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Heart to Art: 10 Art Journal Prompts

Heart to Art: 10 Art Journal Prompts
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Art Journal Prompts

I’m focusing this month on some Heart to Art activities. I define Heart to Art – as the practice of expressing your thoughts, feelings, whatever is on your heart, in a creative manner. It could be a visual picture, written or spoken poetry, or something musical – however you feel free to express yourself creatively. Below I’ve provided 10 art journal prompts you can use to get you started on your Heart to Art activity.

Note that you don’t need to consider yourself an artist, or have x number of skills or art knowledge. You just have to be willing to try. You get out of it, what you put in. So if you are willing to go all in – no holding back – just let yourself be free to express your thoughts and emotions creatively, not thinking about rules or technique – I really think you will enjoy it.

Gauge your emotions before, during, and after

As you do each or any of these exercises, pay attention to how you are feeling before you start, how you’re feeling during the activity, and how you are feeling after. Did the activity bring you joy? Perhaps you could consider doing it on a regular basis. If the activity is bringing up uncomfortable emotions – ask yourself which part of the activity is doing that. Are the instructions not clear or too difficult in your mind, and therefore stresses you out? Then maybe you can skip that for now.

Or in the midst of the activity is it bringing up emotions that you may have avoided dealing with? If that’s the case, think about what steps you might need to take to move pass the uncomfortable, and help you face those emotions. Is the activity helping you deal with it? Or do you need to do a different activity. Do you need to talk to someone about the emotions it’s bringing up for you? Again these art journal prompts – are just that prompts. They are here to help you get started. It’s up to you if you want to use them to scratch the surface of your heart or go even deeper. All in all I hope you find them helpful.

Heart to Art: 10 Art Journal Prompts

1. Word Association – “Hero”: 

Don’t think just write/draw/create: What person comes to mind when you hear the word “hero”?

2. Tree Rings Timeline: 

Draw rings/circles on your paper starting small at the center, and getting larger as you move out from the center. On each ring write a significant event that happened in your life. Starting from the smallest center ring (your earliest significant memory) and going out into the larger rings.

3. Create a book cover: 

Think of a favorite memory, it could be from childhood, a vacation you took, an adventure…etc. If that was turned into a book, what would the cover look like? Include a title, and get creative.

4. Create your own emotions chart:

I once worked with a client who loved Pokemon. So we used different Pokemon characters to represent the emotions he often feels. When creating your own emotions chart, try to think of at least nine different emotions, feel free to add more as needed. You can use different characters, symbols, colors etc. Take a look below at some examples

5. Flip the Script: 

Think back on a negative experience you had. If you can capture that experience in 1 word – write that down on your paper. Then turn your paper around (flip the script) and think about a word that means the opposite of what you just wrote down. – Write that new word down on the paper. (For example if I wrote down the word “broken” – I would flip the script and write down the word “restored”. Other examples could be “ugly / pretty”, “hopeless / hopeful”…)

In looking back on that negative experience, can you think about some of the good things that happened during that time, or happened because of that experience? If so write those words or draw pictures associated with those positive memories. The goal is that your paper would instead be filled with these positive words or images and cover up that one negative word.

6. Gratitude Mandala:

Using the template provided, or creating your own, create a gratitude mandala. Around the circle write or illustrate the things you are grateful for. It can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.

Click on the image caption to go to the Free Resource Library where you can download this or other printables. *Note you will need to have the password to get in. To get access to the library, join the RCM community here.

7. Emotions heart: 

Draw a heart on your paper. Using only color (no words) color the heart with how you are feeling at the moment. Example red can be used to represent anger, or passion. Blue can be used for calm. You can create a color symbols chart to help you remember. This is a great activity to go back to especially when you’re experiencing strong emotions

8. Roll a pattern: 

Using the chart provided / or creating your own. Divide your paper into 5-10 rows. Then roll the dice and draw the corresponding pattern with the number on the dice. These lines and patterns are a great coping mechanism for staying calm, managing anger, or feelings of irritation. You can just draw the lines, or add color as you wish.

Click on the image caption to go to the Free Resource Library where you can download this or other printables. *Note you will need to have the password to get in. To get access to the library, join the RCM community here.

9. Positive affirmation cards

Pick an encouraging quote or bible verse and write it down on a note card that you can either take with you, or post somewhere you can see often. Feel free to use different colors, and draw patterns or symbols to make that card stand out. Get creative.

Click on the image caption to go to the Free Resource Library where you can download this or other printables. *Note you will need to have the password to get in. To get access to the library, join the RCM community here.

10. Draw a dream

It could be an actual dream you had when you were asleep. Draw what you can remember of it. Or it could be a dream as in a goal or a vision you have for yourself, something you want to pursue or happen. 

Let me know if you gave any of these art journal prompts a try. Which ones did you like the most? Is there anything on this list you would change? If you have a question on any of these activities feel free to get in touch. I would love to hear from you.

I will be posting other examples of these Heart to Art activities throughout the month. So be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook @ReeCreationMinistries across both platforms.

7 thoughts on “Heart to Art: 10 Art Journal Prompts”

  1. I think I will suggest some ideas fo my daughter who is very artsy. I especially like the ideas of the scriptures cards and drawing dreams. She is always describing to us her dreams.🙂 Thanks for the ideas.

    1. That sounds wonderful. Feel free to share some photos of the activity. I always love seeing other’s creativity and how they interpret the prompts.

  2. Wow! I can’t wait to try all of these. For the “create your own emotions chart,” I did something similar with a student who struggled with anger management. When he got made, he could draw the picture that fit with “I’m angry because…” and pictures fit with “I don’t understand,” “I need to move around,” “someone said something that hurt me,” and even “I don’t want you to tell me what to do.” It was amazing how quickly he communicated his feelings when he had ideas of pictures to express himself.
    I think for myself, I’m going to start with “flip the script.” There’s a word that’s been rattling around in my brain for several years. I think it’s time I flip it on its head so I can see it in a different light.
    Thanks for the fantastic ideas!!

    1. That’s amazing Elizabeth. So great to hear about your student and see how providing the tools or pictures to communicate our emotions can be so effective. Also love that you’re going to try “Flip the Script” Please let me know how it turns out.

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