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Art Journaling Series Part 2- Embrace Mistakes

Today's post is the continuation of my Art Journaling Series (part 1), where I will be sharing some simple ideas and suggestions to help you get started with your own art journal. 

The ideas shared below are meant to help you get warmed up to the Art Journaling process, and inspire you to develop new ideas of your own. All the techniques are easily to follow, and are suitable for those with or without experiences in art. Please feel free to modify or add to any of these ideas to suit your individual preferences and needs. 

Art Journaling Series Part 2- Embrace Mistakes

Before we begin, you may want to first check out my previous post- Why Art Journal?, where I talked about the different types of art journals, their purposes, and therapeutic benefits.

The Ever-changing Shapes and Colours

Order, cleanliness, and structure are some of the most notable qualities found in most of my artworks (as well as in various areas of my life). These qualities bring about both positive and negative influences on my creativity and personal growth. On the positive side, they can help me attain peace, clarity, and a relaxed state of mind (as mentioned in my earlier post- Drawing Exercise to Calm Busy Minds); however, they can also severely inhibit my creative potential, and my ability to take risks. 

If you find yourself hesitant to draw because you are afraid to make mistakes (create something that turn out looking different than what you intended), then you should definitely try out this drawing exercise. Through regular practice, this drawing technique will help you build up your tolerance for mess! The creative process will allow you to experience the gratifying freedom of letting loose, and giving up control.

Not only is this a great warm-up exercise prior to art journaling, the outcome of the imagery may inspire new ideas/themes that you can further explore.

What you will need:
  • A sketchbook
  • Watercolour
  • A jar of water
  • A large and a medium-size paintbrush
How to begin:
  1. You may first want to protect your work area with a drop cloth or plastic tablecloth.
  2. With your large paintbrush, dip it in water until soaking wet.
  3. Brush over the entire page with your wet brush. You will need to wet the brush several times during the process, depending on the size of your brush and Paper. The goal is to cover the entire paper with water.
  4. While the paper is still wet, use a smaller/medium size brush and start painting on the paper with any colour(s) of your choice. 
  5. When you are done, sit back and watch your painting gradually evolve on its own.
  6. After your painting is completely dried (it may take a while), you may either leave it as is, or add additional drawings with any medium of your choice. 
  7. Reflect on your artwork and the creative process. Record your reflection by writing down your thoughts and experiences anywhere in your art journal.  
  • Make sure your paper is suitable for watercolour.
  • When wetting the paper with your large brush, do not remove the excess water from the brush. You want your brush to be dripping wet to ensure enough water is applied onto the paper (but don't over do it!). Make sure the water is applied evenly.
  • If you are working without a tablecloth and want to prevent water/paint spillage, simply leave the outer border of the paper dry when you apply water with your large brush (as seen from the examples below).
  • This drawing technique only works while the paper is wet. You will need to work quickly and spontaneously, without giving too much thought or plan.  
  • While painting, you can experiment with different brush sizes, with multiple colour combinations, shapes, and patterns. 



My first, warm-up attempt with a small brush. My urge to retain control is evident by the way I purposely left spaces between each lines; however they still ended up merging together. 


I felt more comfortable with the process, and used a larger size brush with multiple colours. 

As I watched my painting evolve on its own, I wasn't satisfied with the way it was turning out. I couldn't help but tried to alter the result by repeatedly touching it up with my paintbrush. I finally stopped when I realized that it wasn't working, and I was only making it worse. The final result of the painting ended up looking completely different than I thought- with random, uneven patches and blobs of colours around the areas that I attempted to touch up. 

I couldn't help but wonder if my artwork could've looked better if I had left it alone. 

This post first appeared on The Art Therapy Journey Of An Art Therapist, please read the originial post: here

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Art Journaling Series Part 2- Embrace Mistakes


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