Last year, at the end of each month, I wrote a blog post about the books, movies and TV shows I enjoyed that month. This year, with all that’s been happening in the world, I’ve barely read any books. I’ve had a hard time finding TV shows that grab my attention, and our movie viewing has been focused most recently on binge-watching all episodes of the Harry Potter series.

Instead, I’ve spent most of my free time engrossed in art. Like most people, my mind has been filled with concerns about the coronavirus, racial issues, social unrest, politics and even murder hornets! Turning my attention to my creative projects has become my go-to happy place. So, instead of talking about books and movies that caught my attention last month, I thought I would share my art journal.

I started art journaling at the beginning of 2019, but I’ve really gotten into it this year. I subscribe to a monthly kit from Let’s Make Art, which I love. Each month’s kit is designed around a theme with journaling prompts, page ideas and new supplies — many of which I haven’t tried before.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the May projects, which were centered around the them “Kindred Spirits.” But once I got started playing around with the animal themes, I couldn’t get enough! The kit came with collage paper with photos of different animals. For each page in my journal, I enjoyed thinking about the qualities of a different animal, and then deciding what I could learn and apply to my own life.

I did most of the pages in the theme colors of black, white, gray and blush.

The new product I got to try in May is called gesso. This is a great product that you can use to build up a page before you paint on it so your watercolor paints or other water-based materials don’t bleed through. However, as part of my May journal, I used the gesso to create cool textures and add depth to the pages.

Most months, the journal that I get with my kit contains only white mixed media paper. This month, the journal included different types of paper. Some pages were black, others were watercolor paper, some were kraft paper and some were even vellum! It was a fun challenge to decided what to do with the vellum. I ended up making a series of four “turtle” pages with advice from my slow-moving friend.

I played with distress ink on several pages. You simply blot the ink on the page, then spray it with a water bottle to blend the colors.

The May kit also included gray iridescent paint, which was super fun to use as an accent on many of the pages.

I also had fun with watercolors…

… and my Tombow dual brush pens. These markers are water based, so after you color with them, you can blend the colors together using a wet paint brush.

At the end, I decided to create a cover and title for my journal and veered off into brighter colors. I really wish I would have kept the whole thing more muted. But art journaling is all about trying new things, so “I’m not mad about it.”

I named my May journal, “Soar: Animal advice for a better life.”

I hope you found some of these ideas inspiring if you ever want to try to start an art journal. It has been a super relaxing craft that helps me unwind and clear my thoughts.

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Did you try any new projects in the month of May? I would love to hear about them! Leave me a comment below.

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