What is Creativity?
Whether you’re here to look at creative drawings or get motivation and ideas to make them yourself, this process will take you to a new place with art. Some of the steps may seem strange, but give them a try, then let me know what you produce at the end of the exercise. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Step 1: Relax Into Your Breath
Let’s start with a breath. Creativity means flowing with the breath. Breathe in and imagine a line of ink flowing up from your chest to fill your brain with colorful light. Creativity means light. Now imagine that breath-light starting to radiate outward from your head like this drawing demonstrates:
Step 2: Pick Up Your Pen And…
Next, pick up your writing instrument. In my case it’s a stylus with a digital tablet, but perhaps you have a real-life pen or pencil. Perchance you have an ice cream cone writing on marshmallow fluff — whatever your art context, it’s all good! Place it on your surface and breathe in. Then as you breathe out, flow a line forward. Maybe your line curves, and maybe it spikes straight. However it goes is how it should be.
Even if you end up erasing the first few lines, they are the most important in getting the healthy creative momentum going and unleashing what’s waiting to come out of your hands. For example, in my drawing process video below, you can see that my first lines for the orange-haired woman were… a birthday cake. (A benefit of drawing digitally is easy erasing.) Even though I got rid of that cake, letting those strokes out helped clear my mental path for the drawing to come.
VIDEO: Creative Drawings Being Made
Step 3: Ask, Where Does that Line Lead?
Breathe and take a look at the mark you’ve made on the page. If you listen, it will explain the next place to draw. It will tell you what it wants to be, and it may make you smile as you ink it further. Follow its directions and flesh out the piece, remembering to breathe and flow with it.
However your drawing ends up is how it should be. Your creativity is perfect exactly as it is right now — and the more you practice, the more techniques you’ll develop. The only mistake is not trying, or in forgetting to speak lovingly to yourself as you journey through the path of art.
I’ve been a happy teacher for 16 years, and the biggest issue I see inhibiting creativity growth in students — or adults for that matter — is flow being blocked by self-doubt. Often this happens when people juxtapose someone else’s work with their own and wonder why theirs looks so different. Aww — forget that!
The key to producing imaginative art that makes you happy is to trust and embrace YOURSELF enough to start moving with the lines. Follow where your own lines go, and know that it’s all good!
What’re YOUR Thoughts on Creative Drawings?
From my octopus cartoon to my liminal space illustrations, I’ve made some epically weird and random art on this site — but I do it not only because it makes me happy, but also to help you remember that creativity is all around us… and it’s sure in you, too.
Sure, you can watch expert tutorials (they are excellent for getting specific techniques down), and stare for hours at objects to draw them perfectly (that works!) but ultimately, nothing matters more than you loving your own lines — even if they’re a little wobbly, and even if they depict creatures from your imagination which look nothing like reality. Sometimes we all need a little break from reality, and a big visit to our own internal vibrations, right?
If you try the 3-step method above for getting your creative drawing flowing, do let me know how it goes! If you have a different set of steps that work well for you instead for art prompts, I’d love to hear them in the comments section so others can learn from them as well. Do share!
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The author and artist, Lillie Marshall, is a National Board Certified Teacher of English and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. All art on this site is original and hand-drawn by Lillie. She launched DrawingsOf.com Educational Cartoons in 2020, building upon the success of her other two sites, AroundTheWorldL.com (established 2009) and TeachingTraveling.com (founded 2010). Subscribe to Lillie’s monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media to stay connected!