About 2 weeks ago I embarked on a daily drawing challenge. That is, to draw something from nature every day.
Why nature? Because spending time in nature makes me happy! Why drawing? Because it makes me slow down, and discover wonders by observing closely. Why a daily habit? To allow myself at least one nature fix, and one creative act per day. This is probably just as important to my health and wellbeing as brushing my teeth (which I do twice per day!) so why not do it?
Also, a daily practice, with no defined ‘end product’ allows me some space to be playful with my drawing and creating.
If you’ve ever been interested in drawing, I encourage you do a little drawing every day. Sounds hard? Here are three important tips to help you get started and keep going:
1. Use a very small sketchbook – A6 or A5 size. That will mean you don’t have to fill up a big page, and perhaps more importantly, you can keep it in your pocket or bag wherever you go. So even if you think you have no spare time in your day, that 5 or 10 minutes spent waiting somewhere… you could do a quick sketch (instead of looking at your phone?) and grab a bit of creative time, just for you.
2. Be kind to yourself, and try to let go of perfection or expectation. If you’re tired, just do a doodle or stick figures. Or a contour drawing like this one:
(instructions on how to do a contour drawing, can be found on page 15 of my free ebook Make a Date with Nature). Don’t strive to create a masterpiece. Instead, just enjoy the opportunity to look closely and to draw. Try to release that pressure to create a certain kind of ‘product’. The best kind of play is open ended… and playful!
3. Limit yourself to just a few simple materials. For my daily drawing challenge I’m using an A5 watercolour sketchbook, an aquabrush, an ink pen, and a set of watercolour paints that I’ve had for about 15 years and never really used. I haven’t used this set because I’m a little scared of watercolours, and I’m not very good at mixing colours (the set has a very small range of colours, so you have to mix them to get the colours you want). But by forcing myself to experiment with them every day (without any defined end point) I’m learning a lot about how they work, and gradually losing my apprehension.
Over the course of this challenge I have been pushed to do new things, and also to relax more about my drawing. Best of all has been the quiet moments of focus and peace each day, when I observe something from nature closely, and try to respond to it on the page. I always see something new, and learn something new.
I encourage you to give daily drawing a go. You don’t need to show anyone else, and you certainly don’t need to strive for perfection. Just do it for yourself, and reward yourself with a daily connection to nature.
P.S. Fairy wren tea towels are back in stock!