Drawing to Capture Chaos

drawing emotion process Feb 28, 2020
 

Chaos is all around us. We strive, as humans, to make order, to keep things in order and to make sense of our world by creating structure. Many people also believe that when you draw something the goal is to draw the object perfectly and make it as close to a photograph as possible. I have had so many discussions over the years with people who are worried about drawing. They feel like they need to “draw a straight line” and it needs to be a perfect, beautiful replica of the thing they are drawing. Even young children by 1st or 2nd grade have this idea about drawing. To be a “good” drawing it has to look “real.” My goal in all my teaching is to help people have an expanded notion of what a drawing can be and what a drawing can look like. 

Drawing is a powerful tool for capturing chaos, capturing the wildness of our lives. And I think that's the beauty of what drawing is all about, that there's no right or wrong way to draw and that you can...

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Drawing for Better or Worse

 

What does it mean to draw for better or worse? There are days where the magic flows and the minute you pick up your pencil, drawings erupt onto the page without a thought. You could draw for hours. You are in a flow state and nothing, not even the lights going out or a small temblor could get you to stop drawing. You need to draw. Your sketchbook goes with you everywhere and on the bus you take it out to sketch the shape of the woman’s eye who is sitting across from you. The slant, the angle, the curve of the eyelid. But then there are other days when you wake up and you just don't feel like doing much of anything, right? You just don’t want to draw. Or go to the the studio and start working. Your mind starts spinning and saying “What does it matter anyway, everything I draw is horrible” or “why am I even wasting my time doing this, I don’t even like to draw that much.” It is on these days that your drawing practice is essential. If you are...

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Making Mistakes

 

If there is one thing I know it is that when you are engaged in the creative process then you need to get comfortable making mistakes and working with them. You never know where a mistake can lead you. What you may think is a mistake may be a pathway to a whole new discovery in your artistic process.

As the writer Annie Lamott says:

“Here's how to break through the perfectionism: make a LOT of mistakes. Fall on your butt more often. Waste more paper, printing out your shitty first drafts, and maybe send a check to the Sierra Club. Celebrate messes--these are where the goods are.”

It is scary to make a mess—a mess of your life when you know something is wrong—a mess with your art work—getting down and dirty with your work and getting lost in the chaos to come our of the other side with a piece that is dynamic and the way that you want it. Mistakes and messiness force you to be in an unknown territory. You don’t know what the outcome will be and...

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Make Your Mark

 

It is a small but powerful act. One that everyone can do. Drawing. It is a pencil, ballpoint pen, charcoal on paper. It is a mark in the sand, chalk on the sidewalk. Drawing, is a visual language. Making marks on a surface is a truly democratic activity, something that everyone regardless of age, culture, socio-economic status can take part in. So why is there so much fear and anxiety about the process? If I talk to most people about drawing I usually hear, “oh I couldn’t draw a straight line.” This comment always stuns me and inside my head I think, “what artist cares about drawing a straight line when they draw? Drawing is not about making straight lines. There is no judge going around with a ruler saying, “okay you can draw, your line is straight.” The world of drawing and the process of drawing as it unfolds is infinite. Drawings are as varied as the world of ideas and thoughts. A series of random lines, dots and dashes arranged in a...

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What is Creativity?

 

The Drawing Lab is a space and an approach where everyone is invited to jump into the creative process. Allowing the creative process into your life is essential but so many people are so scared to jump into the unknown. Creativity is something that everyone can access even in small ways. But people's fear of "making mistakes" and not being perfect can get in the way. 

After hearing the constant refrain, “Well I can’t even draw a straight line” whenever I said I was an artist I decided to combine my love of drawing with my passion for teaching and became what I call a "Drawing Activist." I want to change the world one pencil at a time.

When I was getting my Masters degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education I took a course on Creativity with Professor Howard Gardner. He spoke about "big C" creativity and "little c" creativity. The artist Pablo Picasso and the novelist Jane Austen were artists that achieved "big C" creativity they...

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