Tag: prisma

Visual Journal Page 29: Even Brighter

A visual journal page about adding Christmas lights to my home and how to use colored pencils.

Hands down, Christmas is my favorite time of year. Although I refuse to decorate until after Thanksgiving (each holiday needs a moment to shine), I start feeling the Christmas spirit as soon as Halloween starts approaching. This is yet another visual journal page about Christmas (check out visual journal pages about past Christmases here, here, and here), and it definitely won’t be the last.

Nick and I were about to spend our third Christmas in our Atlanta, GA bungalow, and each year we got more and more serious about our Christmas decorations. Thanks partially to my Mom’s commitment to giving each of the kids a nutcracker every year for Christmas, our interior decorating game was on point. I will never forget our first Christmas together when I started unpacking no less than twenty nutcrackers and my husband of less than a year commented: “I didn’t know you had a nutcracker collection…” Five years together and you would think he would’ve known everything about me.

As the interior of the house filled up, we began thinking about the exterior. We had always managed to get at least get a few wreaths out and some lights on the bushes, but never attempted to add lights to the house. Our roof is incredibly steep, and even though we live in a small house, Griswalding it up was a little daunting. However, despite the risk of falling off our roof, Nick decided it was time to step up our exterior decorating game.

He didn’t get out of control, we didn’t cause a neighborhood blackout (Yes, another Christmas Vacation reference). He simply lined the top and edge of the roof with the round bulb style white lights. But that little touch was enough. It brightened up our sweet house and our street. He slipped, slid, and held on for dear life as he clipped the lights on, and he got it done. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it. However, I will admit, Nick asked if we could just leave them up on the house until the following Christmas (no) after the amount of time it took.

For the next month, every time I arrived home from work I couldn’t help but smile. It brightened up each afternoon and reminded me that Christmas was almost here.


  • Visual journal
  • White paper
  • Scissors
  • Prisma colored pencils
  • Pencil
  • Glue


Compared to a lot of my other visual journal pages, this page uses very few materials. I wanted to keep it simple, to the point, and I was in the midst of a minor colored pencil obsession. So, naturally, I did a full colored pencil drawing.

I started by cutting a 2 sheets of white paper to the size of my book spread (two pages facing each other). I then sketched out my house on one sheet. Next, I began layering Prisma colored pencils. When I use colored pencils I typically start dark and move light. I get at least three different hues of one color (dark, medium, light at the minimum) to layer together to create more depth. I also like to color in circles to create a softer look. Once I had the house fully filled in, I cut it out. Read more tips on using colored pencils here.

Next, I began adding the background to the second sheet of white paper. I wanted a loose look around the edges, so I spread out the lines as I approached the edge of the paper. I layered many different shades of blue for the sky and green for the ground. Once it was filled in, I cut it out, making sure I cut close around the loose lines at the edge of the paper.

I glued the background to my visual journal first, then centered my house drawing on top. To finish the page, I added the text: “it made me smile everyday when I pulled up… it made my afternoons even brighter” using colored pencil around the edge of the drawing. I exaggerated the letters to help them blend in with the background. I also used the same blues and greens so the text blended with the sky and ground.


Create a visual journal page using nothing but paper and colored pencils.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help spread the word by sharing it with others. Are you interested in teaching visual journals to your students? Check out my visual journal basic lesson here and bundle pack here. Thanks for stopping by!

A visual journal page about decorating the exterior of my house with Christmas lights. Visual journal tips, how tos, and challenges are included plus specifics on colored pencils.

Visual Journal Page 16: Fall

Fall is hands down my favorite season. I love the changing colors, the reds and yellow contrasting against the bright blue sky. The way the cool wind begins to seep into your skin and send a shiver down your spine. I love the transition from the long, sticky, sweaty, humid, thick air days to the cool, crisp, light days fall presents.

Everything seems a little cleaner and brighter through the cool air. The sky seems bluer, the leaves are brighter, and things begin to slow down. I begin to calm down as I fall into the schedule of school and look forward to the upcoming holidays.

