Creating with a Prompt: Art Journal

When my six-year-old asked if we could journal together, I wasn’t surprised. But when she said “I have a prompt for you!” I did a double take. She had a paper doll that she had already colored and wanted me to incorporate it in my journal. She had another one for her own journal.

We worked side by side for an hour in almost complete silence…she at her workstation and I at mine. She would intermittently come and take a colored pencil or pick up a stencil but for the most part we stayed in our own zones.

My only instruction to her always is: follow your heart…choose colors and words that speak to you in the moment. When she showed me her journal spread, she said, “this girl is letting go of everything everyone tells her to be…she is choosing to believe in herself!”

As a mother, I can’t tell you what I experienced in that moment. For her to create something so powerful at this young age … I’m honestly gobsmacked.

My journal page pales in comparison…but the message is one of living your life with love and hope. I incorporated parts of a magazine and used a selection of stencils along with color shift acrylics, fluid acrylics, acrylic inks and white gesso.

If you have little ones…invite them to play with colors and imagery…encourage them to incorporate words and textures…try not to give them any directions and see where their journey leads them. You’ll be amazed at the beauty they create.

My Process and Advice

Since it was an impromptu session and because I rarely plan what my end goal will be with journal pages, you’ll see me make decisions and change them…I’m not afraid of covering any layers…and that is the biggest piece of advice I can give those that are starting out: Go with the flow.

Follow your heart and try not to have an agenda…try immersing yourself in the process and enjoy the journey. You will subconsciously express what you’re feeling — good or bad — as you explore. Reach for a bright burst of color or an odd shape if that’s what speaks to you in the moment.

Write whatever comes to mind…don’t overthink it…don’t pause…stop when you feel you can add no more…let the process be your guide 🙂

Trusting your gut is an important exercise to discovering yourself as an artist. I don’t have formal training so I speck from experience. When I try to emulate someone else’s style I feel constrained … I’m trying to follow a color palette too closely or make marks that are supposed to look random but feel precisely placed … it feels pretentious almost.

When I am being humbly myself, not caring about the destination or the rules, I feel at peace. This may not be my best work but it was one I enjoyed making…and that’s my takeaway for you. Not everyone makes everything amazing all the time. It’s all part of an odyssey of exploration — cherish it, enjoy it.


Curious about the products I use? I have listed them below.

(These are compensated affiliate links at no cost to you. Thank you for your support! Affiliate and product disclosure can be found here. As always, I was not paid to do this post and I only use products from companies I love.)

Published by mansimakes

Hi there, I am Mansi, a self-taught artist based in Silicon Valley. I was a full-time communications professional for two decades, with a desk job and a six-figure salary until I decided to become a mom. Motherhood, as many will attest, can be extremely exhausting, especially in those first years. Art became my quiet place. It restored my sense of self. It gave me renewed energy. It helped me become a better mom. I was led down the path of creation by instinct and “discovered“ in early 2019 by a fellow kindred spirit at one of my art pop-ups who asked me to join her entrepreneurial venture. While I immersed myself full time in the role of CFO and co-founder of this women-led venture supporting local women makers, I missed experimenting with mixed-media. So, in 2021, I've decided to focus my energies full time in finessing my craft, producing more online tutorials and offering in-person art workshops for both adults and children. Thank you for joining me on this adventure as I experiment, learn and continue creating custom pieces of joy.

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