[00:00:00] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Well, hello. Hello, everyone out there in Podcast Land. Thank you so much for tuning in to this week's episode. I am Kellee Wynne, your host of the Made Remarkable Podcast, where we talk to remarkable people doing remarkable things and build remarkable businesses. And today I am bringing you an interview with somebody long overdue, which is one of my very first coaching clients, Kristina Nosal.
Last year, she was part of my mastermind and I helped coach her to bring her idea to fruition. Now, she still has a few more steps to go, as you'll hear in this podcast episode, but what's really important is her mission, her motivation, and why she shows up to do what she does. You see, Kristina is a high school teacher and most of you out there listening.
Either no teachers or you know, high school students or you know, somebody who knows a teacher or a high school student. So this is pretty relevant to a lot of us. And what's beautiful is she's shifted the way her art teaching. in her school is done by bringing and introducing art journaling to the students, and it's pretty revolutionary because they get to loosen up and be free.
They get to delve into their emotions and put it all on paper and have fun learning all these. Amazing mixed media techniques that you and I are all obsessed about, and yet here they are being introduced to it in high school instead of just the same old shading projects. They get to learn how to build all those lush layers.
And Kristina Nosal is the one who started that in her school, and she is on a mission to bring it to more schools across the nation, which I think is brilliant, which is one of the reasons why I loved. Working with her. Well, Kristina's also my guest in Deck of Dreams 365 this month, which you can sign up for at any time.
It's an entire year of lessons of mixed media techniques and making amazing little cards and making a good journal and. I decided that I wanted to bring in a guest artist and Kristina Nosal is my very first, and it shows off her really fun, playful spirit. You can join Deck of Dreams anytime by just going to colorcrushcreative.com/365, but I think more importantly is I want you to just hear how.
Really leaning into your expertise, your niche, and doing what you're called to do in this world can make a difference. And I know that as Kristina releases her first program, for teachers to be able to implement art journaling into the school is gonna start revolutionizing everything. And I want you to know that.
Your unique gifts are the reason why you're needed in this world, what you do, how you show up, who you serve, you're making a difference, and maybe your gift is to just show up and teach all of us your talent, your skills, your insight into making art. Or maybe if you dig a little deeper, you might find that there's something even more magical, a message that you have to share, and a way that you're gonna be able to touch the hearts and minds of people with your creative talents, the thing that you love to do.
Are passionate about inspiring that passion in others can really change the trajectory of their life. And I know this because I've seen it in the courses that I've taught and the way that I've been able to work with other artists and budding artists that have not ever really made art before and have a chance to be exposed to it.
The opportunity now to show up online and teach is really. Amazing. It's just a complete shift from where we were a decade ago where learning art meant being in person most of the time, mean going to school, going to workshops, finding something local that can teach you the skills that you want to know.
And now we have this wealth of knowledge online and it's just growing. It's, it's only beginning. Artists are coming online all the time to teach their knowledge and all the different points of view that they have fun projects and, and how-tos and color theory and masterful paintings, it doesn't really matter.
Whatever it is you're looking for, it's out there. And so if you've ever had that, Spark in you that says, I love teaching, I love sharing what I do. People are asking me all the time, think about the niche that you're in. Think about who you serve and how you serve them, and how you can help make a difference, whether it's to the senior center or it's to the schools, or it's to your church community or.
The women that are in your life, that you just bond together and know that what you offer makes a difference and there's a room for you as well. Because the industry's only growing, the secret is to find your little. Corner of the world and show up completely, fully, 100% as all of you. And that's what I see Kristina doing, and that's why it's really fun to be able to talk to her and see her light up about how she helps the students in her classroom really change the way they see the world and see themselves and see their creative ability.
So I'm not gonna waste another minute here. I want you to hear what Kristina has to say. Please share this podcast. Please go and give Kristina a high five on Instagram @kristinanosalstudios so she knows you heard the podcast and you appreciate it. And if you know any teachers or any students who have teachers, you know what I mean, send them over to the link in this show notes that will show you how to get to Kristina's free course.
