Have you recognized the reason for last couple of exercises? We all have an artist gene in us. The problem is that, from an early age we’ve been told that we have no talent; and worse still, we believed it. We may not paint like Holbein (Elizabeth I portraits) but there’s a little Picasso or Mondrian in all of us. da Vinci kept sketch books, too.
Here I present a couple of exercises that will further loosen us up. They need not be done every time you sit down to create: they are to help you get into ‘the zone,’ that magic place where you find inspiration.
Did you do finger painting when you were a child? My first finger painting was at the age of 40!!
1 – Get some cheap finger paints – raid your tiny tot’s play cupboard or hit the crafts store, it doesn’t matter. Just make sure it’s cheap.
2 – Get a brown paper bag – a big one. Cut along one long side and across the bottom and smooth it out flat.
3 – Put on an apron – tie it around your neck. This exercise is supposed to cost little or no money so wear your junky jeans and an apron. No apron in the house? Tuck a tea towel in the collar of your shirt.
4 – Remove your rings and bracelets and watches. If you have an expensive manicure, put on rubber gloves. Turn on the CD player (is that old technology?). Put on some of your favourite music.
5 – Blop a plop of paint on the brown paper. Get dirty. Stick your hands into that plop of paint and move them around. Let the music determine which way your hands will move. Try moving your hands independently: move your left hand up and your right hand across. Let one hand squiggle and the other hand cirle. Use the backs of your hands. Just play.
6 – Fold over a dry corner into the wet paint. It looks like a Rorschach test, doesn’t it.
7 – Fold your wet painting so a wet bit gets folded onto another wet bit.
8 – Stand back. Remove all your protective layers, put on your jewellery. Let the music play. And let the paint dry.
9 – Tomorrow take another look at your finger painting. Can you see the shapes and forms you created? Try translating that to your sketch book by holding your pencil loosely and looking only at the painted paper bag: don’t look down, just look at your finger painting piece. You should save this exercise but it needs to be kept flat – no folding it once it is dry. Put it in your portfolio case.
These exercises will help to loosen you up so that when you combine your notes and rough sketches when your “Muse is upon you,” you will make inspired works of art.
Did you ever just scribble? I mean, within living memory. Not the time when you scribbled all over the wall with crayons or annotated Daddy’s big books with your ‘art’ when you were 2 years old.
1 – Get another brown paper bag and open it up as before. Get a drawing pencil, not too sharp, or an HB pencil from your child’s pencil box.
2 – Hold the pencil loosely and start scribbling: your intention is just to move the pencil and it doesn’t matter if it’s up or across or squiggly or broad. Just move the pencil.
3 – If you are very tense, hold the pencil in a fist and press hard. If you are feeling lighthearted today, lucky you, hold the pencil as loosely as possible. If you are just feeling ‘blah’, try different surfaces of the lead: make wide lines using the side of the lead and skinny lines using the tip of the pencil. Make light lines and dark lines. Make as many different impressions as you can think of.
4 – Switch hands and hold the pencil in the non-dominant hand. Feels remarkably different, doesn’t it!
5 – Draw sweeping circles, then little circles. Draw angles and triangles and squares and so on. Make them big and make them small. Did you notice a shift in mood as you went from circles to angles? Rounded lines and shapes are calming while angled lines and shapes are aggressive and can make you tense up.
6 – Keep working that pencil until you feel all your aggression and upset is gone. If you started happy you should end still feeling happy.
7 – Make quick notes about how you achieved some of the effects, how you felt while you scribbled. Suggest what would do well when drawing trees or houses or stones or …
Work with all these exercises, including those from earlier lessons, and save your work. This exercise book is not intended to be anything but private notes and observations, exercises and sketches. These ‘scribblings’ can be the forerunner of the work to come but in and of itself is the grunt work behind the scenes. Your dedication to these exercises will determine your success: the more you do the better work you will produce.
Filed under: Design Play | Tagged: HB pencil, loosening up exercises, sketch book, writers block | Leave a comment »