Tag: acrylic paint

Visual Journal Page 31: Atlanta Adventures

A visual journal page about a lifelong friendship and a trip to the aquarium. Visual journal tips, techniques, and challenges are included.

So far, my best friends have been made in high school and in college. These are the people I know will be in my lives forever, the ones my kids will refer to as aunts and uncles. The difficult part of developing these deep friendships during this time, is its a pre-root time period. My friends scattered across the US for college, and even more after college. As we all graduated from college some stayed and some left. As we moved onto our adult jobs and adult relationships, adult roots also began to take hold.

Nick and I ended up settling near the areas we grew up. Luckily, some of our good friends decided to do the same, but some others opted for new scenery, 3,000 miles away.

One of our dearest friends is a friend we each met separately before Nick and I began dating. I knew Jared in high school. Although our friendship didn’t develop until our senior year, we quickly began hanging out in the same group of friends and got to know each other better. Jared was my senior prom date and we ended up attending the same college. I always felt comfortable with him and could talk to him easily. I was excited to have such a dear friend be a part of the next journey in our lives.

Nick lived on the same hall as Jared freshman year. The tiny UGA dorm rooms forces students to spend more time hanging out in the hallways and spilling into hall-mates rooms. Jared and Nick hung out more and more as the year continued on, they kept in touch sophomore year after moving into apartments, and ended up living with each other the last few years of college.

Nick and I began dating our sophomore year of college after meeting at a party at Jared’s apartment. With Jared being such a huge part of both of our lives, it was inevitable that the three of us would spend a lot of time together. When I think back to college I always think of Nick, Jared, and Elly (my other dear friend who also moved to LA. You can read about the visual journal page I used to process my feelings about that move here). It wouldn’t have been college without them.

After college Jared and his girlfriend, Ashley, moved to LA (very much against the will of Nick and I). We were both sad to see them go, but excited for their new adventure, on what felt like another planet.

Every year, at the very least, Jared comes home for Christmas. This particular year, we decided to meet up and do some stereotypical Atlanta tourist things: visit the World of Coke, the Atlanta Aquarium, and eat at a downtown restaurant. The three of us spent the day together gallivanting the city, and it felt like not a single day had passed since we graduated college. That was when I knew no matter the distance or length of time between catching up, we would always be friends.

Jared and Ashley are now the godparents of our first born, little man Cooper. Now they are forced to be a part of our lives forever (a very selfish, calculated decision on Nick and my part). The best friends are the ones that feel like they never left when they move far away and come back and visit.


  • Visual journal
  • White paper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Water
  • Shallow cup
  • Straw
  • Dawn soap
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie
  • Glue


One of my favorite parts of that day was looking at the jellyfish at the aquarium. I decided I would focus on that as the visual for the page. I recently began playing with bubble paint prints, was slightly obsessed (check out my visual journal worksheet on making bubble paint prints here),  and this would provide another way for me to use them.

I wanted to paint the background blue and green, so I ripped two pages out of my visual journal, painted them, then set them aside to dry. By ripping the pages out and gluing them back in, it prevents the paint from bleeding through the paper onto other pages.

While the background was drying, I working on painting the jellyfish. I looked up a few pictures to reference, then loosely painted them. I kept the colors warm, to contrast the cool background. Once they dried, I cut them out.

Once the background dried, I added the white bubble paint prints on top. To do that I took a shallow dish, added white acrylic paint, water, and dawn soap. I mixed it together, then used a straw to blow bubbles. Once the bubbles were just over the rim of the dish, I lightly placed the background paper on top, causing the bubbles to either stick to the paper or pop on the paper. I popped any bubbles that stuck to the paper after lifting it. The white coloring in the bubbles created a print of the bubble shape on the paper.

After the bubble paint prints dried, I glued the pages back into my visual journal. I simply glued them on top of the next two pages of my book. Next, I glued the cut out jellyfish paintings down. Last, but not least, I added the words using sharpie.


Create a visual journal page about an important person in your life.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and read today’s post! Help me spread the word about visual journals by sharing this post with others. If you are interested in teaching visual journals to your art students, check out my visual journal handouts here and yearlong lesson plan pack here.  Would you like more visual journal how tos delivered straight to your inbox? Become a subscriber: fill out your e-mail address in the form at the bottom of the page. Thanks for stopping by!