Which is Jumpstarting Art journaling in the classroom, because I think this is something that every classroom deserves. Okay, now without further ado, here is Kristina Nosal.
Yay. I'm so glad that you're on the podcast with me. Finally, Kristina.
[00:06:22] Kristina Nosal: Hi Kellee. Thanks for having me today.
[00:06:24] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yes, and also a huge thanks to you for being part of my Deck of Dreams Project. This is a little fun. Art program that I just created for the year, and like I love that I can just pass over parts of it to other people to let them shine and really spotlight them.
But we go back before just making art. We got to work together with my very first Mastermind last year. So I just wanna dive in and let everyone get to know who you are. Sure. All right. So start with. The full-time job.
[00:07:02] Kristina Nosal: I am a full-time high school art teacher. Yes. That is my day job. I try to make art on the side, I focus on art journaling.
That's my huge focus for teaching.
[00:07:17] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Right. And you've been a teacher now in Virginia for a while. 14 years. Yeah. I was finishing my 14th year. Awesome. Yeah. I know part of your challenges working full-time and being a teacher is a really exhausting job in this modern day anyway.
So getting to the point where you can actually build the second part of your business. Just taking a little bit of time, but I loved working with you all of last year as you were building out this. Remarkable idea really, honestly. And I just kind of wanna talk about that a little bit because you got into, well you're an art teacher and you're an artist, but you got into art journaling with your students and that's where it sparked this idea that you were going to start trying to bring it to schools across the nation.
So I really wanna like dive into what you discovered doing art journaling with your students.
[00:08:11] Kristina Nosal: Sure. Yeah. So it started off as a homework assignment. And we would build these books. I'll be honest, I took this, it started off when I took a bookmaking class in college my last semester, and I fell in love with making books.
And then I thought, well, maybe I could bring this into the classroom. So I had an upper level class and I wanted to give 'em some homework to do. So we started with art journaling. We made the books. It was, and the kids really liked it and they were doing some really awesome work, which was then helping their artwork that we were doing in class as well, their studio work.
So it's been great. So my students were having so much fun with it as a homework assignment that they said, Hey, can we do this all year long as a class? And I said, I don't know. Can we? Let's see. So we made it happen the following school year, and there was a group of, small, group of like six kids and then.
Words started spreading. They were taking their journals, showing everybody, and so it turned into this year I have two full classes of art journaling and I have Wow. Actually, for the first time, I have two students who submitted an AP portfolio with their art journals.
[00:09:16] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Wow. So they even took it all the way to AP art and went all the way further.
Oh, well see. So what I love is that your school allowed for this space of creativity to evolve. So that's pretty fantastic.
[00:09:33] Kristina Nosal: It is. I, we are very supported and I appreciate it. And, you know, being at high school, being a public school, I should say, there's a focus on literacy. So when I said I was adding creative writing into it, it was like they were just like, boom.
[00:09:48] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. How about that? Yeah. So yeah, let's talk about that a little bit more. Like how it's more than just making art, how you really are able to nurture the students with the art journaling.
[00:10:02] Kristina Nosal: Okay, so we start, they start off a little slow cuz they're not used to having to incorporate the writing aspect in.
Yeah. And I do push it and I send them back and I'm like, this doesn't have any writing come back when it's has writing. So we start off kind of slow. We do like a song page and they pick their favorite song and then the, the lyrics are the words on the page. So it gets them comfortable in the beginning with adding the writing.
And then we talk a lot about how. Like I don't touch their art journals, I don't read their art journals. I want them to feel like it's a safe place for them to really express themselves. It should be a journal. Mm-hmm. So, I mean, obviously I'm a mandated reporter, so if I do see something that comes up that is concerning to me, I do have to report it.
But they understand that and they know that
[00:10:48] Kellee Wynne Conrad: but everything else, they can pour out their heart into the art journal. Mm-hmm. And you give them prompts to do it too, don't you?
