Drawing As TherapyThe School of Life
Hardback sketchbook | A4 with multi coloured stitching | Plain sketch paper | 132pp
We often get inhibited around drawing. After years of representing exploding spaceships and happy cows, at a certain age – maybe seven, or thirteen – we come to the forlorn conclusion that we can’t draw. Our anxietystems from the deeply natural – but ultimately misguided – idea that we can’t enjoy drawing privately, just for ourselves. We judge our achievements by some external, and actually irrelevant, standard. We glance longingly at art materials; we like the weight of a particular pencil; we are charmed by the heavier texture of the paper. But often we lack the courage to start again and let ourselves draw. There’s such a lot of anxiety around failure. The act of drawing – if you are like this – is in itself a therapeutic move. It is a demonstration that fears can be tamed and that inhibitions can yield to fun.
One thing drawing helps us with is the bizarre fact that we generally don’t actually notice very much of what is around us in the world. Of course we know that a person’s ear is stuck to the side of their head – but it’s only when we try to sketch an actual person’s head that we start to notice where and how. It’s a huge, unendingly valuable lesson: there’s so much going on around us all the time that we don’t really see until we make ourselves look at it.
Or you might want to flesh out a daydream. What would the perfect beach house look like? Or a tower a thousand storeys high? Map out a fantasy island.
We rely too much on words. It can be wonderfully meditative and soothing to forget the world and concentrate for a while on the process of marking the page: making a line, spreading a colour, seeing what happens, without worrying what the result will be.