Finding Words

Hello lovely Messians, Judith here with your weekly dose of Friday Inspiration! For my first ever post here (woohoo!) I want to talk a little bit about finding the words to journal. To me, the words tend to be the easier part of art journaling – the art part is where I need more help getting inspired! However, I know that for a lot of people it’s exactly the other way around, so I am here today to share some ways I find words. In general, I think there are two ways to go about words in art journaling. One is when you already know what you want to say with your page. In that case, what you want to say is the basis for creating your page, and the words will come out of that intention. The other way around is letting the words find you, and then creating meaning out of them.


I use quotes mostly when I already know what I want to say, but have trouble finding the words that will express it. For example, if I want to express what books mean to me, I might just type “quotes about books” into Google and find something that speaks to me.


Side note: I tend not to use quotes that are used a lot. They have become so universal that they can mean everything and nothing. I try to find quotes that either mean something specifically to me (for example, from a book, film or TV show that I love) or that I have never heard before and can instill with my own meaning.


Everyone has different preferences here. If you’re opposed to using someone else’s words in your journal, use the quotes as a starting point to get you closer to what you want to say.

Song lyrics

I guess technically, song lyrics are quotes, too, but I use them very differently. Quotes are something I actively look for – song lyrics usually pop into my head and demand I pay attention to them. I listen to music while crafting, running, doing chores… and often, at the end of the day, I am left with that one line that will not leave me alone. I’ll write it down anywhere – even directly on my crafting table.


Then I muse on it for a few days or even weeks, until an idea about the kind of page I want to create for this line emerges. There is no rush using the words immediately ­– once they are written down, you can ruminate on them for as long as you want! You could even create a file with snippets of text like this, and come back to you when you feel uninspired!


(In this case I sat on the lyric for quite a while because I don’t have anything glittery – I’m just not a glitter person. Eventually I realized it sounded like falling into a whole different universe, so I got inspired to paint my very first galaxy. I’m really happy with it!)

Old letters, postcards, journal entries

Like books, it can be hard to bring yourself to use these in your art journaling. I have some letters from my late grandmother that I don’t think I could ever turn into art – but not every letter and postcard has that much meaning! Here is a page I created based on a postcard from a friend I had not spoken to in a long time. The final page is not about her at all, but it became possible because of her words.


This is an older page I created by ripping up an old journal entry. In this case, I decided against letting the words take center stage and just took out the one sentence that summarized it best. Especially when you’re going through old journals, ripping bits up and making them into art can be so much more therapeutic than simple re-reading them over and over!


Single Words

Quite a while ago, Nina from Papernerd made cutouts with bold, beautiful words on them. I loved them immediately and still use them in my pages, especially when I am completely lost for words. If I feel uninspired, I may also pick a word at random (or the one I like best in that moment) and start journaling just based on that word. I never know what will happen, but some of my favorite pages have happened that way. You can use one-word prompts like these in the same way. Below are just two examples of pages I made starting from the exact same phrase (“HERE NOW”) I found in Nina’s cutouts.

words_img07 words_img08

I hope to have sparked some inspiration for you! And if you don’t know where to start, why not put on the current Get Messy playlist and hear what lyrics jump out at you? I am looking forward so much to seeing what you create!


  1. Vanessa Oliver-lloyd

    these are all very inspired ideas! Thank you

    • Judith Heptner

      I’m so glad you like them!

  2. Tanyalee Kahler

    Thank you so much for sharing these tips Judith!

    • Judith Heptner

      You are very welcome 🙂

  3. julia Thomas

    This was crazy useful and inspiring for me! Words are for sure my hardest part of art journalling, I especially like what you were saying about single words and song lyrics 🙂 <3

    • Judith Heptner

      Thank you! Happy to help 🙂