This week I'd like to share with you one of my absolute FAVORITE books for finding your Creative Voice and letting go of anxiety around drawing. The Drawing Mind by Deborah Putnoi is full of short exercises that can help you silence your Inner Critic and explore who you are and how you draw. Even if you haven't drawn in a long time or don't consider yourself an artist, this book will guide you in your journey.
Deborah has one exercise that she calls "Deep Looking Drawing". If anyone has done contour drawing before you will recognize this way of seeing and drawing. The guidance is to look at an object and describe it with your pencil without looking at your paper. Try to connect deeply with the essence of that object . Keep your eyes on the object and draw every detail you see with a continuous, loose line and without lifting your pen or pencil off of your paper or looking at your page. As Deborah says, "Trust your eyes, trust your hand". The results can be very interesting.
This exercise is not about drawing something perfectly, it's about letting go and exploring. Here are some things that deep looking / contour drawing can do:
- It trains your brain and our hand to work together
- It's a practice in SEEING. We often are so busy with our day to day lives that we don't take time to see and notice all of the incredible details of a plant or our hand. But there are so many interesting things to discover when we take the time.
- It can help you if you are feeling like you are in a rut, to get out of your thinking mind and explore something new.
- Help to loosen you up before any creative endeavor.
- Connect to a deeper part of the world or yourself.
- It could spark a new idea. Who knows what new path this kind of drawing will lead to. One of my artist friends Jude Buffum creates these kinds of drawings everyday and they've become more and more detailed and developed over time.
The results can be unexpected but also, more expressive than anything that we can try to create when we are holding our pencil very tightly and trying to get every detail just right. This allows us a certain freedom that we sometimes lack in our other work.
In the book, Deborah uses the Deep Looking technique along with other techniques to help you explore the world around you and inside of you. She builds on each technique and has you use them in a variety of exercises.
These images are from a friend who had just undergone surgery to remove a tumor from her pituitary gland. As long as I've known her she has suffered from a variety of ailments and had gone to a myriad of doctors and specialists, no one could figure out what was wrong. Recently, someone suggested that she might have something called Acromegaly, which is when a tumor on the gland causes the growth hormones in your body to increase. She was recovering from her surgery and I gave her this book to pass the time.
I was floored by the images that came out of her. There is a prompt in the book that asks you to close your eyes and draw your face. My friend said she said she just drew what she saw, sometimes with her eyes closed and sometimes with them open. When I look at these drawings, they feel so powerful to me. They might not be the way my friend normally draws, but there is something very freeing and relatable in the movement of the drawing. It's as if she is sharing a bit of her soul with us.
NEW SEATTLE OCTOBER WORKSHOP!!
I'm happy to share that on October 21st I'll be hosting my Finding your Creative Voice Workshop, 10 AM - 5:30 PM at Seattle Re:Creative! If you've been waiting to take this super fun course, now is the time! Take a little time for yourself and go on an exciting journey that will help you to meet that Inner Artist that you might not have known before. If you are living in the Seattle area, I hope you can make it! It's also a great thing to do with friends or family, so why not invite them to come along?