Release the Sketcher Within

Recently, I have found myself frustrated. Artistically. My head has been mainly a ball of fuzz for the last couple of months, which I don’t blame (but don’t not blame) on the busyness of life, with family and friends visiting, working two jobs, volunteering and so on and so forth. Since I haven’t really let my artistic juices flow in a long time, when I have had the urge to create I have lacked inspiration and desperately tried to avoid the deafening emptiness in my head.

You cannot teach inspiration, and despite how we may sentimentally hold people who have inspired us, you cannot give it as a gift to someone. You can only inspire someone to find their own inspiration; show someone the beginning of a path that they themselves must journey. Granted, when creative people come together, there is almost without a doubt an explosion of innovation. But it is not a passive process; you cannot be inspired to create if you do not contribute to the creation yourself.

I say all this to tell you that yesterday I was resting in my bedroom, as I have been unwell. I really wanted to draw; art is medicine for me. And I found myself yet again staring at a blank piece of paper, tapping my pencil against the page, trying to pick something from my brain. Then I started to sketch. I sketched a nearby photograph on my wall of my home city. I sketched the cover of the magazine strewn next to me. I drew a picture of my child counterpart climbing a tree. Anything I could see, anything I thought about, I sketched.  Released from my creative stalemate, my passion is once more ignited, energized by the loose and free quality of sketching. I used to think sketching was boring – how can something that anyone can see or draw be meaningful? But we all have different vantage points, and interpret things through our own experiences, subconscious though that may be. In that way, drawing is like a signature or a thumbprint – each person has their own mark. The thing is with sketching, it isn’t meant to be a polished work of art. The rules of precision and completion don’t apply, and often the quicker you capture your subject, the better the sketch. It certainly take the pressure off, especially if you have the crippling disease that often plagues me, perfectionism.

I challenge you: release the sketcher within! Take a notebook, and draw what you see, wherever you are. If you don’t have a notebook, draw on a napkin, or a receipt, or a gum wrapper. There are no rules! You will surprise yourself at what you capture when you allow yourself the space to create.

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