Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd

Vanessa is an archaeologist and an artist. She oscillates between these two poles of her personality and explores the many iterations of her reality in her art journal. She loves to share her art and process with others.

Catalysts by Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd
Your Story is Worthy

Your Story is Worthy

Your Story is Worthy of Being ToldHello dear heroines, I feel so lucky to be back with you for a little bonus lesson. When Caylee mentioned that the next Season was that of Worthiness, it sparked some ideas when it comes to this class. The Inner Heroine is quite a...

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Your Story is Worthy of Being Told

Your Story is Worthy of Being Told

Sometimes, things get in the way of our art making – whether it’s time, emotions or life in general! But I want to impress upon you that you are worthy of taking this time for you, that your story – your journey – is worthy of being told as well.

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Using Art to Narrate Your Journey with Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd

Using Art to Narrate Your Journey with Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd

The podcast is back! And we’re jumping right into the deep end. We’re not talking about surface level art here, no no, you can’t really do that with my guest. Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd and I are talking about a way to get around how damn hard it is to put your inner heart into your art. Not just putting your likes and dislikes onto the page, not just your paper ephemera, and not just what you did that day (although all of those are great). We’re discussing V’s favourite technique for telling your story without it being draining.

Cause we all have issues. We all have a story that has led us to the point we’re at. We’re all still on a journey. It may be beautiful, it may be painful, it probably is raw. Art is very good at helping unload that weight. But it’s not necessarily easy to do.

We wanted to talk about the creative process of making an online class, but in true Vanessa fashion, we ended up talking about so much more than that.

I’m glad you could join us.

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Choose Your Companion

Choose Your Companion

Free Lesson - Choose Your CompanionThe Inner Heroine class is all about documenting a journey that we have undertaken and that has allowed us to grow. In telling our story through the lens of a heroine embarking on a grand adventure, we can be free of self-censorship...

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3.4 The Monster Within

3.4 The Monster Within

3.4 The Monster WithinOne of the biggest realisations I had about my own heroine’s journey is that it is impossible to only blame others or external factors for what is happening. Each of us has a part in this dynamic, in the confrontation with the Boss Monster;...

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2.2 The call to action

2.2 The call to action

2.2 The Call to ActionThe call to action happens when the heroine has integrated the message from the catalyst. When she realises that life can’t just go back to normal or to how it was before. That is when the heroine comes to grips with the fact that she has to...

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5.1 Meeting the goddess

5.1 Meeting the goddess

5.1 Meeting the GoddessMeeting a goddess is no small feat, don’t you agree? Before making spread about the encounter, we will use the idea of imagery under imagery. We will create doors that open unto the goddess herself. We will be using all the sequins, confetti and...

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2.3 The pivot

2.3 The pivot

2.3 The PivotThe Pivot refers to that moment when there is a clear understanding by the heroine that things are already in motion. She sees that she cannot pretend she didn’t open the door to the catalyst; in actuality, the heroine has already changed. For this...

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5.2 The divine within

5.2 The divine within

5.2 The Divine WithinThe goddess doesn’t necessarily have to be an actual entity, she can also be part of the heroine herself. This was how I came to integrate this part of the journey: the divine within the self. We will make a dimensional collage with pieces that...

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2.4 Getting ready to go

2.4 Getting ready to go

2.4 Getting Ready to GoNo one sets off willingly on a journey without properly packing. Even when the journey is not of our choosing, we can have agency by taking a moment to gather our tools (even if these are truly just metaphorical tools). For this spread, we will...

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5.3 Allies

5.3 Allies

5.3 AlliesEven though the Heroine’s Journey is a personal one, our heroine is never truly alone. She has allies that support her along the way. As I mentioned, if these are not actual people, the allies can also be personality traits of the heroine or even...

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2.5 The threshold

2.5 The threshold

2.5 The ThresholdNow the heroine sets off and she has to cross from the Known World into the Unknown one. This is a big deal and she has to cross a threshold, to leave behind the world that has always made sense to her into one that needs to be explored to be...

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5.4 Taming the inner fire

5.4 Taming the inner fire

5.4 Taming the Inner FireOur Heroine has come a long way. Meeting the divine - whether it’s the divine within or without - has allowed her to tame the uncontrollable urgent burn-everything-down fire that was consuming her. Now, our heroine is better equipped to go...