[00:10:55] Kristina Nosal: Yes, yes. So as long as I see the writing in there we're good. And then they do get prompts. Some of 'em, if they get stuck and they're just not feeling it, I'm like, why don't you do a brain dump where you just, anything that's going on in your head right now, you just dump it out on the page and I don't read 'em anyways.
Right. So I give the prompts because, Cause a lot of students need the prompts, but there are some students that don't need the prompts that can just free-write. Yeah. So I, I give 'em that option. I say, you know, you're not stuck with this. If you feel like there's something else that you really wanna talk about, then talk about that.
That works as well.
[00:11:33] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I love it. And, and then they know they can cover it up most of the time too, right?
[00:11:39] Kristina Nosal: Yeah. So I do allow them, as long as they show me that it's there. They might bring up their book and say, here look, if here's my writing, but I'm painting over the topic. Cause I didn't want anyone to read it.
And I'm like, okay, we're good.
[00:11:51] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Check it works for me. The book, the writing was done? Yes.
[00:11:56] Kristina Nosal: The other option I give 'em is they can do the writing and tuck it into an envelope and glue down and the envelope's closed. So as long as they show me before they close the envelope that it's there.
[00:12:04] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. It's just a matter of knowing that they're. Getting all those words out of their head and onto paper. It's really a therapeutic thing, and I'm wondering if you knew that it was gonna evolve into a thing that you see the kids flourishing and maybe dealing with their emotions better because of the art journaling.
[00:12:26] Kristina Nosal: I did not foresee this. I just went in as something really fun that we could do, and then I started noticing how therapeutic it was for 'em. And it's, it's such a huge social emotional piece that, you know, we're offering here. And it, the kids right now, they need that. They need, I mean, it's therapeutic.
They need that right now. And the kids love it. They really enjoy the class. It's not centered around me talking and talking and teaching. I give 'em different techniques that they can incorporate into their page. So they're getting some new art techniques. I give 'em the prompts and then I just walk around and just have conversations and it's just kids talking and they walk around and they're like,
I love what you did on this page. How did you do that? So they're learning from each other too. And it's a really fun class. Fun environment.
[00:13:14] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I love it because, I mean, I took AP Art of course, cuz that's what I love to do. But it's like the shading and the draping and the. You know the parts of the body and like all these like rules and boring things you have to go through, which I'm sure you still have to teach cuz you teach AP art.
But it's so different like the idea. And we know as adults and all, you know, all the listeners who've even come anywhere near art journaling or mixed media know that there's a real free for all. There's a real looseness and playfulness about it and you're exposing the teenagers to that at a very. Early age, you know, in their teen years.
So they don't have to wait to like the rest of us who finally rediscover it.
[00:13:57] Kristina Nosal: Yeah. And it's really cool too, because a lot of kids will shy away that I'm not taking an art class. I'm not good at art. I can't draw. And I always say, this is the perfect class for you then. Right? Just put colors down on a paper and we'll play.
Like that's what we're doing. We're just playing. And it's, it's so much fun. And those, the kids who have never taken an art class, and I have a ton of seniors that are like, They were scared, but they wanted to take a really fun class for their senior year, and they're in art journaling and they fell in love.
They're all making extra books right now so they can take 'em home for the summer so that they can journal all summer. I was like, this is great, and they're taking journals to college. I'm like, all right, make as many as you want.
[00:14:31] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Wow. Like you're turning 'em all into like, this is now their newfound favorite hobby even.
Yeah. They love it. So do you get a lot of non, specifically, I put in quotes for those who are not watching and listening, non-artist or like you said, people who think, oh, I can't draw a straight line. And, and now we know that that's a myth about being creative cuz it has nothing to do with your straight line drawing of ability.
But do you get a lot of kids that say, you know what, I'm just gonna take this class cuz it's a release for me.
[00:15:03] Kristina Nosal: Yes, a ton. I would say 75% of the class is kids that have never taken an art class and that just wanna take art because they've seen their friends art journals and they're like, I can do this.
