Free Lesson – Choose Your Companion

The 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 and make sense of what we went through (or are still going through).

Before any great journey, one has to choose one’s companion. Think of characters who have gone on great quests: Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, Lyra in His Dark Materials, Luke or Rey from Star Wars; they all choose companions to travel with them. This is what we will explore in this free lesson for the Inner Heroine.

Now your companion doesn’t have to be a real person – actually it doesn’t have to be a person at all. Your companion can be a personality trait that you would like to work on or invoke for this journey. It can be an animal, real or mythical, who represents something for you. It can be an ancestor whose wisdom you would like to partake of. Or it can be a friend or family member whose presence gives you courage.

Our heroine embarks on a quest for self-discovery and she needs support! The thing is, companions are not infallible – they are flawed just like the heroine is. We will be addressing this double edged sword in our spread. For my heroine, I used the jackalope / hare as my companion.

The hare has been a power animal for me for a long time. He represents my runaway thoughts… The hare is quick to react, sometimes he panics and sets my thoughts on fire. But he is also a mystical, liminal being, associated with the moon, with phases and is my Chinese zodiac animal. Therefore, my inner heroine is happy to have him join her on this quest, even as she knows when not to listen to him.

I show the supplies in use at the start of the video but here is a quick list.

Supplies used:

  • Altered book
  • Magazine images that represent your heroine
  • Images of your chosen companion
  • Various ephemera (paper cuts, vellum, transparencies)
  • Fluid acrylic
  • Gel pens
  • Matte medium
  • Clear gesso
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Stapler

Once you have gathered your supplies, you can see my process here:

As you just saw in the video, I am using an altered book for this class. I looked through the book and deliberately chose this double page spread for this lesson because there was an image of a horse on it. If you are using an altered book, do take the time to look through it and find an image or some text that inspires you to add your companion to that spread. I used two double spreads because I wanted the cut out window to open onto the bottom spread.

The most important part of this free lesson is to have fun playing with symbolism. It is also an exercise in critical judgement and being able to see both sides of the influence that the companion can have on our heroine.

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.

  • Think of a companion that can support your heroine on her journey
  • Remember that this companion is not one dimensional
  • Create two double spreads that document your chosen companion
  • If you’d like to continue the journey, enroll in The Inner Heroine