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Friday, May 11, 2012

The Ability To Draw (or lack thereof) And An AJ Page

I think I’m on a roll with my Art Journaling pages! I have so many things that want to come out right now, so many ideas and quotes that want to be expressed!  So many drawings and “girls” working their way to the surface! And so little time!

But you know what’s the best of all for me - well other than having an awesome medium for expression and enjoying getting my hands covered in glue and paint?
I am finding that I can draw! ME!?
I have been convinced ALL my life that I can’t and there is plenty of evidence that I can’t draw to save my life. Seriously - I am not just saying that. I might be artistic and crafty, but really ... I can’t draw.
Or I couldn’t, up until recently. It was no accident that I became a DIGITAL scrapbook designer. I can create things on a computer that I never could on paper.

But like I said - until recently! And I’m finding that my biggest problem was that I thought that drawing was about being accurate and that it needed to look a certain way and that proportions just weren’t something you could go about willy-nilly making up.

And believe me nobody is more surprised than me to see myself actually drawing in my journal! And often I even like what I’m seeing! Imagine that!

What did you do, you ask? What is the big secret to the drawing challenged amongst us?

There isn’t one.        And yes,  if somebody had said that to me a while ago I would have snorted and thought that that is always what the people that CAN draw, say!

But really - it was simply about letting go. Or not so simply, since letting go is often the hardest thing to do!
And it still is about letting go now. It’s totally an ongoing process and often not an easy one.
It’s letting go of preconceived ideas of what it should look like - how somebody that CAN draw draws.
It’s letting go of comparison.
It’s also about letting go of the notion that I can not draw. That’s probably the biggest one for me. And one of those beliefs that I backslide on really easily. The ones we held the longest are often the hardest to let go of course! EFT can really help there, by the way! But really, If I continue to belief I can’t draw, I likely will never be able to. So going with the notion that I can’t draw like others, but that I can in my own way is a big one!

And then there is simply just letting go.
Letting the hand do what it does. Letting the body do what it does. The other day I took a canvas and a pencil, closed my eyes (yep) and just went for it. Doodled, wrote, drew - just kept on moving that pencil. Of course the result was nothing coherent, but that’s ok. I had no goal other than wanting the experience. No desired outcome, nothing to get wrong - just doing it! It seemed important to let go of everything, most of all of the idea of “failing” or not being “good enough” and to just ... well ... draw!
It was about getting into the rhythm, the flow, the letting the hand experience what it feels like to draw like you know what you’re doing - without the hesitation of people who believe they CAN’T draw! You drawing challenged people out there know what I’m talking about when I say hesitation, right?

So, it’s been a process, for sure. At times very much a “oh what’s the point” kind of process. But I’m starting to enjoy it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still not the kind of person who can sit down and knock out an amazing doodle on a napkin just like that.  Far from it. I’m still the master of stick figures on that front.
I still can’t just take a piece of paper, think for two seconds and then draw some amazing thing. I am (still?) not like that. I think practice has a lot to do with that too. And I’m working on getting a lot of that right now!

My approach still needs a little planning, lot’s of room for correction (pencils and erasers are great there) but I get there. And sometimes it feels a tad pathetic just how long it takes me to get to a oh so natural and haphazard looking swirl or hair, but hey, that’s how I roll right now!
And I’m getting a little more free with it too. Again, it might be the practice thing. Not just practice in drawing, but practice in letting go when drawing!
And then, when I have a basic outline and messed around with my proportions a little,  I go in with a micron pen for the outlines. Sometimes I even mess around on the computer first as I still feel more comfortable there with outlining an idea or a drawing. Then, once I have visualized it, it goes on paper!

So, I guess it’s true what they say, everyone CAN draw. It’s just a matter of  finding a way that works for you and gets you there! And wanting it badly enough to stick with it!
And to be honest, a lot of the time I still feel like I’m a bit of a fraud. Like I’m just pretending to draw or something, but I’m not the real deal. But you know what? I’ll get over it and in the mean time I’m enjoying my “fraudulent” drawings in my art journal!

Have you pushed your boundaries lately? Let go of some “I can’t” belief - even just a little, seemingly insignificant one?

Here’s my latest AJ Page: Be led by your dreams!

With this page, I followed pretty much the same technique as with the last one, only I got a little larger with my drawing. First I covered a book page with some white acrylic paint. Drew my basic girl outlines, covered here in masking fluid and went to town with some shimmer mists and spray inks.

Then I unmasked my girl and colored her with inks and watercolor pencils. The balloon was outlined on a piece of paper that I slightly aged separately before gluing it on the page. Then I took a dotted texture roller stamp and went over the whole lot with some Dazzle ink. That’s my favorite way of tying everything together on a page where subtle is the key!

Then I printed out the words, cut them and glued them to the page. And that is it!

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  1. Loved your writing! I can so relate to the mind and eyes saying "you aren't talented enough to draw". But I, too, have finally pushed past the idea that I'm not talented and yep, I learned how to draw. I can even draw in perspective and get it right most of the time :) if you would've told me 3 Years ago that I would be drawing to the satisfaction and approval of myself, I would not have believed it. I am a living testament that anyone (and I di mean ANYONE) can learn to draw. Thanks for sharing this writing

    Brigitte Haydel

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your own experience with drawing, Brigitte! And yes, I would have never believed it either! Or that it's mostly about letting go limiting believes and not nearly as much about "well, either you are talented or you are not!" as I thought! Have a great day!

  3. Birgit - I discovered your work via Facebook - someone had shared it - and when I was cutting and pasting the "Let Go" image onto a post that it inspired, I saw your watermark. Well done for watermarking - cos I came straight over here and have been reading, and pinning, and learning for the past hour. LOVE your blog, love your work - will be sharing it over at Dreaming Aloud next week! http://www.dreamingaloud.net/

  4. Hi Lucy and thank you so much for your kind comment! I'm so glad you stumbled upon my blog and are finding it useful! I had a quick peek at your blog too - love the topics you are covering there!

  5. You're up on it! http://www.dreamingaloud.net/2012/07/lessons-from-wise-women-of-web.html

  6. I just found your blog by accident via a bit of surfing and I can't leave without leaving a comment! I love your honesty and I think your drawing absolutely gorgeous. The subtlety of the colours is very soothing, I love the way you did the hands and I think the hair is fantastic (so natural). The balloon is very cute and the message is so true. I'm so glad I found your blog!
    By the way, I went to a craft show on the weekend and saw a workshop by a lovely lady named Jane Davenport. She teaches people how to make art journals and also told us everyone can draw! I'm yet to believe in my own talents in that area, but am thinking of taking her online class. Her website is http://www.instituteofcute.com/.

  7. Hi Paper Epiphany! Thanks so much for your comment!
    I love Jane Davenport's work! I could watch her draw for hours - she's very inspiring!
    I am currently doing a course that also includes a class by Jane, as well as many other amazing ladies in the art/art journaling world!


    All the different classes are really geared towards giving up the notion of "can't" and just going with the flow, giving up on judging ourselves, discovering our inner artist, etc. It's at times quite uncomfortable, but very rewarding!
    I am slowly working my way through all the different exercises!

  8. You are so talented. I have just stumbled across your blog and love what you are doing. You are truly inspiring.


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Birgit Kerr