[00:15:15] Kellee Wynne Conrad: well, obviously it's growing because now you're at two classes a year, so it's becoming a very popular class. But I love that it's giving them, I just love it. Like I get chills thinking about the fact that they're really be being able to be exposed to. This more a freer way of playing. And I know that when we've done, you know, we've worked out like how you wanna build a program so that you can get more schools to do this.
Like, so everyone who's listening and you want your school to do this, your kid's school or you're a teacher, or, I'm putting Kristina on the spot right now. She's got an entry level. Like how to get started with art journaling in the in the classroom, and you can sign up for that for free. We're gonna put the link in there.
But like the goal is to get like the more comprehensive program done so that teachers can start presenting this to their school district and say, I'd like to implement this and have a curriculum already built out by the one and only Kristina Nosal. But what I love is, is as we talked about, it's all the things to know. It's not like you need to know all the art steps Exactly. As a teacher, it's like how you guide the students, how you encourage the students, how you even grade something like that. Cuz you're not doing it based off of technique. Right?
[00:16:35] Kristina Nosal: No, honestly, it is really hard. I did, I do struggle with that sometimes, but because of the way the class is laid out and because I have so much one-on-one time with the students that.
Honestly, I, I watch how much effort that these kids are putting into this page. Yeah. And the other thing is I make sure that I don't wanna see your background. Like I don't wanna know what color page you were working on, if it was black or brown or white, whatever. I don't wanna know. And it's, do you have the writing?
Do you have enough writing? And I'll always say, do you want your full grade? Cause if you do go back and add more writing, come back and see me. Right. And then so you check
[00:17:10] Kellee Wynne Conrad: off, they did the writing. It doesn't matter what the writing was, but they did the writing. Yep. They filled up the page. Yep. What's important, they did so many pages in the journal.
They participated, they collaborated, they, they communicated. It seems like it's an easy grade. Yeah. Like Yeah. Say that. Do the work, right?
[00:17:33] Kristina Nosal: Yeah. And we talk a lot about like building up layers, so that's what the whole fir first quarter is about. How do we make backgrounds. How do we add different layers in to create dimension And we just keep going up.
And the techniques I teach each quarter are a little bit different. Right now they're doing a window, so they have to cut a hole in one of the pages so you can see through to the other page. Oh, struggling a little bit. Cause I was like, it's kind of two pages, cuz now you have to incorporate what's on the other page into this.
So they get more difficult and challenging as we go.
[00:18:04] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Well that's probably a lot of fun for them because I mean, Now you, you've taught other teachers before taught get it already. You've taught 'em in person. So you do in-person workshops. Yes. How many of them have actually been able to go back and implement it into their schools?
[00:18:22] Kristina Nosal: So I got a lot of emails after I taught the class. I taught it last winter, Uhhuh, spring, I don't know, it's sometime in the mid spring it went. The teachers, first of all, we had so much fun and they were all like, wow, I can do this cuz I showed 'em, you know, two different ways to make a book. And then depending on what grade level and what time and what class they were teaching, I think most of 'em went with the simpler book that they started incorporated.
On Fridays, we do art journaling on Fridays or you know, the first 15, 20 minutes of class we're in our art journals and they do, they, I have gotten a lot of emails that the teachers are loving it,
[00:18:57] Kellee Wynne Conrad: so it's starting to happen. That's what, that was the whole thing, like when I started working with you, I'm like, Oh my goodness.
This could be completely transformative if schools well across the world. But let's just focus on the schools we know here in America started giving this as an option for students because I mean, we all know teenage years are not easy. No years are easy. Let's be honest. No, years are easy, but teenage years are a struggle.
So when you have that outlet, I mean, I think that there's a real chance that, you know, some of the biggest struggles that teens. Go through, they can feel nurtured through this process. So that's what excited me to work with you. I was like, we gotta get this in more schools. Yeah. And I know it's just a matter of time for you because you have a family, you have a full-time job, you have your own health issues to overcome and make sure that there's enough space and capacity to create it.
