Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Draw on your own creativity

“I will not Reason & Compare; my business is to Create”. William Blake

You often hear people say things like ‘I’m just not very creative’, or ‘I wish I could draw like that’, as though creativity of any kind were something that only a few people possess. Creativity is expressed in so many ways, whether that be through painting, writing, design, or in more everyday ways, like cooking, gardening, decorating or DIY. So what is to stop us from expressing that creativity another way? Usually, fear.

Somehow, when it comes to more ‘serious’ creative work, we feel we somehow need to be ‘qualified’ before we even get started. But the way we learn most of the most important life skills is through trial and error. It is mainly the fear of making mistakes, fear of embarrassing ourselves in public, of being humiliated, or ‘looking stupid’ that stops many of us from seeing ourselves as ‘creative’.

One of the simplest (and cheapest) creative mediums to begin with is drawing. The simple act of drawing is not just fun, it is thought by many to be a crucial part of learning as well as a form of self-expression. Art therapists believe that the creative process of drawing can help us to cope better with stress, work through traumatic experiences, increase cognitive abilities and have better relationships with family and friends. It helps us to develop a better understanding of ourselves and the way we relate to the people around us.

But if the thought of staring at a blank sheet of paper with a pencil in your hand terrifies you, why not pop along to an organised workshop?

From 1st to 31st October 2008, the Campaign for Drawing invites everyone to join in the Big Draw. Over 1000 venue, including; galleries, museums, science centres, heritage and environmental sites, libraries, archives, community and shopping centres, colleges, schools and art clubs, are hosting drawing activities for people of all abilities.

An educational charity, the Campaign sees drawing as a life skill: a vital tool for thinking, inventing and communicating, creativity, social and cultural engagement. The Big Draw proves that drawing is an enjoyable public activity as well as a private passion. It is inspired by the visionary Victorian artist and writer, John Ruskin, whose mission was not to teach people how to draw, but how to see.

So create something. Just sit down, grab a pencil and do whatever you want to do in an unschooled, amateurish way. Admittedly, your first doodles may not seem like much, but don’t give up, and don’t worry about what other people might think. No-one will judge you. While you may not be the next Picasso, you might just discover something about yourself, and at the very least you could clean up next time you play Pictionary.

To learn more about The Big Draw and the Campaign for Drawing, visit http://www.thebigdraw.org.uk/

And if you want to feel doubly good about doodling, check out these beautiful FSC certified pencils, profits from which go towards The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, who use art therapy to help the people they work with http://www.re-everything.com/resourceful/proddetail.php?prod=0031

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