As much as I love creating, I am equally passionate about stirring up creativity in others. This is the first in a series on creativity: how to jump in, how to keep going, and some fun exercises along the way. I hope you’ll follow along! (Also, I will specifically be mentioning painting/drawing, but the principles apply more broadly to creating in general.)
Many art classes or tutorials have an extensive list of supplies needed, and while certain tools may be helpful as you progress, DO NOT get bogged down by those things right now.
More important than the tools in your hand is the way you begin to see what is around you. Tuning in to what sparks joy or fire in your heart. Paying attention to the details–how the light dances off that copper mug, or how that child’s eyes sparkle as they laugh. The joy of being an artist is in learning to see beauty, even before you create it.
Learning to draw is like learning the scales on a piano–it is the basic building block that builds the foundation for other types of art. And every time you put pencil to paper, you are adding to that foundation (even if that particular sketch gets chucked because it turned out all wrong) : P
Learn the basics, and you’ll see how your own unique style begins to emerge. It is incredible to me how even two stick figures drawn by two different people are uniquely their style. And you know what? The world needs more expressions of beauty, so let yours out!
So here are two exercises to get you started. You choose which one you want to do first!
Exercise no. 1:
- Grab something from around your house (a children’s book, magazine, etc) and find a photo or drawing that you would like to copy. Sketch the outline, fill in the details, and pay particular attention to whether there are any darker parts of the face/body/object due to shadows. Adding in shading has an automatic effect of bringing your drawing to life.
- (This exercise is less about the mechanics of drawing and more about finding something beautiful and seeking to capture some of its essence; you will also learn about your style by seeing what you are drawn to.)
Exercise no. 2:
- Start noticing the shapes around you.
- Children learn from an early age to identify circles, squares, diamonds, ovals, etc. Would you be surprised if I told you that will be your greatest aid to drawing?
- Choose an item and start breaking it down visually by what shapes you see (or even what shapes are created by the different points, like the triangle that is made between the eyes and nose of a lion).
As you will see, my goal is not to reinvent the wheel with tutorials on facial portrait proportions, how to create a realistic dog drawing, or how to make water look like it’s moving (although, some of this may be snuck in down the road). Rather, I want to teach you how to see differently and encourage your heart to be brave in the process.
Creating art is invigorating and rewarding, and yet it is also a huge challenge at times as we “mess up” or get discouraged. At its core, art is an expression of vulnerability, in that we are putting a piece of our heart on paper! You will almost certainly confront certain fears as you move along, and the awesome thing is, you can find so much freedom and joy through this process! I guess you could say, I want to help coach you. Not just give you the play by play of the game, but encourage and challenge you all the while.
Feel free to reach out with specific questions or thoughts. I will do my best to respond promptly!