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3. Lesson 03 – The Road of Trials

3. Lesson 03 – The Road of Trials

Now we enter the thick lushness of the Underground Forest. Our heroine makes her way through the Road of Trials and she meets all kinds of monsters and dragons that she has to fight along the way. The Underground Forest This may seem a bit dramatic but navigating the...

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6. Lesson 06 – Revelation

6. Lesson 06 – Revelation

Our heroine has come to terms with some pretty fundamental changes and now it is time to leave the Underground Forest and return to the Known World, armed with her new knowledge. Healing the Split When you are whole, you heal. When all parts of you are integrated, you...

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3.1 In the dark forest

3.1 In the dark forest

3.1 In the Dark ForestNow that our heroine has crossed the threshold and followed the passage into the Unknown World, we will mark her arrival. We will start by creating flaps that open up into this new landscape. We will also bring in a visual reminder of our...

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6.1 Healing the split

6.1 Healing the split

6.1 HEaling the splitThis moment when the heroine heals all parts of her is almost anti climactic in that it is a softening of the self. There are no big trumpets or announcements, it is something she feels within. We will be using transparencies once more to show the...

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3.2 Meeting monsters

3.2 Meeting monsters

3.2 Meeting MonstersNow that our heroine is really in the thick of her journey, she embarks on the road of trials. This road is full of obstacles and monsters. To illustrate these encounters, we will be creating a series of pages with a circular cutout in the middle....

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6.2 Through the happy forest

6.2 Through the happy forest

6.2 Through the Happy ForestOur heroine now walks freely through the Underground Forest - it no longer feels oppressive or intimidating. To show this we will be using collage to fill the background and then using a pop-up pull tab to show our heroine walking through...

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3.3 Boss Monster

3.3 Boss Monster

3.3 Boss MonsterWhat happens after our heroine has been on this road for a while? As with any good video game, there comes the meeting with the Boss Monster. This meeting can be an actual moment with a person or it can be a situation where things came to a head. It is...

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6.3 The clear path

6.3 The clear path

6.3 The Clear PathIt is time for the heroine to get to the place where she will be able to go back through the threshold. As she walks down the clear path, she is surrounded by flowers and symbols that support her feelings of joy and triumph. This spread will be our...

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6.4 Walking back through the threshold

6.4 Walking back through the threshold

6.4 Walking Back through the ThresholdOur heroine makes the conscious decision to return to the Known World. She is stronger and more complete for having traversed the trials held within the journey. We will be using the same interactive technique as for the first...

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4. Lesson 04 – The Descent

4. Lesson 04 – The Descent

When our heroine comes face to face with the monster within herself, after having walked through the road of trials, it creates a big shift within her. This lesson feels like a pause in the whole journey, but there is a lot of inner work happening here. The Descent...

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7. Conclusion

7. Conclusion

Congratulations, our heroine has made it out of the Unknown World and nas returned home, which is to say she has returned to herself. Congratulations, you have come so far! This journey is almost done. It won’t be the last journey that our heroine will undertake and...

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1.2 A simple word

1.2 A simple word

1.2 A Simple wordFor this second spread, we will choose a word that speaks to how our heroine is feeling at the start of this journey. Kind of like when we choose a word for the year, this will represent what will guide our heroine at the start of this journey. We...

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4.1 Spiritual aridity

4.1 Spiritual aridity

4.1 sPIRITUAL aRIDITYThis first spread addresses the void that appears within the heroine herself during this crisis. She feels that she has lost her way, lost the tools that were helping her and that nothing is set to replace that hole at first. Luckily for her - and...

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7.1 The return to self

7.1 The return to self

7.1 The Return to self This art spread is a celebration of the heroine’s return home, the return to feeling whole and happy. We will be using tissue paper to create a multi-layered spread. If you have some, try to use printed tissue paper that recalls some of  your...

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1.3 Coat of arms

1.3 Coat of arms

1.3 Coat of ArmsAs a way of illustrating our heroine’s values and ideals, we will make a coat of arms for her. Like the symbols we used in the title page, this is a way of reminding our heroine of what is important to her and what will help carry her through this...

