The Raw Draw exercises help you to access the feelings behind the concepts, and you are encouraged to work them. Yet this is not strictly a how-to manual as much as a gentle reminder of the delight of playful expression and a guide to your authentic self. This book considers the whole you, and believes drawing is the new language that will express what you ask of it.
Unlike other dry self-help-draw-a-horse manuals, Raw Draw presents a contemporary perspective on the language of drawing, connecting readers’ every day experiences to the task of exploring their world – and their selves – with pen and journal. Referencing self-observation to alert aspiring artists to the disconnection between their latent, lifelong longing, and society’s messages, Raw Draw urges them to trust their organic intelligence as they dig into the fun exercises.
If we see the act of drawing as simply ‘making marks’ then drawing comes easily. In the way your signature is a mark that you casually and easily make and that identifies you, the act of drawing – mark-making with a purpose – is easy and natural for us.
We bring that same ease into these drawing sessions. When you begin to work in your drawing journal I believe you will encounter an aspect of your self that will give you the skill and confidence to express the ideas you have every day – whether they are inner landscapes, impressions and feelings, or jewelry-making ideas. They ALL can start with a drawing!
Your goals and needs will set the tone of your explorations. You will soon be making strong and expressive marks that speak for you!
The Ups & Downs of Your Self-guided Journey
There are technical considerations in drawing that make for some frustrating episodes in the learning process. When this topic comes up, the typical example I use in my class is to suggest what it is like to pick up a violin for the first time and try to extract a decent note out of it! It is a hard instrument to master. Some dedication is asked for when you embrace something new.
And then – as I have often encountered in classes – there are those less-than-cheery feelings some folks associate with the creative arts, and drawing especially. Most of us in our early years have heard judgements spoken by parents and teachers suggesting that expressing our natural creative talents and considering a lifetime career in them is silly, un-worthy or impractical.
Maybe they sounded like this: “What is that you’re drawing? That doesn’t look like a cat.” Or: “Don’t sing in the store – you’re bothering people.”
Journal Exercise: draw a few everyday objects: a chair, a baseball cap, a fire hydrant, a high heel or sneaker shoe, an automobile. A few quick and breezy drawings is what is called for here.
. . .how was that for you? Were you able to accurately visualize and depict these items?
How well do we really see our world? What is the quality of our vision, our seeing? How attentive are we to the world immediately around us, that which impacts us personally? How intimate is our relationship to it?
Save these drawings for later.
In the next few days, take a few moments to flip your awareness over to artist mode, and view your world anew. Look for the objects mentioned above. SEE them, feel into them, notice the qualities that make them what they are. As you do this, you automatically embed them in memory, images and details that you will draw on – literally – as you go back to your studio and work the exercise again. Use as few lines as possible to depict the object.
Compare the two sets of drawings.
* What has changed?
Doodle of man strumming guitar
An intriguing technique, one that’s fun too, is to take magazines and re-mark them. A simple tracing builds your memory of how faces ‘work’, their proportions and shapes.
Going further, as these samples show, embellishment creates whole new works of art. Grab a magazine or old book and some markers, and draw over and around the images
Journal Exercise: draw your self – your portrait – each day, perhaps several times. It can be a doodle, a small simple icon / logo, or a more elaborate portrayal. Infuse your drawing with the way you are feeling about your self at the time. Also write words that reflect your mood. Use arrows and point them to the parts of your body the feelings describe. See how your drawing ‘style’ alters if you are agitated or sleepy as you draw. Be mindful.
Draw more versions using your left hand. It is believed your left hand has access to the right side of your brain, the more visual and emotional section. See what sensations occur as you try this.
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