But I'm still like your big cheerleader in the corner. Like, we really gotta see how to make this come alive so that. You know, you can bring it to the schools across the nation. Yeah.
[00:20:00] Kristina Nosal: I really think that working with you last year in the Mastermind, it really did get me going for sure. Like, I don't even know if I'd be at the place where I would've even created a free class at this point, had we have not, you know, worked together.
It was, it was a really, right.
[00:20:13] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Well, you were able to grow your list and you've like, Quadrupled your Instagram account. So a lot of the things that you did laid the foundation. Mm-hmm. Right. And getting, solidifying the ideas and just knowing where to go next. So yeah. Yeah. I love it. I love that we got that chance to work together, but more, more importantly, like I could just really open my mind to a different way.
That you can turn your art into a business because we're all, most of us are so linear. I make this, I teach this, I teach it to other artists, and we don't really think about like, okay, who's in my circle? What am I known for? What problem am I solving? You know, and, and then when you dive into that and you see the experience you have, you have the reach here within the school systems, you have the experience.
You're an expert in this. It's like sometimes, We kind of missed the obvious. So I love that we were able to, and it even helped me think like, how else can we be serving with our talents? So for all those who are listening, you're like, okay, so I don't just have to create a course and put it online. Like there's so many different ways we can work with people and create.
And so I loved being able to see that point of view with you and like knowing what a massive impact it would be.
[00:21:33] Kristina Nosal: And I always have, and I've always loved art journaling, but since the pandemic, I feel like it's like, it's like crucial. Like I feel like teens need this, like right now. Like I want everybody teaching it.
Yeah. So I agree. I gotta start getting my large class. It's ready. I just have to film it like I know what I'm doing. Uh, cuz I, I really am passionate about it. I feel like everybody should be teaching this and I know, you know. Getting an art education degree. They teach you how to teach everything. Like I should be able to teach photography in digital art and Well, let's throw our journaling in.
Like we should be doing this.
[00:22:09] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Right. I mean, I guess the next step is to take it to the universities. You said you were even talking to students at George Mason and they were like, was it George Mason?
[00:22:19] Kristina Nosal: Yeah, it was George Mason students. They came to observe, they were, I think first year art education majors.
Mm-hmm. And they came in and they were just, They're like, this is awesome. I wish I hit
[00:22:30] Kellee Wynne Conrad: this in high school. Right, exactly. So it's just about getting the word out there so people know that this is even a possibility. And I know, I remember one story when you came in for one of our coaching sessions and you had talked about, um, a young girl who was, I guess so troubled that.
There was a chance she had like tried to take her life at school or something like that. And I think that really sparked, and both of us as we were having this conversation became kind of emotional when we realized that, you know, unfortunately schools and teachers are really responsible for a lot of that now, whether they want to be or not.
But you've seen that kind of. Support and help through the, the art journaling program that you have, that it actually can help transform where that student is to a better place. Unfortunately, as the burden weighs heavier and heavier on the teacher, at least there's an outlet, you know? Yeah.
[00:23:30] Kristina Nosal: And I, I had a, I had a meeting actually yesterday with about a student, and they hadn't seen her in school, and I'm like, well, she was just here this morning.
Like she comes to our journaling. But she's not going to her other classes, but she doesn't need my class to graduate. Right? She needs other classes to graduate. So I was glad, you know, I'm glad she's coming in, but it did make me feel like, wow, she's here because she needs to be here, obviously.
[00:23:54] Kellee Wynne Conrad: That's very interesting.
Like she's missing all the important classes, but this one is the most important to her and her wellbeing. And I just keep thinking about that, like such a simple, fun concept cuz art journaling is a lot of fun. Right? Yeah. Such a simple, fun concept to just light up these kids, you know. So, yeah, I'm on a mission to help you on your mission to get art journaling in all the schools, but in the, I wanted to ask you again, like really quick, going back to the beginning of the conversation, you had students that actually used art journaling as their AP final.