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4.2 Down to the core

4.2 Down to the core

4.2 dOWN TO THE cOREThis realisation that something has to change within is one that the heroine feels down to her core. To illustrate this we will be doing a “peel and reveal” spread. This term I first heard from Orly Avineri. You may remember a similar tutorial that...

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7.2 The gift

7.2 The gift

7.2  The GiftThe gift of putting the words in my Inner Heroine journal was really special to me. This journal was started at the end of 2019 and finished in mid-2020. So you can imagine how much transformation happened in between those dates. Adding in the words,...

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1.4 The Heroine feels different

1.4 The Heroine feels different

1.4 The Heroine Feels DifferentOur heroine, regardless of the word we chose, often has an inkling that something is about to go down. We feel a certain pull before the journey starts. It’s just that we are not always aware of that little voice or that little tug...

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4.3 Shift

4.3 Shift

4.3 sHIFTBefore we delve into what shifts for our heroine, I go down a little tangent and invite you to carve your own stamps. This technique is one that you probably know already but in case you have never carved your own stamps, I wanted to show you an easy way to...

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7.3 Signing off

7.3 Signing off

7.3 Signing offAs a very final gesture, I invite you to add your name to the end of your journal. I used a photo and some little bits that represent me at the end of this particular journey to complete this very moving art journal.

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1.5 Mapping out the journey

1.5 Mapping out the journey

1.5 Mapping Out the JourneyBefore she leaves for her journey, the heroine needs a map! The one I put in my spread is a compendium of a few Heroine’s Journeys, which you can see and download below.Feel free to use the same steps as the ones I did in the following video...

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4.4 Death

4.4 Death

4.4 dEATHNo matter how deep within she goes, the heroine realises that she has to let go of many things in order to carry on. In essence, she has to die - her old self has to go - and then she can be reborn. This spread is a monument to that moment when the heroine...

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2. Lesson 02 – The Catalyst

2. Lesson 02 – The Catalyst

Now that our heroine is known to us and we have an idea of what journey we will embark on, it’s time to get started! This lesson needs a little bit of hindsight. As I mentioned before, we don’t always embark on these big altering adventures of our own accord. So we...

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4.5 Rebirth

4.5 Rebirth

4.5 rEBIRTHAfter letting go of what no longer serves, our heroine is reborn. She is reshaped into a new way of being, of seeing, of doing. This is a grand moment that deserves two spreads! In the first video, we add an interactive element to our page using a brad,...

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2.1 The Catalyst

2.1 The Catalyst

2.1 The CatalystTo mark the arrival of the catalyst, we will be using the idea of the door. The catalyst comes knocking and once our heroine opens that door, she cannot close it easily! In the video below, I walk you through the process, including how I chose some...

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5. Lesson 05 – Meeting the Goddess

5. Lesson 05 – Meeting the Goddess

Our heroine has gone through a literal life-changing transformation. She has fought monsters, she has come to some difficult realisations, she has died and has been reborn. So, basically, nothing else can surprise her right? Ah, but there is another big moment coming...

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0. Introduction

0. Introduction

Welcome, welcome! I am so glad you are here. This class has been a long time coming and I am full of all the emotions at the thought of sharing it with you. The point of this class is to document a journey. It may not be the first that your heroine undergoes. She may...

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0.1 Inspiration flip and other journeys

0.1 Inspiration flip and other journeys

0.1 Inspiration Flip & Other JourneysThe next two videos are meant to serve as inspiration. I looked through my previously completed altered book journals to see what kind of spreads I like to do and how I best use the images that are already present in the books...

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0.2 Choosing your book

0.2 Choosing your book

0.2 Choosing Your BookChoosing the book that you will alter is super important. The book must support your storytelling. The ideal book gives you lots of fodder to work with: it has images, a font or words that inspire you, that make you want to interact with it....

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0.3 Supplies

0.3 Supplies

0.3 SuppliesIn terms of supplies, you need to go for whatever supports your storytelling. Just because I am using this or that doesn’t mean that that is the supply that works for you. Always adapt my lessons to what works. The important thing is not that it looks like...

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1. Lesson 01 – Archetypes

1. Lesson 01 – Archetypes

In this first lesson in our Inner Heroine’s journey, we are setting the scene before the journey begins. We will take a look at which heroine we are, using archetypes and storytelling tropes, and we will also figure out the best way to tell our story using the...

