It’s Happening Now: Making Art Fast and Slow to Create a Page of Opposites

Hello lovely Messians! I can’t believe it’s already time for my last tutorial of our year together. I have loved every minute of being a Mess Maker. Thank you so much for all your creativity, generosity, and sheer artsy magic!

As it’s the Season of Freedom, I’m excited to share with you these techniques for freeing up your art by working at different speeds. First we will work as fast as we possibly can, going wild on the page without stopping to think about what we are doing. Next, we will move to the opposite extreme and work incredibly slow, slower than we might have imagined possible. Lastly, we will bring these two extremes together to create a page of opposites, inspired by the principles of yin and yang.

I love how in the traditional yin yang symbol there is a dot of black in the white and a dot of white in the black, signifying that at the heart of one principle, the opposite is present. I am hoping that both these methods of working, even though they seem so different, will have a similar effect of taking you out of your thinking mind and into the present moment, the space where “it’s happening now.”

 It’s happening now: Making art fast and slow to create a page of opposites 


Art materials of your choice!

In the video I am using:

  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Ink stamps
  • Washi tape
  • Collage papers
  • Pritt stick
  • Acrylic paint
  • Acrylic ink
  • White gel pen
  • Pen or pencil for the slow art – I used the Pentel brush pen
  • Mixed media paper

Note: Work with a paper size bigger than your finished art journal pages. This is so that you have plenty of room to go wild in the fast art and to explore in the slow art. It also ensures that you have plenty of extra collage material for the final spread. As my finished ring binder pages are A4 size, I used A2 for the fast and A3 for the slow. 

Moving Fast

  1. Start with a large sheet of mixed media paper and gather as many materials around you as you would like.
  2. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes so you don’t have to think about time. I you like, you can put on some fast music to help you get into the vibe.
  3. Moving really fast, without stopping to think about what you are doing, cover the whole page with marks, scribbles, splodges, bits of paper, and washi tape. Make big movements as well as small. Let yourself dance around the page. Take up room, Go wild. And, most importantly, have fun!
  4. After a while, you might find yourself slowing down and reverting to your usual speed of making art. If this happens, pick up the pace!
  5. Tip: As we are moving fast, there won’t be time for things to dry before adding new layers. You might want to start with materials that are dry and / or non-water soluble, adding wet media closer to the end of the process.
  6. When the timer goes off, stop. Take a moment to jot down a few words and phrases describing how you found the experience of making art so fast.

Moving Slow

  1. Clear your space and place down a fresh piece of paper.
  2. Choose a single pen or pencil, preferably something that doesn’t require dipping into paint or ink in order to work.
  3. There’s no need for a timer but you might want to listen to some slow music to help you slow down. My favourite track for making slow art is Don Li’s ‘17minutes of 7hours’. 
  4. Start in the centre of the page and place all your attention in the tip of your writing instrument. Begin to move very slowly in whichever direction feels right to you. Keep following where your pen wants to take you. A direction that felt right a moment ago might suddenly change. Become sensitive to these changes and keep following.
  5. If you find yourself speeding up, take a breath and slow right down again. Continue in this way until the journey feels complete.
  6. Take a few moments to jot down some words or phrases about how this slow experience was for you.

It’s happening now: Making art fast and slow to create a page of opposites

Bringing Opposites Together

  1. Cut both papers down to the size of your art journal pages.
  2. With the excess material, choose sections of the fast art to place within the slow page and vice versa. This might be a traditional dot as found in the yin yang symbol, or it might be another shape or series of shapes. The idea is for each side to retain it’s unique quality whilst also including its opposite within it.
  3. When you are happy with the placement of these extra shapes, glue them down.
  4. Look once again at the notes you made of your experience. Are there any words or phrases you would like to include in the finished spread? Add them to the spread, perhaps allowing the lettering to echo the atmosphere of each page.

It’s happening now: Making art fast and slow to create a page of opposites

Action Steps 

  1. Make art as fast as you possibly can.
  2. Make art slower than you thought was possible.
  3. Bring these two opposites together and see what connections you can make between them.

For more amazing ways to work with opposites in your art, check out the inspiring tutorials in the Season of Contrast.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey of opposites. I hope you have fun making art at different speeds. I can’t wait to see what you create! 


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.


  1. Suzanne Earley

    This looks like so much fun, thanks for sharing!!

    • Divyam Bernstein

      Yay! Thanks, Suzanne! I hope you have some fun with it! I can’t wait to see what comes out of the process! xxx

  2. Julia Bethmann

    What a great idea, and your video is excellent!

    • Divyam Bernstein

      Thanks so much, Julia! I’m glad you enjoyed the video. I hope you have fun playing around and going wild! Xxx

  3. Teresa Iscar Olivera

    Excellent!! I Will try for sure. Thanks for the inspiration

    • Divyam Bernstein

      Thanks, Teresa! I hope you have fun with it! XOXO