Every October the Big Draw Festival aims to encourage everyone to get back to the drawing board. With events, activities and workshops hosted around the globe it celebrates drawing and the wonderful impact it can have.
As children, drawing and art is a central activity. However, as we get older, this tends to slip away and many of us can’t recall the last time we drew or painted anything. But there are many ways that drawing, colouring and art can help us in our daily lives and be used to help with wellbeing and our mental health.
Colouring in Over the last few years, there has been a surge of colouring books for adults. From wildlife and animals to TV and film-themed books there is something for everyone. This activity allows people to express their creativity and take a step back from technology and digital screens. Studies have been conducted on the impact this can have and have found that there are mental health gains for adults colouring-in for as little as 10 minutes per day (Guardian). Psychologist Scott M Bea suggests that colouring relaxes people as “it’s a simple activity that takes us outside ourselves” (Cleveland Clinic) and as it’s a low stakes activity with no real consequences for ‘messing up’ it can be a wonderful escape.
Bullet Journalling Journaling has been a long-standing way of allowing one to reflect on the day, life events and feelings and has long been known to improve wellbeing (Positive Psychology). Recently Bullet Journaling has become a popular way to plan and reflect. This diary that combines writing and drawing can be used to log daily to-dos, keep a calendar, make notes, track thoughts and feelings and record short and long term goals (Oprah daily). A bullet journal isn’t something you buy already formed, but instead, you purchase a blank or dotted grid journal and create your own designs and something unique to you and your journey. The journals help you to explore your creative side with doodles, sketches and colour coded notes. It can help you express thoughts and feelings in drawings that can’t be put down in words. For inspiration on what to include click here.
Mindful Drawing Mindful drawing is a way to relax and is focused more on the process rather than the end product. Mindfulness is the ability to “be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us” (Mindful). Although simple in concept, being completely mindful is a hard state to achieve, but mindful drawing can be a tool to help achieve this. To make a drawing exercise mindful, it is important you stay present in the moment. You observe sensations of the drawing, including the sight, smell, sounds and touch. You slow down and take time to observe and not think about what the end product will look like. It’s important that you observe and not judge while you are drawing and focus on the process rather than the finished product. There are many benefits of this practice including reduced stress, increased confidence, re-kindling of creativity and bringing a sense of peace (Susan Yeates).
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” - Pablo Picasso.
Many of us enjoy drawing and colouring as children but these creative interests and hobbies often fall away as we reach adulthood. We often stop hobbies when we don’t believe we are good enough and there is a fear of making mistakes. But drawing and art has so many benefits and learning not to focus on the end product, but rather the process can open up a world of creativity and possibility.