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Show me How to Add Words

Adding words can be very intimidating. To start with, what do you even write? Do you write a long drawn out diary entry? Do you stencil on a favorite quote? Transcribe a poem or favorite song lyrics? A list of all the mean things anyone has ever said to you?


All of these ideas are a great place to start. I used to be quite selfconscious (and still am sometimes) about what I write into my journal, even though there's a good chance no one will ever see it. I finally I cured myself (mostly) of this by allowing myself the option to cover over everything in gesso if I don't like it. Sometimes all I need to know is that its there, lurking under the layers. Once I began to see the pages as "always a work in progress" it became much easier to just go for it, knowing that if I don't like it I'll just paint over it! It also works when I've "fucked it up" by stenciling something badly over a page I really loved. At these moments I fall back on something Seth Apter likes to say, "you're only a layer away." Meaning if you don't like it, you're not finished yet.

I've written stuff out on paper that I've collaged onto a page then completely obscured with paint and stenciling and other collage elements. I sometimes start by writing in a huge scrawl on a blank page and then gluing shit down on top of it. My favorite thing to do is slap on some paint, then scrap some of it away and see the ink peeking through, or the dents my words have made floating under the layers. 

There's no one way to add words, and I don't think art journaling requires it either. But I can be a way to make it feel authentic and meaningful. So for those of you who want a step by step to help you get started, check out the following pictures. Hopefully you'll get inspired. Click on the pitctures to scroll through and see the captions.


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