Creating art journals with teens helps them make sense of their lives and relationships and encourages growth.
As youth walk through the world, they face several difficult things to navigate, including heartbreak, sexual development, friendship, drug and alcohol use, family dynamics and decisions about the future.
Being a mentor for youth, you are in a unique position to help them make sense of it. And art, with all its applications, is a great way to do so.
Do you incorporate art journaling with teens in your ministry? We’d love to know how in the comments below!
Just a Starting Point
There are countless ways to help teens process what’s going on in their lives. Art with teens is a helpful avenue of endless possibilities. We’ve put together a list of just five ideas in this blog series: art journaling, sculpture, painting, poetry, and photography.
We hope this series of blogs will inspire you. But, don’t be limited to these articles. No matter our age, we connect to our Creator as we live into our creativity. So, think up other ideas that will be helpful for your youth group.
Laying the Foundation for the Process
All of us, especially teens, develop through a process of trial and error. Art is the same way. We create through play, trying a thing and seeing what happens.
When journaling, there is no specific goal, except to listen internally. Each of your youth has a unique story and perspective. As you teach them to listen to the voice within, you facilitate their process of connection with God. So, assure them that there is no wrong or right way to journal.
When doing art with teens tell them to trust their intuition, because it is the wisdom guiding them in their process of discovery and growth. As youth learn to trust this, they uncover who God has created and is creating them to be.
How to Create Art Journals
First, gather some basic supplies for your students to use:
- Blank, unlined journals
- Tissue paper
- Colored pencils
- Glue sticks
Second, invite them to create a background out of tissue paper, watercolor or colored pencil. They may use one page or the spread of two pages. Encourage them to cover the entire page with the medium they’ve chosen or a mix of media.
Third, encourage them to think of a topic they’d like to write on like their family, a current struggle/joy, or question for God.
Fourth, give them time to create their entry that revolves around that topic. Encourage the youth to use very few or no words at all.
Fifth, discuss together as a group what was challenging about the process, what they experienced and discovered, and how they feel having done it.
Invitation to Continue
Once your time creating together is over, invite your youth to continue this process of creation. If it was particularly meaningful to them, give them opportunities to make it a regular practice.
You can send the art journals home with your students to use and invite them to bring them back periodically. Or keep them at the church to use when you do contemplative practices as a group.
Have you used art journals in your youth ministry? Don’t forget to tell us about it in the comments below!