Mindfulness is all about observation, and so is drawing. Both require you to slow down and pay close attention to what’s in front of you. Drawing is a great way to practice mindfulness because it allows you to be focused in the present moment - in what is happening right in front of you. And mindfulness can help people who think they can't draw (like me!) because it helps to release the judgement and harsh criticism that keeps people feeling stuck.
Back in April I had this crazy idea. I love receiving and sending mail. I love making small, personalised art pieces for people. Why not sell mail art subscriptions? So I did! I sold 3, 6, or 12-month subscriptions that included an envelope covered in 100% unique art and a hand-written, personalised letter. A handful of people bought them and I have spent the last 6 months making dozens of pieces of mail and sending them out into the world.
A friend of mine introduced me to her comics and at first, I really didn't get it. Her drawing style is not pretty or tidy—it seems to flail across the page a bit—and her stories are heartbreaking. But after spending more time with her work, and especially after discovering her workbooks, I fell hard for her imagination and deep commitment to exploring the impact of images on people.
Tomorrow a yearlong project comes to a close. Last September I started sending out weekly emails to a small group of people who agreed to join me in an experiment. I wanted to see if I could confront my inner critic and my fear of drawing and find a way to make drawing feel fun again. I've spent the last twelve months reading drawing books and blogs, obsessively searching for drawing quotes, writing about drawing, and, of course, drawing. It has been quite an adventure. This last year I've tried new materials, visited new places, and drawn subjects that I probably never would have otherwise. I've dealt with frustration, boredom, and disappointment and I've enjoyed wonder, delight, and a sense of flow.
I first discovered Brady's work when someone mentioned the @seriouscreatures account in a webinar about Instagram. I followed it because it seemed like he was having so much fun and engaging so much with his community. His drawing prompts have been a huge inspiration in my own drawing journey and I love his playful style.
You've decided that you're finally going to start a regular drawing practice. You bought a nice sketchbook, sharpened your pencils, and have a nice collection of markers and paints standing by. You open the first page and... you don't know what to do next. You have no ideas, no inspiration, no inkling of where to start. When you feel a big expanse of nothingness staring you in the face, how do you take the first step? What do you draw when you don't know what to draw?
Five months ago I embarked on an adventure to learn more about drawing, to practice and build skills and, most importantly, to tame my inner critic and learn to have fun with drawing. So far, it has been quite the ride. I haven't always been able to keep up with my two assignments per week, but I'm drawing more than I ever have before and I'm learning so much.
There's something about the repeating patterns of a mandala and the organic way that the designs unfold that is mesmerizing, meditative and addictive. In my Etsy shop I now have 5 patterns that you can buy individually, or you can get a pack of all 5. These are instant downloads, which means that as soon as you pay, you can download the files to your computer and print them out as many times as you like. Use them as a relaxing, meditative practice, or do them while you watch Netflix.
In some ways, sight is the easiest sense to work on, since it's the one we use the most anyway. According to Psychology Today, more than half the body's sense receptors are in the eyes. But how much of your surroundings do you really see on a daily basis? If you follow the same routine every day, you probably have long since stopped noticing the buildings you pass, or the way the sky looks - unless something is drastically different. What if you could train yourself to look at the same old things with fresh eyes, seeing something new every day?
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.