A visual journal page about a lifelong friendship and a trip to the aquarium. Visual journal tips, techniques, and challenges are included.

Visual Journal Page 5: Year 25

Visual Journal Page 5-Year 25

My birthday is one of my favorite times of year. While I don’t require week, or month long, celebration, I do require a lot of attention the day of. I begin the countdown around a month before, constantly reminding Nick the first of the month is quickly approaching, August 1st is almost here, and it is a very important day.

I love birthdays in general. I love being the center of attention, pampered, and treated like royalty one day of the year. I also love celebrating birthdays. In college, I made it a point to make sure my roommates always had a full birth-day. My friends and I always tried to go above and beyond for each other to  make our days special while away from home. Waking up Theresa at the crack of dawn to surprise her with pancakes and balloons, Elly and I spontaneously buying a happy birthday blow up lion to use every year to celebrate, making all of their favorite dinner dishes, even if it meant fried ravoli and mashed potatoes in the same meal.

Nick knows my birthday enthusiasm. Every year I make a point to make him “big family breakfast,” a feast of bacon, potatoes, eggs, and toast, even if it means getting up an extra hour before work. After all, it is “birth-day” not “birth-dinner” or “birth-coupleofhours,” and everyone deserves a special day to celebrate.

While in school I hated having a summer birthday. I meant less attention was paid to me. I didn’t get to carry around balloons, get my locker wrapped, or be surprised with gifts from my friends. I didn’t get the time in the spotlight when everyone feels obligated to wish you happy birthday, because you have a giant sign, in the form of a balloon, announcing you made it another year.

However, as an adult, summer birthdays are my favorite. It means no work, regardless of whether or not my birthday falls on a Monday or Saturday. It means I most likely get to spend the day doing one of my favorite summer activities, lounging by the pool with a good book and adult beverage. I cherish my days off and the complete laziness I am allowed to enjoy on August 1st.

Needless to say, when I discovered pre-planning started on my birthday in 2011, I was devastated. I was going to have to get up early, make myself presentable, and do work, for the first time in two months, on my birthday. My birth-day was being reduced to what I never wanted, a quick dinner after work. I hoped, at the very least, I would be able to go out for lunch with my coworkers, without having to announce to the world it was my birthday and I needed special treatment. However, being the first day back, everyone decided to work straight through lunch.

It was a difficult day to stay focused, and I was glad when the clock hit 3:30, and I could head home. Nick and I did enjoy an amazing sushi dinner, and I was surprised with the usual pile of presents Nick insists on creating. I was most excited for my Nook, an easy way for me to consume book after book while being lazy at the pool, something to look forward to next summer. I still enjoyed my day, I still appreciated everything I was given, but perhaps this was the final nail in the coffin of my first teaching job. I needed to get closer to home and in a school that did not start on my birthday.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Watercolor
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Sharpie
  • Pencil
  • White paper
  • Book pages


For this visual journal page I wanted to include a day of activities and gifts into one image. After thinking about ways to simplify the page, I decided to focus on the Nook Nick gave me for my birthday, and include snapshots of the day on the screen.

Once I had a plan in place, I began working on the Nook. I wanted the screen of the Nook to stand out from the background, so I layered lighter colored book pages on a white sheet of paper. After, I began sketching out the Nook. I focused on all the small details, the battery icon, side buttons, home screen icons, etc., to make it look more realistic. I then used acrylic paint to fill in the the Nook.

To reflect my birthday day I divided the screen into three sections. One area to represent my desk at work, one area for the pile of presents, and one area for my delicious sushi birthday meal. Once I had a rough sketch, I added color and details with acrylic paint. Since the images were fairly small and loosely painted, a lot of detail was lost. To emphasize shadows and line I used an extra fine Sharpie to add detail back in.

Once the Nook painting was complete, I set it on the page. It filled up the space nicely, but overall, the image fell a little flat. I decided to create watercolor splatters to outline the Nook to add a little more interest to the page. On a separate sheet of paper I collage a light brown color book page, then painted a line of green watercolor on top. Before the paint dried, I blew the paint to splatter it. I continued this process until I had enough to outline the Nook.

I used rubber cement to glue all of the elements down.


Create a visual journal page about your last or upcoming birthday.