24 February 2012

Drawn a Blank? 5 Tips to Loosen-Up!

Occasionally, when you feel like creating that wonderful drawing or painting, you fetch your tools, you sit down, get comfy and then.......nothing happens!  Yup, annoying isn't it.  

So, just as a singer would warm-up her voice before her live performance it's often worth warming-up our eyes, brains and hands before we draw that masterpiece.  Here are a few simple, fun and effective ways to get started and free our drawing/painting techniques:

  1. Draw a real life object using the wrong hand: Find an object, person or scene in which you are interested in drawing and use your "wrong hand" to do it.  So, if you're naturally right handed - you would use your left (and vice verse).  This can feel very awkward to begin with but it's this awkwardness that makes our brain really focus on what we are truly seeing and not what we think we are seeing. This one tip alone is so worth doing regularly if you are serious about training your eyes to see accurately.

  2. Draw without looking down at the paper in front of you:  Again, this makes us truly look at our subject and not focus on what's going on with our hands.  What happens on your paper may be a real surprise to you! Remember this is all about limbering up and not about producing a perfect end result.

  3. Speed dating, no I mean speed drawing:  This is a really effective way to get you into drawing mode FAST.  Find an object to draw, get a kitchen timer, some cheap, throw away paper (newspaper will do) and your charcoal or pencils.  Allow yourself only a few minutes per drawing, 2 - 5 minutes each is not too little! Once you have finished one drawing, tear off your paper and start a new one - quickly.  The key is not giving yourself time to "think" in detail - just to get marks down on paper.  Keep doing this until you need a rest.  It's good to keep varying your times but you may wish to take a longer period towards the end (10mins +) to indulge yourself in creating a more "complete" drawing.  Notice how your style and confidence has changed.

  4. GO LARGE - large paintbrush, large paper:  This may seem silly but it's fun and worth a go.  Find a large, soft, flat paintbrush and tape it to a long stick (walking stick is good). Place a large piece of paper on the floor and paint. This encourages you to use your whole arm to make broad sweeping strokes.  Go with it, paint long, sweeping lines - it feels so liberating.

  5. Keep old pieces of paper/canvases around:  This last tip isn't necessarily an exercise to loosen-up, but it may help you get over the worry of making a mistake and of thinking that you are going to ruin your beautiful, clean, white canvas - the result of which is that you don't make a start at all.  This was useful to me at art college whilst on a student budget.  Keep old paintings or drawings that haven't worked out as you planned and whenever that worry creeps up on you, the one that says "I'm don't know what I'm doing, I'm going to make a mistake" you just go to the old painting and deliberately "muck it up" with paint, ink, etc. In effect you are allowing yourself the freedom to "let that worry go."  It can get rid of all that negative energy and loosen up your arms and brain at the same time.
Above all have fun trying these - remember it's only paper and paint.

If you "like" this posting then please tick the like button below and if you are happy to share your ideas on how YOU get creative then please share them in the comments box - I would love to know. 

Thank you and Happy Creating! x

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