Drawing on your sense of self! by Sue Flowers

I have lost count of the number of times people have told me they cannot draw – and it bothers me – I often wonder who it was that first implanted that thought?

If you feel uncomfortable when you have a pencil and a blank piece of paper in front of you – maybe just sit with it for a bit – I know you can honestly experience a sense of fear, but what happens when you banish those negative thoughts and let your hands and mind flow? Try to imagine that the paper represents a field full of snow and that you are walking into and playing with joy like a young child.

One thing I love to do with people is encourage them to take their pencil lines for a walk. Keeping your pencil on the page you can hop, skip, and jump, you can dance around in circles and enjoy making marks on the paper. It can help you release how you are feeling, for example I love scribbling when I am cross. When I am moody, I like working with charcoal exploring all the varying shades of grey and black, smudging and rubbing things out. When I am feeling fragile, I will pick up my pencil and sharpen it well so I can get the finest and most delicate lines and I will seek out the thinnest of papers to reflect how I’m feeling.

Of course all this freedom comes from facing my own fear of the white paper and switching off my self-critical inner voice. I know that inspiration comes whilst I work not whilst I wait, and that no matter what I draw the potential for my next drawing to be better than the last one is always there.

Once you have grasped taking your pen or pencil for a walk, why not take yourself on a walk and spend your time just looking and noticing things?  The shapes of the leaves on a tree, tiny pebbles on the ground, the light, or shadows on the pavement; try switching off your mobile phone and try to be in the moment – using your eyes to notice what is around you.

Ask yourself what you like and be aware of any intrusive or unwanted thoughts – if you find something you do not like, do not focus on it, look elsewhere… and look more until you find something you are drawn towards. There is real beauty in the overlooked and the forgotten if you choose to really see.

Once you have found something you are drawn towards, maybe you can take away a visual ‘morsel’?  It might be a blade of grass, a pebble, a discarded object, or petal but no matter how small or insignificant treat your object like a treasure – it can reconnect you to a time, a place, and a memory. Then, if you try drawing it, it can make you think, taking you out of the space you are in and into another world, a world full of memories, ideas, and imagination.

Developing a sense of awareness of our thoughts whilst working creatively can really help us to unlock a sense of understanding about our place in the world around us, why not give it a go today?