Including song lyrics in your art journal

Music is such a powerful part of life and memory. You can hear a beat, a lyric, see an album cover and be immediately transported to another place and time. I have strong connections with music as I was named after a Beatles song and raised in a household of rock and roll. My dad is a huge Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd fan. Hearing these songs takes me back to being a child where these artists were constantly on repeat. Whenever my dad had the house to himself he would open all the windows and doors and play his records full blast. This is something me and my brother replicated as we grew older except we were listening to Reel Big Fish, Alkaline Trio and Less Than Jake. Not as cool!   

Since I started creating in art journals and sketchbooks, I have often used lyrics as an inspiration point. I find writing a struggle and that songs often describe my emotions much more eloquently than I ever could myself. I have chosen four periods from my life and associated song lyrics with them in the pages below. I would love it if you could do the same – even if it’s just one. Creating these pages gave me so much joy and nostalgia – I had the songs on repeat as I created each one and it was like falling down a rabbit hole.  

Childhood – No Doubt, Don’t Speak


Gwen Stefani and this song made me feel like I was COOL. I had a weird style as a child; I didn’t follow fashion or dress very girly. I was always into my own thing and often called weird and peculiar (it rhymes with Julia – fun.) So seeing the video for this song where Gwen is wearing a tea dress and has a bindi with her hair all plaited was a revelation. It was then that I realised I had a tribe – they just were 20 years older than me and living in L.A…

Angst – Biffy Clyro, Only One Word Comes To Mind


I first heard this song when I was 16, I was in my room getting ready for bed and it came on the radio. I remember it so clearly because I had never heard anything like it before. I was studying art at the time and I  ran downstairs, got my sketchbook and wrote out all the lyrics as quickly as I could. It’s probably the only time I’ve felt like I’ve heard something really new, and I loved it.

Uni – Peter Bjorn & John, Young Folks

gm-julia-lyrics-04 gm-julia-lyrics-05

I remember my first week of University and this song being everywhere. It was the end of summer, I was in an entirely new place with new people and I felt like I could do anything because the world was opening up for me. My friend’s flatmate (now my boyfriend!) was full on obsessed and it quickly became the soundtrack to that time in my life.

Independence – Vampire Weekend, Oxford Comma


This song I used to listen to constantly on my commute to work. I walked, took a train and then a bus so it was a long journey! I was going to my first ever graduate job and I was also still living in student accommodation with my boyfriend. It was a strange time as half my peers were still at university and the other half forging out new careers like myself.

I know I’ll be using a lot more lyrics as quotes during this season, but this collection here is really special to me.


Lauren’s song lyric a day 2016 project.


  1. Rose Sheridan

    Oh this post really resonates with me. My dad still waits for my mum to go out so he can listen to music at full blast with the windows all open. Usually it’s Led Zepplin and ZZ-top. I’m fact I think I have photos somewhere of toddler-me with big headphones on listening to it all. I shall have to dig it out. Thanks for sharing Julia

    • julia Thomas

      You have to find that picture! <3

  2. Vanessa Oliver-lloyd

    it is so true that memories are triggered by songs. I just love how you’ve approached this Julia. I think when you’re a teenager and young adult, music becomes so important in your life because everything is so augmented. That feeling you had with Biffy Clyro (I have never heard this song) I had when I heard Smells Like Teen Spirit for the first time. It stopped me in my tracks and I remember turning to the tv (I was watching Much Music – the Canadian MTV) and was riveted and was super conscious of hearing something completely new.

    • julia Thomas

      Totally, totally, totally! <3

  3. Tanyalee Kahler

    Oh yes, music certainly evokes feelings and memories. I have one album that I will never listen to in the same light – its Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. It was my favourite album at University – but was also my broken heart album – my now husband and I split up temporarily and this was what I listened to over and over as I cried my heart out. At least the story has a happy ending hey 🙂

    • julia Thomas

      Ooh, I think that story is crying out to be journalled !

  4. Emily@squiggleandswirl

    I tend to leave the same CD on in the car and play it to death, which is kind of what my parents did but with cassettes. The other day I heard something that was overplayed when i was a child and woah the memories came rushing back! Thanks for the inspiration Jules, to pop some of these lyrics onto art journal pages!

    • julia Thomas

      YEY! <3 Glad you enjoyed the post Em 🙂


Julia is a British designer and creative enthusiast. She loves to express herself through shape, colour and pattern – living by the ethos of more is more!