Even if you don't think you can, drawing is the ultimate connector.
As a child, my quest to explore and embrace my imagination often paved the way for me to do things without a second thought. Without the pressure of ‘getting it wrong’ I would happily draw, doodle and scribble my desires and imaginary friends out on paper without a care in the world. So why, now I'm an adult does this sometimes seem impossible? When did the thought of drawing something suddenly become so scary? Has this creativity left me? I'd like to think the simple answer, thankfully, is no.
Even as someone who draws for a living the thought of drawing something that wasn’t very good and, even worse, letting someone see it, is still somewhat terrifying if I'm having an off day. The pressure to always draw something good and something I can potentially work up into a design is always there, often stifling my creativity and pleasure in the very thing I fell in love with many moons ago.
As a society we are obsessed with outcomes. Have we achieved our best at work? Is the cake I’ve made good enough to share with others? Most of us, given the chance, just can’t help but self criticise and worry that what we have produced isn’t good enough. Since stepping into adulthood we feel pressure to ‘be the best’ and whilst that’s not a terrible thing – setting ourselves a target and pushing yourself can be super motivational – there can be times when the pressure to do so results in us striving for unattainable perfection.
Sadly, as a result of this preoccupation, drawing has – for some of us at least – been shelved in the ‘I’m no good at this so I won’t do it anymore’ section or perhaps in the 'I'll stick to the techniques I know I'm good at as I'm on a deadline/if I experiment it might not work out ' etc..
But why does this matter?
It matters because, if I sit and think about it, ultimately I love drawing. It makes me happy. It switches my attention to the present moment and without all the external factors it's a joyous and personal experience. In the age of digital overload taking the time out of a busy schedule to change pace and focus my attention on drawing just for fun gives me an opportunity to reconnect with myself and my physical environment.
The act of observation and having a mindful awareness of my chosen subject matter gives way to a moment of calm; where I can pause before recording my experience through the act of making mark on paper, ideally without self criticism or judgement of what the physical outcome may look like. In short, drawing focuses my mind and trains my attention away from the stresses of everyday life and ruminating thoughts about the past or future, allowing me to exist only in the present. Bliss.
A drawing purely for fun, solely for you, no pressure. I'm going to give it a whirl as a way of warming up for the day. No sh*ts given.