I couldn’t survive without drawing, I’d go mad. Even a quick doodle reconnects and salves my spirit. It’s what I do when I’m stressed, angry, happy, whatever the mood, drawing helps me and fills me, soothes me and protects me. It has helped and still helps me endure rough times, messed up times. I do different kinds of stuff, from the quick, rough sketches of a cat or tree, to a sketch of the mundane, everyday and yet fascinating somehow subjects, like a scrunched down, half-gone biscuit packet, to just abstract patterns, to the most silly, surreal creatures and places that live in my mind, (I’m a sucker for these creatures). It doesn’t matter, it’s all the same thing and it’s all helping and the more you do it, the more your mind opens up and of course the better you get, skill wise but also creatively; the more you connect with what Stephen King calls ‘the basement guy’, the more he offers up and communicates.
‘Inspiration exists,but it has to find you working.’ Pablo Picasso.
A lot of people think you have to be born an artist, born creative and won’t even try, they just say they can’t do it. They believe this, totally. They aren’t imaginative/ talented/ good/ (enter whatever word you like) enough. I made a card for my mum the other day and she said, I don’t know how you do it, I wouldn’t know where to start. Well, I just start and keep going, but I haven’t always done this, but I’ve been doing it a long time now. It takes practise, like anything else, no one expects to pick up a guitar and just be able to play it do they?? I try to get her to have a go, just a doodle, but she shudders and shrinks, as if she’s scared of it and won’t even try, she has so convinced herself she can’t, that she is not creative and absolutely cannot draw; it has locked her in. But what’s the worst that can happen? It’s only a scrap of paper and a pen, but it’s like it’s sacred or precious or something but there’s no right and wrong way to do it, no one’s judging, you’re not in a test; you can’t spoil anything or hurt anything; go on, have a go, mess that paper up; but she can’t allow herself to do it, absolutely cannot just let go and make some lines, some marks.
Paul Klee, an amazing man and great artist, talked about just taking a line on a walk, I always liked that. Picasso said drawing was just another way of keeping a diary, but some people can be so inhibited by their own mind’s certainty that they are not creative and cannot draw, that they have shut off the possibility entirely. This makes me sad because I get so much out of drawing and doodling, I wish more people would give it a go, who knows what they might find?? Look at these people who have started to draw madly after having a stroke, it’s in us all, somewhere, it just needs triggering.
There are all kinds of levels and styles from the amazing realistic detail and expression in photorealism to total abstract expressions, marks that could mean anything, from deep in the subconscious. You can do anything, anything at all, there are so many myriad ways to express yourself and none better or worse than another, no right or wrong and you don’t know what may be your thing till you begin experimenting and exploring.
‘The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place, from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.’ Pablo Picasso.
I used to be really hard on myself; I wanted every drawing to be perfect, a masterpiece; I wanted every single thing I did to be amazing and got frustrated at the stuff that wasn’t any good, but I realized how much this was holding me back and inhibiting me, actually stopping me doing it and certainly from enjoying it. It is all taking you somewhere, it’s all drawing experience and you learn from everything you do, there has to be bad stuff to learn from, you have to get the bad stuff out, you have to keep on keeping on. I’m just the same with writing, and I still struggle with this to a degree, but I have worked at loosening up and allowing myself to just do it, to shutting up the voice in my head that demands perfection and judges so, so harshly; it can be done and the more you just let it be without taking too much notice, just carry on regardless, the more it loses its dominance. I still struggle with pads that are ‘too good.’ I really drive myself crazy still with being better in a crappier pad because the minute I try to work in a decent pad, it’s like I’m immediately too precious about it. I’m working on this still but it’s hard even now, because the paper is so good it must not be tainted or wasted by anything other than brilliance, enter inhibition and awkwardness. When in the cheaper pad my hand and mind flows freely and the work is so much better. Go figure.
‘I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.’ Frida Kahlo.
There are so many artists to be inspired by, I will talk about some of favourites sometime, but it is endlessly fascinating the unique and amazing ways everyone has of making their art their own and I have found some amazing artists that I love and make me want to keep going further, further. I’m not there yet but I’m trying. If you have the slightest inkling to do this please, please go for it, you won’t regret it. Just get a cheap pad, there are loads of cheap arty/crafty places now and a pen or pencil, that’s all you need, whatever you fancy, and sketch, doodle anything and everything, whenever you can. My favourite at the moment is just a simple 20p black biro and a cheap pad. That’s all you need, go for it. This is a psyche up to myself as much as anything, I need to draw more. So let’s draw. And draw and draw.