Yeah. Yeah. Does that work out? It's,
[00:24:37] Kristina Nosal: it was actually, it worked out really well. Um, And it was a per, it's, I mean, AP has changed a lot in the last couple years, but it was a personal exploration. So they were, I have one student, she just basically documented her entire senior year this year through her art journal and anything that was going on in her head, like she was really stressed in the fall college applications and hitting those deadlines and writing the essays and I mean, that's what she was dealing with in there.
So her, her whole AP portfolio and her all artist state was, was about how, you know, She documented her senior year in her art journal.
[00:25:13] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Wow. That's, that's like so cool. I love it. It does take me back and that's why I get so excited cuz I, well I have a soft spot for teenagers to be honest. Um, and I realize that once my kids got to that age and just when I'm around teenagers, because I find them incredibly fascinating and underappreciated.
Yeah, I agree. Very much underappreciated and, and I think that they're super intuitive and smart and they're not giving enough credit for that. So like when I hear like there's just like a world opening up to them, it makes me really excited, which is why I will always continue to encourage you until the course is done.
And, and, and I know that that will come this summer when you have a little breather from, I mean, like being a teacher's gotta be very tiring. Yeah. It's, well,
[00:26:04] Kristina Nosal: yeah, it's, it's mentally exhausting. Yeah. And then I come home
[00:26:08] Kellee Wynne Conrad: and I have a five year old, so, yeah, exactly. So, but I will continue to encourage you.
What are some of your favorite art journaling, techniques you've come up with lately? Like, what have you stumbled upon that's just lighting you up? So let's just talk a little bit about art. Okay. Fun things.
[00:26:26] Kristina Nosal: Love handmade. Handmade papers. Like I don't even ever wanna use a paper that's not handmade anymore.
And then I'm just obsessed with making 'em. Yeah, so I have way too many hand Bain papers and the other one is the one I taught in, um, for my lesson this month.
[00:26:44] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I loved that because you're like using texture in a new way and then adding either spray spray acrylic or acrylic inks or whatever, but using the modeling paste to make that texture is like, yes, super yummy.
[00:26:59] Kristina Nosal: Have that 3D effect. I do. Yeah. I really love those sprayings. They're really fun.
[00:27:04] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. Now it's like, oh shoot. Is that another thing I need to purchase? No, no, no, no, no, no. Stop. I am so guilty of that. But you know, that's the problem. When you get into mixed media, it's like every new idea. You're like, I wanna do this forever.
But I've been coming up with some really fun things in deck of dreams, just some wild, like, it pushes me to come up with wild ideas, but I'm kind of, I'm like really excited to turn. Spin over to other artists because I have more than just you coming in. So you're my first guest artist in Deck of Dreams and I don't know that I'm gonna run this program past this year.
It might be just the only time that I do this, but I'm, I always just love seeing what other people come up with cuz you'd think it's a deck of cards, how much can you possibly do with it? But we have not run out of ideas. We're only opening up the door to more ideas. And I think that's mixed media and art journaling in general.
[00:28:00] Kristina Nosal: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean every, I feel like every art journal pager, how many pages can you do in aural? Like two thousands. Yeah. And they don't look the same.
[00:28:09] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. Ever. Right? Yeah. Especially because there's so many supplies to keep exploring and hoarding. I know. It's terrible. Well, thank you so much. I am just so glad to finally have you on the podcast and let people know what you're doing I'm gonna continue to make sure that people hear about this program so that when it opens, thank you.
All the teachers that are out there, or all the people who know teachers out there are all the. Parents out there who want their teachers to be using this. See how it goes? Yep. Everybody out there knows somebody who needs to get art journaling implemented. And just go to the link in our profile and I'll have that, link to Kristina's, little free course to get art journaling in the classrooms.
[00:28:58] Kristina Nosal: Thank you.
[00:28:59] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Thank you. A million.
If you'd like to listen to or learn more about the podcast visit https://www.maderemarkable.com/blog for our show notes and links to the main players.