Sharing More Emotional Art

Lately I’ve been doing something that my friend Marieke calls ‘raw art journaling’. So now you’ll probably ask:

What Is Raw Journaling?

To me raw journaling is where you journal with the intention of feeling, processing and expressing your emotions. You avoid trying to decide up front what you’re going to make (i.e. you don’t plan out a composition or particular subject), but instead you let yourself be led by your inner voice and intuition. For me an important aspect of this is letting go of the need to make something pretty or coherent.

Raw journaling #artjournal #intuitiveart #rawjournaling #emotion #mixedmedia #strathmore #irisimpressionsart


I usually start out by grabbing a few colours (adhering loosely to colour theory and colour relationships – I will be going into this more in my bonus lesson on Let’s Face It) so I don’t get overwhelmed. In my journals I like to use matte acrylics (like Americana or Blick matte acrylics) because they don’t make the pages stick together the way glossy acrylics might. Then while I’m working I’ll let my intuition guide me in terms of picking further colours.



I find that when I try this type of art journaling things tend to look a lot more unfinished. I also use a lot more words in haphazard ways across the pages. With a ‘normal’ art journal page I have a tendency to create a face and then in the empty space a word or phrase. With raw journaling it’s much more ‘all over the place’. I pay less attention to composition and more attention to what I want to express. Almost everything that goes through my head will come out in text, either in layers or illegible scribbles or as visible text on the final layer.



The most surprising and unsurprising thing has been that I’ve found this type of art harder to share. I usually share everything (pretty, ugly, it doesn’t really matter to me who sees it), but I think that in a lot of my work the emotions are more hidden (e.g. the process has been cathartic but the page itself doesn’t really express specific emotions on the surface). In this work the emotion is totally on the surface. It’s very raw, very real and it makes me feel really vulnerable to share it.

So maybe it’s not such a surprise that I’ve found it hard, but I will keep sharing, because I absolutely love this type of art. Both to look at and to make. It’s not necessarily ‘pretty’, but to me it expresses something deep and it touches me in a way that a lot of other art doesn’t. It makes me feel exhilarated, a bit scared and it makes my heart beat faster.

If you’d like to check out some other people who do raw journaling, these are artists whose work I enjoy:
Marieke Blokland
Anne-Marie van Eck
Erin Faith Allen
Roxanne Coble

Keep reading:

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Do It For Fun, Do It For You I’ve made 13 short art journal videos in the last 20 days. That’s a reason in itself to celebrate! But what it also gives me the opportunity to do is ...
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2 thoughts on “Sharing More Emotional Art”

  1. Dear Iris hi! Happy holidays! I wish you had a great Christmas time and the new year to bring you and your family all that you wish for!!! Raw journaling sounds like soul liberating which is something that I really need to try. Unfortunately, when making art I (and maybe others) want to create something beautiful, and to new ‘artists’ like me this fact sometimes becomes a burden. Often, I find myself struggling to create beautiful and acceptable (both be me and others) art losing all the fun part and the liberating free expression. So, thank you for bringing “raw journaling” to my attention. It might sound a bit scary thing to try (and even more to share!), but I really need to do it and this could be one of my new year’s goals: “MORE RAW AND SOUL LIBERATING ART JOURNALING”!

    • Hi Melfina, wishing you a very happy new year too! I hope that you will give raw journaling a try. I actually haven’t done any since the pages shown in this post, and I miss it! I’ve been painting faces, doing studies, which is nice because it increases my skill, but I also need that outlet of just putting on the page whatever I’m feeling.

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