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1.1 Title page

1.1 Title page

1.1 Title PageFor this first spread in our altered book, we will make a title page. In the video below, I show which supplies to gather and how to go about this. Have in mind which archetypes you associate your heroine with, as well as some symbols that may help to...

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The Inner Heroine

The Inner Heroine

Move past your inner critic and embark on a journey exploring your Inner Hero(ine) through art. In the Inner Heroine, Vanessa Oliver-Llyod will lead you through using the storytelling trope, the Inner Hero(ine), to tell your complicated, messy, true story. With this trope, you can go beyond your inner critic to express yourself uncensored in your art. The class includes 42 lessons with 50 videos. With techniques based in collage, you can complete an entire altered book with this class and return to these techniques again and again when you need them. Come back to yourself, look within yourself, dig deep into your creativity, and reveal your inner hero/ine because your story is worth telling.

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Bonus – The Witch’s Garden

Bonus – The Witch’s Garden

Welcome to the bonus lesson where we will stretch and blend and reimagine the symbols and techniques we have created so far. The idea for this bonus spread is to use all of the elements of the first four lessons to create an all-encompassing art journal spread. This is how I usually work: my art process is all about seeing and showing connections. The theme for these pages is the witch’s garden where all sorts of amazing things flourish. What would you like to have in your garden? What will you feed and nourish and what weeds will you take out? This is your chance to work intuitively and tie together all the totems that you have identified throughout this class.

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Lesson 1 – Pamphlet Stitch

Lesson 1 – Pamphlet Stitch

We are going to start with a simple, but versatile stitch that will enable you to quickly start creating your own beautiful, handmade art journals.

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Lesson 2 – Long Stitch

Lesson 2 – Long Stitch

The long stitch is a beautiful yet simple way to bind your signatures into a cover. You will be attaching the paper to the spine of your book. The width of the spine and its strength will determine how many signatures you can add into your book.

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Lesson 4 – French Link Stitch

Lesson 4 – French Link Stitch

This stitch is very decorative one and is at the top of our list for difficulty. Just like the Coptic stitch, it allows your journals to lie very flat. Because the open spine is so pretty to look at, I tend to bind thicker journals with this stitch.

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Embodying the Fool: How to feel the fear and take the leap anyway

Embodying the Fool: How to feel the fear and take the leap anyway

Starting can be difficult. The way ahead is obscure, we are afraid of failing or of getting lost on our journey. So how can we set off boldly, how can we be daring? We must embody the Fool. The Fool is an archetype that allows us to take a leap of faith, to go ahead even if we are fearful. When we are able to look ahead with enthusiasm and energy and when we know that whatever lies ahead is part of our journey and will support us, we are embodying the Fool archetype. This allows us to feel free as well as (perhaps paradoxically) in control of our own destiny. That is when we are happy to start. We will use water soluble media to create an inspiration wave to encourage us to start. Let’s gather this wave of positive energy and let’s be intentional in finding the mantras that carry us forward and let’s take that leap! Let’s start in this creative journey together.

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1.3 Guest: Inner Landscapes

1.3 Guest: Inner Landscapes

Vanessa Oliver-LloydInner LandscapesI am so proud to know Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd as both a fellow artist, a collaborator, and a friend. I am just as proud to introduce you to her as our first guest artist. Now, if you already know V, you will know that she is not the...

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Bonus – Synthesis

Bonus – Synthesis

I had two spreads left in my journal so I decided to finish it off by making a synthesis spread for the solar and the lunar aspects of my year. I tried to incorporate as many of the techniques that we did this year into each spread.

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December – Closure

December – Closure

This is it, friends, we made it to the last month of the year. The wheel has turned and we are back to the start…what a feeling! I think it will come as no surprise to anyone that the main festival for December is Yule / Christmas. December marks the winter solstice, a moment to celebrate the fact that the light is starting to return and the darkest days are behind us. It is a moment to come together, share a meal and gifts, say goodbye to the year past and turn to the new one starting. So take a moment to reflect on the last year, on what you uncovered in this class, about yourself, about your art and then rifle through your ephemera and see what calls to you. This is also a good moment to purge said ephemera pile before the end of the year.

