Visual Verbal Journal

Lesson Plan, Grades 5-11, Art, Language Arts, Mixed Media


Lesson Plan and Artwork by Mary Reilly 

Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks are historic examples of a form of journaling we now call Visual Verbal Journaling. These notebooks are an insight into the soul and mind of the artist. Composed of drawings and writings they show us why he is called the “Renaissance Man.” Students will be able to use both artistic and written skills in a journal that they will create.


  • Create a Visual Verbal Journal as a place to record both visual and written art. 
  • Experiment with different types of mediums.
  • Apply elements and principles of design to journals. 
  • Experiment with different writing styles. 
  • Develop an ongoing journaling technique.

Supplies Needed

Mixed Media Journal - 5.5 x 8.5
Vision Mixed Media Journal - 7 x 10
Tissue mixed assorted pkg., pack of 50
Luster Tissue, pack of 14
Glue Stick
Solid Tempera Sticks, 12 pk
Sax Tempera Varnish Gloss, Quart
All types of markers, pencils, pens, papers, watercolors, etc.
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


Standard #1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Standard #3: Define and complete artistic work.
Standard #6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
Standard #8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
Standard #10: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.



Explore with students the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci and other artists to help them see the depth of information that can be included in a journal.


Bring in examples of journals to share with students. Point out different techniques and mediums used.


Review the elements and principles of design with students.


Use a journal with a customizable cover. Have students collect personal items that are both written and visual. These personal items along with their visual interpretation can be used to create a cover unique to the student.


Discuss with students' different topics that can be featured in a journal. Topics are really limitless. This can pose a problem for some students so start with assignments i.e. a poem, quote, song, photo, artists or place.


Discuss different types of mediums – both wet and dry – and techniques that can be used in their journals.


Set up a station in your classroom with different mediums students can experiment with.


Talk with students about the importance of working on their journals on a regular basis. These journals will become a source of ideas for years to come.