This visual journal page was inspired by a series of illustrations in a Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) catalog. I love the playful quality of the images, the clean lines, and the way the black of the owl contrastes with the pink flamingo. I’m not sure what story the owl and flamingo were telling, but as I cut them out, and laid them in my journal, the phrase “face your fears” popped into my head.
The expression of the owl changes so much as he moves from position to position. You wouldn’t think two round-eyed circles could say so much, but this student illustrator did an amazing job bringing emotion across. I love how the eyes turn to pink as the owl finally sits on the flamingo’s back and introduces himself. As my cut outs lay unglued to my page I couldn’t help but create my own story, the story of the owl so curious about the flamingo, but too afraid to approach her, until he finally musters up the courage.
Face your fears, it’s a phrase that has been repeated time and time again. Traditionally facing your fears is supposed to result in a sense of peace, happiness, and success. The basic idea is that once you face your fears you will realize how trivial they were to begin with. But what about those who didn’t come out the other end. The ones that realized their fears were a reality, with a dismal outcome.
What about those knights in shining armor who went to fight for their loves, but ended up dead in a ditch. What about those risk takers who vowed to go down in history as the achiever of this, discoverer of that, never to be heard from again? What about the person who tried something new only to fail; or the girl who was shot down by the guy she always wanted to talk to; or the person who went after their dreams and never found success?
It’s thoughts like these that catch my mind as I consider facing my fears. It’s thoughts like these that creep into each of us, planting the seeds of doubts, and preventing the majority of us from truly facing our fears. The what ifs and how tos transform from simple black and white words on a page, fleeting thoughts in our mind, into giant, unanswerable questions, whose shadows we can never seem to escape.
I believe everyone knows the answer to their “big questions” their “what ifs”. I think deep down inside we all know what will really happen if we face our fears. The answer is the sensation in our guts, the flutter of our bellies, it’s our bodies attempt to reveal the true answer. Perhaps our brains become so inundated what the possible end results and scary outcomes that the real answers have to move down south, to space in the center of our bodies, a simple flutter in our middles that says this is what you really want, this is the right answer.
I think we should all learn to trust our gut, like our little owl friend in my visual journal page. I think we all need to risk the nose dive to find out the end result, to discover whether or not our gut was right. The outcome won’t always be what we expect, hope for, or want, but at least you tried, at least you now know, at the very least you can say you mustered enough courage to face your fears.
- Visual journal
- Rubber cement
- India ink
- Paint brush
- Beige Paper
- SCAD Catalog images
To create this visual journal page I started by cutting out the owl and flamingo characters from a SCAD catalog. Once I had the pieces of my image I began to lay them out on the page. After I had a rough idea of where I wanted them, I decided it needed more. I needed to add a ground for the flamingo to stand on, and a branch for the first owl to sit on. To create these pieces of the puzzle I used a beige sheet of paper and loosely painted a branch shape using a thin paint brush dipped in India ink. I like the thick/thin quality it has, and it moves very easily. Once I had my branch complete I painted overlapping strokes along the bottom of the beige paper for grass. I made sure I left space between the very bottom of the page and the bottom of the grass because I wanted to cut it out.
Once everything dried I began cutting out the branch and grass. I then glued the characters down, and overlapped them with the India ink pieces. To connect the owl images together I took a sharpie and created a dashed line between the owl gut outs, to create a sense of movement, and show the progression of the owl moving across the page. To incorporate the words into the page I incorporated it into the dashed line.
Create a visual journal page about a fear you faced or a fear you know you need to face.
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