Adjacents: Trusting Your Instincts

Lookit what I did!


It’s called The Bowler. This is a drawing I did in about three minutes. What I’m most proud of about this picture and why I’m posting it here is not its skill but the process I took to make it and what it taught me.


It was done with colored pencil nubs (the broken tips that collect in your pencil sharpener). I took two nubs and rolled them up and down the page. That was where I started, and what would eventually be the beard of my Bowler. Then I put them about a few inches apart and ran my hand over the page so that they would spread out, causing a swirling effect. That was when I noticed what looked to be a foot. From there I instantly drew the other leg and foot on the bottom.


This is what’s known as Automatic Drawing. You start with a squiggle, and then you let your imagination go. From there, it was half automatic, half deliberate. From the legs, I saw the beard and drew some eyes.


The cool part is that this could’ve been a dancer. Or two storks. Or a pair of scissors. That’s why I love this picture —it’s made in part with the help of my unconscious.


The really telling and scary part of this whole project came exactly when I knew what I wanted it to be but still decided to be automatic and squiggle and explore. At that moment in any artist’s creating, you are always given the choice to let go or take the reins. I let go, and what happened eventually was that the figure became a bowler.


Lesson? Do not be afraid of letting go. If you’re a writer like me, go off on a side story. If you’re a painter, let go of the power of your hand and mark the canvas in an unpredictable way. A dancer: step off beat. A sculptor: crack a piece off of that figure. The point is THIS is where creation is and THIS is where your true voice and style reside—riding the wave of creativity with your Muse. Hold on too tight, and you’ll choke the flow; let go for too long, and it’ll slip away.


And have fun! The beauty of every art piece is that it’s absolutely precious and disposable simultaneously!

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