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November – Gratitude

November – Gratitude

It’s incredible but here we are in November, the penultimate month of the year. The time we have spent together has been nothing short of magical for me and I am so grateful for your presence.

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October – Heritage

October – Heritage

October is my favorite month. In Canada, it is when the Fall foliage is at its best. It’s the month when I met my husband and when I gave birth to my firstborn. It is when the veil is at its thinnest and we celebrate the dead.

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September – Renewal

September – Renewal

September brings along the official shift in the seasons and the Fall equinox.This gives us a chance to examine our goals and decide what is up for renewal and what can be let go of.

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August – Harvest

August – Harvest

This month’s theme is harvest. In North America, the intense harvesting season is slightly later in the year but many crops come to fruition in August.

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July – Spirit

July – Spirit

Welcome to the second part of our height of summer arc: in July we will be exploring the theme of Spirit.

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June – Nourish

June – Nourish

With the month of June we enter into a summer arc that will carry us over the next two months. Summer is upon us (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the Earth is alive and vibrant with color and perfume.

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May – Rebirth

May – Rebirth

Welcome to the glorious month of May and the promise of summer. This month we carry on with the garden theme developed in April and appreciate the growth of our flowers.

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April – Fertility

April – Fertility

The month of April and the promise of Spring is here. This month we will celebrate our secret gardens by exploring the theme of fertility. We start with the notions of seeds and seeing what we will plant in our gardens and what weeds we will remove. The technique is a deceptively easy one: collage layers. Collage is great because it keeps our hands busy and our minds focused on the process, so join us this month as we create our fertility gardens.

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March – Balance

March – Balance

Welcome March! This month we will be exploring and defining the idea of balance. It can be a fine line to navigate in our busy lives. This is why Rituals became so important to me. Finding the time for art is a big part of my own balance. Our technique this month might push some of you out of your comfort zone but I promise that the reward is worth it: this month we are diving into intuitive painting.

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Closing Thoughts

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for allowing me to show you a little bit of my world and my artistic landscape. It has been a privilege for me to do so. I hope that you feel inspired to search for your personal symbols and to invite them into your heart and your art. I would love to see your pages, please post them in the forums and anywhere else on social media where you lurk.

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Part 3 – Elemental Magic

Part 3 – Elemental Magic

Humans are in and of this world, we interact with it; there is an exchange of energy. This is one of the first principles we learn in Anthropology and we sometimes forget this. We are the product of our environment, we are linked to it. Elemental magic encompasses those symbols, seen and unseen, that surround us.

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Part 4 – Claiming the Female

Part 4 – Claiming the Female

Women’s lives and stories have been interpreted through the masculine lens for a long time. The idea of the witch came out of men being afraid of the knowledge that certain women had. They wanted to control women and so invented this idea of witchcraft as something to be afraid of and repress. And I would like this lesson to be about not being embarrassed to tap into that shared knowledge and history. To acknowledge that we are women and that we participate in society and matter just as much as anyone else. I want women to be proud of this and to be intentional in our art and lives.

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Part 2 – Archetypes

Part 2 – Archetypes

Totems > Part 2 From Vocabulary.com: “In the psychology of Carl Jung, an archetype is an inherited pattern of thought derived from the past experience of the whole race...

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Part 1 – Spirit Animals

Part 1 – Spirit Animals

Why do you need a Spirit Animal? What is the point? Why can’t a quiz on Buzzfeed tell you the answer? A Spirit Animal embodies a trait or a quality that you have in your personality or that you would like to invite into your art journal. Take the time to meditate on this, try to focus on a part of you that you like – or something that you lack – and that you would want to symbolise through an animal. You give the meaning to that animal because it is your Spirit Animal.

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Welcome

Welcome

Totems is the course that will walk you through finding your personal symbols and translating them into your art journal pages.

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February – Love

February – Love

The theme we will be exploring, which will come as no surprise, is love. But our approach to the theme of love is – in total Rituals fashion – a very personal and different one.

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January – New

January – New

A new year, a fresh start. We are at the beginning of the wheel of the year, before us is a clean slate.

