Windy Waltzing Leaf: Using Bold Letters to Create 3-Word Poems

Hi, lovely Messians! It’s Divyam here and I’m totally excited to share with you this tutorial for the Season of Ubuntu. This season feels like a great moment to include some poetry because it expresses so well the themes of humanity, community, and shared human experience.

As we are working in tiny journals, I thought it might be fun to write tiny poems! There is a form of poetry called the Anchored Terset  that is composed of three words and an optional punctuation mark. This is the smallest poem I have ever heard of and feels like the perfect size for our tiny journals.

It might seem a little challenging at first to write a poem with only three words. But think of how powerful a newspaper headline can be, grabbing our attention and encapsulating a whole story with so few words: “Dentist discovers diamond!”

Haikus, while having more than three words, can encapsulate a season or a nature scene with very few syllables. Perhaps your 3-word poem could paint such a picture of the natural world: “Squirrel snatches lunch.” There are no rules. It doesn’t even have to make sense. It could be three words you enjoy that you have thrown together: “Delicious shoe parade.” 

Windy waltzing leaf: Using bold letters to create 3-word poems

Often, when I create an art journaling spread, the writing is something that is added afterwards. For this page, I wanted the words to lead the way and be an integral part of the page. What better way to express this than with letters that take up lots of room? Making cool letterforms can be very simple especially if you base them on your own block capital and lowercase writing.

Lets get started! You can use whichever materials you prefer. Here is a list of the ones I am using in the video. 

Supplies

  • Collage paper for background
  • White gesso
  • Pritt stick
  • Permanent black drawing pens
  • Pit artist soft brush pen (optional)
  • Winsor & Newton drawing ink in various colours
  • Pencil and eraser – I used a Tombow mono eraser

Process

  • Compose your 3-word poem.
  • Optional: glue down a background paper with Pritt stick. If needed, cover with white gesso so that it’s still visible but not too distracting.
  • Lay your lettering out in pencil, making sure to leave plenty of room for all the letters! Outline the letters in pen and fill them in with black ink.
  • Draw any additional elements onto the page that illustrate your poem – in my case, I added the leaf, the tree, the house, and the gust of wind. Erase any pencil lines not covered with ink.
  • Outline the letters with colour. Use these same colours to colour in some of your drawings and to make simple marks so that all the elements work together.

For inspiration, here are a couple of 3-word poems I made using similar principles but with different lettering and different materials.

Windy waltzing leaf: Using bold letters to create 3-word poems

 

Action Steps

  • Compose a 3-word poem and let it be the central feature of your page.
  • Create lettering based on your own writing and allow the words take up lots of room!
  • If you like, you can write a series of poems that work together, each page containing three words.

I hope you have fun creating your 3-word poems. Please tag me when you post your pages. I can’t wait to see what you create!

DIVYAM

Divyam is a writer and cartoonist living in London. Her favourite part of of art journaling is that no matter what is going on, whatever mood she is in, she always feels so much better after doodling and throwing some paint around.

14 Comments

  1. Tammy Murdock

    Oh I can’t wait to do this, what a nice doable concept! I know I can write 3 word poems!! I think this might show up in all my journals from now on. Thanks for this super fun tutorial!

    • Divyam Bernstein

      Oh Tammy, I’m so thrilled you are inspired by the idea of writing and arting 3 word poems. I can’t wait to see them popping up in your journals!!! Yay!!

      • Tammy Murdock

        I’ve already finished one!

        • Divyam Bernstein

          I have seen your 3-word poem, Tammy, and it is BEAUTIFUL! xxx

  2. Gilly Welch

    Thank you Divyam, this will be perfect for my small tag book…I shall have fun working out what 3 words to use for my poem!

    • Divyam Bernstein

      Ooo Gilly, I’m so excited to see your 3-word poems appearing in your tag book! Yes! XOXO

  3. Maura Flood

    Divyam – I enjoyed this so much. I never heard of this form of poem before, but now I’m happily dreaming up Anchored Tersets!

    • Divyam Bernstein

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Maura! And I love it that you are dreaming up some anchored tersets. Isn’t it wonderful that new forms of poetry continue to be invented? I can’t wait to see your 3-word poems!!!

  4. Julia Bethmann

    Looking forward to to trying this!

    • Divyam Bernstein

      This is wonderful, Julia! I can’t wait to see!

  5. Sasha Zinevych

    This is such a calming tutorial, and your voice is so soothing! <3

  6. Christina Cloud

    I love watching your tutorials Divyam, as Sasha says, they are very soothing and they always put me in a happy mood! This looks
    Pretty easy to do and I’m hoping I can finish one fairly quickly without my usual problem of overthinking it! Thank you!

    • Divyam Bernstein

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this tutorial, Christina! And I love it that it puts you in a happy mood. This is wonderful!I hope you have fun creating a 3-word poem or two. Like you say, It’s a great thing to do that doesn’t require much thinking! xxx