Daily Paper Prompt #16: Dictionary Love

Our guest artist for the Daily Paper Prompts is Gretchen Miller, who shares her inspirational words and art at her blog Creativity in Motion. Gretchen is also doing a 365 project this year; you can track the progress on her blog.


A favorite paper item I find lots of inspiration from is using dictionary pages! I find it’s a great way to include words in my art journaling and collage work. I especially enjoy looking up and seeking words surrounding an intention I have for the day or connected to an image I am working on and incorporating the dictionary text into the overall composition of the piece. Words and definitions found on random pages can also inspire image making too if you want to have fun with this!

I often use words from dictionaries in my current 365 revo’lution project, which focuses on creating small daily art around my intentions for this year. Dictionary bits & pieces from definitions are sometimes added to showcase an affirmation, reminder, or message. Bigger sections of pages can also make a great background! Sometimes I like to highlight words with special meaning on the page through blocking or underlining them with pen or pencil.

I also enjoy bringing color to dictionary pages through adding watercolor washes, either from a cake palette or concentrated liquid watercolor that I apply with a brush:

For this DPP, I used the text of a dictionary page on a 4 x 6 size index card as the background, did a watercolor wash overtop, as well as used some distressed ink, paint, and stain around the card’s edges (and a little bit over the watercolor). You can also cut out shapes printed with the words (I love paper hearts!) or add the tiny images that some dictionaries have to illustrate the definitions.

If you don’t want to damage the original pages from a dictionary, no worries--! You can also just copy dictionary pages to use in your art making! 

Bio: Gretchen Miller is a Registered Board Certified Art Therapist and who practices in Cleveland, Ohio specializing in youth, women, and families impacted by trauma, domestic violence, and grief & loss. In her own art and creative process, Gretchen enjoys finding inspiration, creating positive energy, and discovering transformation by working in mixed media, collage, altered art, art journaling, as well as organizing art exchanges and creative collaborations. You can learn more about her work, art, and interests on her blog Creativity in Motion.

What's the Daily Paper Prompt?