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How to Start Art Journaling

How to Start Art Journaling

What’s the secret to art journaling? Okay, here it is: it’s the starting, the making, and the keeping on making. In this free class, Fairy Artmother and Get Messy founder, Caylee Grey, archeologist and founder of Art Witch Academy, Vanessa Oliver-Llyod, and art therapist and mentor at Mindful Art Studio, Amy Maricle share their perspective on the starting and making part of art journaling. First, they share a peek inside their art journals to answer the question: what in the Frida Kahlo is art journaling? and gush over their favorite supplies. Then, they show you how art journal recipes and prompts can take the overthinking and overwhelm out of starting as they each tackle the same recipe and share their differing results. Finally, learn tips for translating inspiration into action and how to hold yourself accountable by making and connecting with art friends. If you are ready to kickstart your creative practice, then dive in with this class.

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Fifty Two Portraits

Fifty Two Portraits

Fifty Two Portraits is a photography class in self-discovery; a way to document your life right now and uncover your creative self using self-portraiture and reflection. Inspired by a year-long creative project she embarked upon when she turned 40, Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd leads you on a path of self-discovery towards better knowledge of yourself as a person and as an artist. The class includes 52 prompts, 1 for each week of the year, centered on 1 of 7 themes: you, places, family, style, work, life, and friends, plus Vanessa’s photos for reference and inspiration. With Vanessa as your guide, embark on a journey in using photography and words to reflect inward and capture who you are at this phase in your life.

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Rituals

Rituals

Rituals is about more intention, thoughtfulness, and awareness in your year and in your art. With Rituals, you can finally take action to focus on your art, be intentional about it, and ground yourself in time. Each month, Vanessa Oliver-Llyod leads you through a different art technique and/or medium that will help you meditate on the month’s themes and immerse yourself in time and place. When you enroll, you will receive immediate access to the 12 months of content. You can start at the beginning, start in the current month, or work at your own pace. With Rituals, you can create an art practice filled with depth and intention that only you can create.

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Totems

Totems

Find and integrate your personal symbols into your art journal with Totems. Instructor and archeologist Vanessa Oliver-Llyod will introduce you to four different sources of symbolism: spirit animals, archetypes, elementals, and claiming the feminine. You do not need any prior knowledge of personal symbols to take this class as Vanessa will walk you through each step of understanding, researching, seeking, identifying, and incorporating unique symbols in your work and life. She will then teach you interactive and intuitive art techniques that will allow you to incorporate each symbol into your artwork. With this class, you will go on a deeply personal journey to identify the symbols that represent your personality and life to return to again and again.

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Basic Bookbinding

Basic Bookbinding

With this class, you will fulfil all your creative needs and desires to create the perfect custom books and journals to hold all your beautiful art and precious thoughts in. Led by Vanessa Oliver-Llyod, Basic Bookbinding includes four tutorials and one bonus tutorial. With step-by-step photos and written instructions, Vanessa explains what tools you need to get started, plus options for using what you likely already have on hand. The lessons in this class are suitable for beginners and experienced art journalers who want to stop buying run-of-the-mill journals and start creating one-of-a-kind books. The books you will create with these techniques are perfect for art journaling, writing, list-making, idea-catching, collaging, cutting, pasting, and anything else you can imagine doing in a journal.

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Travel Journaling

Travel Journaling

Lauren and Vanessa are together in 3D in Korea and chat about their travel journal kits and what supplies they travel with.

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How to make plant-based inks

How to make plant-based inks

Nature Hello Messians, it's your favorite witch Vanessa here. This is a bittersweet post for me as it is my last one as a Get Messy Creative Team member. I have been involved in...

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Expressing yourself through colour

Expressing yourself through colour

Colour Welcome to the Season of Colour! Vanessa here to usher you in to this Season. As is always the case when we start a new theme, I need to find a way in. I need to figure...

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How to work with negative space

How to work with negative space

Contrast Hello dear Messians! Vanessa here, I am thrilled to welcome you to the Season of Contrasts. I am feeling very inspired by this theme. When I was thinking of how to...

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How to paint faces with gouache

How to paint faces with gouache

Art 101 [wpseo_breadcrumb]Hello friends! Vanessa here for this first post of the new Season and of the new Get Messy 2017 Creative Team. It is such an honour to be back. I am...

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