I have a confession to make. I get really uptight when I draw. You’ll find my trashcan filled with crumpled pages from my drawing pad when I’m working on a new drawing for one of my mixed media art pieces.
The reason I get so frustrated is that things usually don’t turn out how I’ve pictured them in my head. Sometimes, that’s okay, because I end up liking the result. But other times, I let my inner critic win, and I just give up. You don’t want to be in my craft room when I’m trying to draw a face, because I might have a tantrum that’ll rival a six-year-old with ADHD who’s just dropped his ice-cream cone.
That’s when I have to remind myself that I love art. Because, I truly do, even when I’m no good at it. At this point, I’ll usually turn to one of my trusted techniques to loosen up. Today, I’m going to share one of my favorite exercises for sparking creative thinking without pressure.
Materials: Black artist’s pen or black extra-fine tip permanent marker, 10 index cards, timer, magazine or internet
- Find 10 different pictures of people’s faces online or in magazines.
- Set a timer for 3 minutes.
- Take your first index card, hold your pen or marker with your non-dominant hand, and draw the first face in less than 3 minutes. Keep your eyes on the person’s face that you’re drawing more than your index card.
- When the timer goes off, stop. Reset the timer for 3 minutes and then move on to the next face.
- Continue this process until you’ve drawn all 10 faces.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes, but don’t try to fix mistakes that you make. That’s why you’re using a drawing tool that you can’t erase.
- You don’t have to show these drawings to anyone, so just have fun. Continue to remind yourself that it’s just a creativity exercise—nothing serious.
- Take this exercise to the next level by using one of the drawings in your art journal.