The holidays… Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the build up to Christmas. The movie marathons begin as Nick and I move from scary movies, to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and straight into our stack of annual Christmas classics. As the heat dissolves into cool and the cool gives way to cold, my excitement grows as Christmas approaches. Thanksgiving comes and goes, black Friday shopping ensues, and the decorating finally begins. The last weeks of fall are dedicated to the beginning of winter, and the start of Christmas festivities

Fall brings cool air and the necessity of heat. Every year I look forward to flipping the switch to heat. I wait for the thermostat to click, and the soft hum that follows. The rubbery scent of a heater dusting itself off and prepping for another winter reaches my nostrils and my shivers begin to subside.

Fires, there is nothing better than spending a chilly night at home, snuggled in a blanket, watching a movie, drinking cider and hot chocolate, next to a fire. Nick walks in the door, looks at me snuggled in a few blankets, and asks “do you want me to build you a fire?” The answer is always yes. The crackling, roaring, as the flames consume log after log. The feel of the heat licking at your feet as you get just close enough to imagine the flames on your skin. The smell wrapping around the room, colliding and fighting with the cool air.

I sleep better in the fall. Snuggled under my sheets and comforter, balling up to create my warm pocket. I sleep too well in the fall, suddenly my alarm is snoozed more than once, I convince myself I will get to work on time, I shut my eyes for just 30 more seconds, just to delay the moment when my warm toes hit the freezing wood. The shock is enough to wake you up, and make you a little grumpy. I roll out of bed, scurry to the shower, and spend too much time under the steaming spray.

But my grumpiness quickly dissolves as I step out the front door, and see the sun coming up a little earlier, feel the cool breeze grazing my skin, and the rustling of bright leaves announcing the return of fall yet again.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Colored Pencils
  • Tissue paper
  • India ink


This page took FOREVER to complete. I spent many hours coloring in the green circles to create the microscope view of a leaf.

I started with the pattern. I looked up pictures of close up views of leafs, until I found a texture and pattern I liked. I referenced it as I drew the basic shape, the outline of the stem and sections of ovals, with pencil. When I finished I started on the circles. I used a darker green colored pencil to create the circle, and as I filled it in I slowly switched to lighter and lighter greens until I hit yellow. If you use Prisma brand colored pencils the colors blend together very easily. They are pricey, but worth the investment! I made the circles darker around the stems, and lighter as they moved towards the center. I did this to create a sense of depth and value.

Once I had the background complete I decided to use a pen to scribble the outline of a tree. I love trees in general, especially in silhouette, and it fit with the idea of leaves falling off of trees. As soon as I started scribbling I knew I made a mistake… I looked terrible! And I scribbled directly on my beautiful, took hours to create, background.

I took a deep breath, and re-evaluated it. I had to cover it up so I decided to try again, on a separate sheet of paper. I didn’t want to cover up the background, so I chose to use tissue paper, which can be finicky, but worked well since it is more transparent than paper. I used India ink and painted it with a small paint brush. By doing it on a separate sheet of paper I was able to paint a few versions and pick the best one. Once the ink was dry I used an Xacto and VERY carefully cut around the branches.

After it was cut out I glued the silhouette to the background. It didn’t quite cover up my failed tree, so I took more tissue paper, glued it next to the trunk, and decided the remaining tree would just have to act as a shadow. I took a step back, and liked it, but I was trying to reflect fall, and the bright green didn’t quite get the idea across.

I went back to the tissue paper and used colored pencils to draw leaves going from green to red to brown. I glued them down, and once again took a step back. After all of the hours I put into it, I was in love. It was perfect!


Create a page using colored pencil. Don’t just use one color, try to use a range of values, layer them, and experiment. You can get really interesting affects when building up the color. Youtube is a great resource to look for color pencils tips.

I hope you enjoyed today’s fall post for the November fall weather. Thanks for stopping by and helping me spread the word about my blog! I can’t do it without you, happy Thanksgiving!!