Most art journalers create their backgrounds first. I’ve seen many who create multiple backgrounds in a session and then work through them and add bits and pieces and journaling on top later on. Or, they just create their background and then journal.
Either way, your background almost always comes first. And how do you decide what to do? There are a million and one ways to make your background from collage to paint to doodles to chalk to funky techniques to pictures.
But what is the base of all of that? Color.
Now, color theory is a huge and intense subject but I want to share a little bit about picking colors to match your mood and then how to forget all that and just pick intuitively as well.
When journaling for your mental health, the most common thing we tend to do is journal to get out our feelings. Or perhaps, journal to embrace a new feeling. It’s all bout feelings and moods and our emotions. So starting at the base of your journal, how can you represent your mood on the page?
Red is all about strong, intense emotions. Anger or sexual passion are most common. Red is powerful, strong and a very in your face kind of color.
Orange brings the warmth to your page! It’s all about confidence and excitement. Orange can also represent friendliness.
Yellow is the happiest color. It’s about energy and light, and is a very attention getting shade.
Green can help you feel calm or grounded. It is about good luck and abundance.
calming, money, good luck
Blue can vary depending on the tone and your overall page but it can be either very peaceful and trusting to cold, depression and lonely.
Purple has always been a color of luxury (the royal color) and represent wisdom, creativity and spirituality. It can also be very romantically charged.
Brown is the main earthy color, it is super grounding. But it can also induce a sense a sadness or isolation.
Black is all about power, it is a very strong color. It can represent depression, evil, death and give a sense of overwhelm.
White is very pure. It represents a sense of space and openness but can also feel scary in it’s vastness. (Don’t be afraid to leave your background completely blank!)
Now that you know what colors mean, I want you to forget all of the above and grab your go to art supplies.
Watercolors or pens or acrylics and make a page full of squares of each color.
As you paint a color, take notice of what emotions are filling your body. When you paint orange do you feel confidence or do you feel excited or maybe you feel anger? What bubbles to the surface?Take note of the emotions and jot it down next to the color.
The meanings and emotions might be exactly the same as those above or completely opposite or a little of both. But after doing the exercise, you’ll have your own little chart of mood colors.
The more you work with colors and in your journal or on a canvas, the more comfortable you’ll get with selecting colors based on your intuition. I rarely think about it anymore and just let myself grab what seems to be what I need in the moment and it always turns out to reflect the emotions I’m feeling and the mood on the page when I’m done.
Share in the comments: What does each color mean to you? Do you have a ‘go to’ color that you love the most on your pages?
PS: Did you know I have 1-on-1 sessions to help you break through doubt in your journal (or art, or writing…anything creative!) Journal it! Mentor Sessions are designed for those who feel overwhelmed every time they sit down to be creative, who are listening to their inner critic over their intuition. At the end of our session, I’ll create some personal prompts for you and you’ll walk away refreshed and ready to create.