Monday, 6 October 2008

Sketching and Doodling

Keeping free and easy in your creativeness is probably the most important issue to overcome and maintain. This is what I have learned myself, yet again, just recently. Yes, I say again, because we are constantly on a learning curve all through our lives. The difference is that we are usually at a different place when we come up against the same issue. You could visualise this as a spiral. We often go full circle with things, but we’re probably the next level up, even if we’re at the same issue.

It is well recognised that we can get bogged down by pressures and restrictions, (external and internal). We can be working on a particular theme or project and lose ourselves in it so far that we’ve forgotten how easy it used to be to create the way we used to outside of that particular project.

Enter the doodling and sketching exercise. At first it may seem trifling and irritating. It may be hard to loosen up. In fact it is hard to loosen up – I found this really hard, and in the first sitting I was a disaster. Why? Because I was trying too hard! The only way I could overcome it was to remove myself from the studio and sit in front on the tv.

So, here is the method:

  1. Step outside of your studio or usual creative space.
  2. Find somewhere else to set up with paper and pens (or whatever) as a temporary space
  3. Put on the tv, the hifi, your ipod, or the radio…
  4. Take 3 deep, slow breaths. Relax your shoulders.
  5. Clear your mind of its clutter.
  6. Get ready to doodle, or sketch.
  7. If you need a subject, find some household, fridge, larder, objects, or some photos of something you like such as leaves, flowers, trees, landscapes.
  8. Don’t think too much as you sketch. Let your eye guide the hand, with light concentration. Try to keep the style simple and free. It doesn’t have to be strictly representational – you can just fill in areas of colour, or just simple shapes.
  9. Enjoy the process. Don’t produce anything for anyone else to see – this is your personal exercise.
  10. Remember that if it doesn’t work, put it to one side and come back to it, or start again.

When you have finished your session, however long it takes, put it all to one side and leave it for at least half and hour. When you return to it, look at it objectively, if you can. Can you still see restrictions or barriers to the freedom you’re trying to achieve? If so, can you solve it?

I’d love to hear about your experiences – feel free to share. You may have a different way of loosening up, if so, let me know. I also welcome suggestions for issues to tackle in this blog - keeping creative is a universal subject and there’s so much to explore!



above sketches:

top - "coastal cornfield" ©2008 Deborah Eileen Burrow

bottom -" across the reeds" ©2008 Deborah Eileen Burrow

both of these sketches are for sale at

No comments: