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Find and integrate your personal symbols into your art journal

In this course you will be introduced to four different sources of symbolism: spirit animals, archetypes, elemental and female symbols. For each totem, Vanessa will guide you through how to find your personal symbols and will teach interactive and intuitive art techniques that will allow you to incorporate each symbol, in a deeper way, into your artwork.

This course is a personal journey to identify elements in your personality and life. Once you have identified your symbol, you will learn ways to represent them in your art to best express yourself in ways other than words or photographs of yourself.

You do not need any prior knowledge of personal symbols to take this course as Vanessa will walk you through each step of understanding, researching, seeking, identifying and incorporating unique symbols in your work and life.

Lesson Plan

What’s Included


6 detailed lessons teaching you how to access your emotions through art journaling.


17 videos with over 10 hours of Vanessa teaching, sharing examples from her own art journals and art technique videos


100s of resources and recommendations for finding your own symbols


Practical tasks and prompts to get you actively creating.


Beautifully designed, downloadable workbook that includes all written content and photos of art journal pages and tutorials


Community support and interaction in the private Facebook group and direct access to Vanessa for help, support and encouragement

Student Art

Here’s just some of the wonderful art that students have produced in this class.

Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd


Vanessa is an avid art journaler. Her journey into this medium started in 2012 and she has loved every second of her artistic evolution. Totems is the fruit of her forays into symbolism and it’s importance in one’s own work. She loves to share what she learns and she hopes this class will lead you to explore new techniques.


Get Messy and Art Feeds

We believe art heals. With every purchase you make through Get Messy, we give 10% to Art Feeds. Art Feeds provides free therapeutic art and creative education programs within schools and children’s organisations. 


What format do I receive the class in?
Upon purchase, you will be redirected to create a login for the private site. You can choose your own username and password. If you already have a login for this site, please use that so all of your content is accessible to you under one username.

The class will be available through this private site, along with a workbook in PDF format for you to download and print.

Do I have to start on a specific date?
No, this is a self-paced class. You start when you are ready and work according to your own rhythm.
What do I need for this class?
A journal, your current preferred supplies and an open heart! A detailed list of supplies is shared inside the course, but you likely have what you need on hand and we never recommend spending a lot of money on supplies without knowing how and if you will use them.
Can I share my work and what I learn in the class?

Yes! Please share your work and your responses to the class on your social media sites of choice! We love instagram, so share your pages using the course hashtag #totemsclass and you may see your work shared on the Get Messy account. However, please do not share text or photos directly from the course.

Class access does not expire and is not linked to your Get Messy membership.
Can I contact the teacher if I have questions?

Of course! Vanessa will be participating in and monitoring the Facebook group. Post questions to her there.

Do you offer refunds?
Due to the digital nature of our content, we do not offer refunds.