Drawing project month one: Creativity for its own sake

drawing project

Yahoo! We've almost finished a month of the drawing project. This experiment that I had no idea what to expect of seems to be going quite well. People signed up, they're doing the assignments, they're posting in the Facebook group. The assignments are actually fun (I half expected to be getting into arguments with myself about them) and I'm a feeling a looseness around drawing that I haven't really felt before. My inner critic only woke up during one drawing and the rest of the time has been snoring soundly in a corner. I definitely don't think I've cured my anxiety around drawing, but I think I'm off to a great start. And from the looks of the Facebook group, a lot of others are as well! This month's theme was Abstract/Pattern, which I thought would be a good warm up for the rest of the year. The goal was to practice making marks in a way that was fun and easy and get into a regular habit. I would say that goal was met.

My takeaways from month one:

  • Micron pens are the greatest. I got myself 3 Sakura Pigma pens, the 01, 03, and 05 and loved them from the start. Somehow my lines look stronger, more confident, more daring with these pens. I love the sound they make scraping across the paper, and the solidity of the mark. Having the right tools can make a huge difference, and I'm glad I broke out of my usual routine. I hope to try a new tool every month - we'll see if any others blow my mind open quite like these.
  • I didn't think about this before starting, but drawing repeating patterns is a really good way to develop the fine motor skills required to draw with skill. In my drawing journey, I've always focused more on how to interpret what I see, and less on how to train my hand to make the marks I want it to make. After watching Lisa Congdon draw patterns in her Creative Bug courses, I realized what years of practice looks like. She draws quickly and effortlessly things that for me take much more time and care (and don't come out looking nearly as good.) This understanding is a huge motivator to keep drawing more and more so that hopefully my lines will be as confident and precise as hers someday.
  • Drawing patterns is also incredibly addictive and relaxing. A lot of people have said that they can't stop once they've started and find themselves feeling better after drawing. The mandala assignment was especially popular for this reason. I'm interested to see if the other themes have the same effect.
  • I'm starting to change the way I evaluate my drawings, and realizing that there is some inherent value in them beyond whether I think they're 'good' or 'bad'. The value comes from the process of learning, of practising, of experimenting. I'm seeing that every mark I make serves a purpose and gets me closer to my goals of drawing with skill and passion. Every mark is important and precious and I'm starting to fall in love with my marks simply because they're my marks. I made them. I want to continue exploring this perspective because I think it's a major key to creative living: loving what you make instead of hating it.
  • For years I felt like it was only worthwhile making things if they were going to be for sale. I would prioritize sell-able work to the exclusion of everything else. Now I'm becoming less  interested in selling my work, and more interested in development, growth, and play. I think this is also a huge key since the pressure of making something sales-worthy can kill the creativity inherent in it. Drawing is an amazing way to develop new skills and new perspectives and I'm so excited to see what comes up in the following months!

To add to this, one of the ladies doing the project (Melody Everest-Harkema) says, "Sometimes if I don't like something I've started and "push through" and work in it anyway I'm glad I have. Also, I'm not nearly so nervous about anybody seeing things I have made." Amen! 

I've been so inspired by the work that everyone has posted. Everyone has such a different perspective and take on the assignments. Here are a few drawings from the group:

drawing project
drawing project
drawing hailey
drawing alexa
drawing sophie
drawing melody
drawing lindsay

Have you found a creative practice that is inherently rewarding? A place where you can mess around without any concern for how 'good' it is or what people think? Leave a comment below.