nothing to write about. Dried up, tapped out, devoid of original thoughts. That's when guided journals can come in and inspire you.

Beagle snuggled on journal

My puppy, Lancelot, illustrates that exhausted feeling we all get sometimes. 

Take the Inspirational Art Journal for example. Scattered throughout the book are inspirational quotes and writing prompts. I recently went to town recording my thoughts on if the creation of art should be considered a noble ambition and if all art should strive to fulfill certain purposes. (No and no, if you're curious. Though my journal entry was much more eloquent.)

The book leaves fully blank pages for the days you are fired up and ready to write and guides you on the less prolix days to think about art's impact on life, creativity, religion, societal values and more. Lance and I are working on incorporating this introspection into our evening routine. 

Beagle lying on a journal

He's not a huge help with the writing, but he is pretty cute to look at.

I'd love to know if any of you have used guided or art-themed journals. Did they bring value to your daily musings?

Check out the about page from the Inspirational Art Journal, a guided journal.

art inspiration journal

Heather Linder

Heather is a journalist and writer living in Chicago with her composer husband and art-loving puppy, Lancelot. She's on an endless quest for the city's best coffee and is endlessly inspired by Chicago's magnificent skyline. Heather is a bookworm, aspiring chef, and NPR fanatic. She's in the process of teaching her beagle to use a French press and overcoming her fear of DIY.

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If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent Van Gogh

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