Why draw?

Bic biro

A bic biro, my former favourite thing to draw with. The thing is, with biro – you can’t erase the imperfections

Because it’s relaxing. It does something good to my head.

Ah. I feel better. I feel absorbed. Concentration and absorption are a kind of relaxation, for a scatty, hundred-ideas-per-minute person like me.

Because meditating is harder

This is, like swimming, or walking, a kind of meditation through occupation. Easier than a pure breathing meditation when your thoughts and failure to let them flow away from you sometimes comes up and shouts at you in the face. As a student I used to (famously – my best woman brought it up in her wedding speech) – rise and go to a zen dojo (yes, there is one in Leeds) for their early morning meditation. The frustration, boredom, and sensation of fighting your drooping eyelids would put me in a stinker of a mood for the rest of the day, and I’d go to bed at noon for a siesta. (Now I’m having a better meditation experience using Mindfulness).

To stay wonky

‘Stay wonky’ are words on the Aardvaark print house’s manifesto that we have on our kitchen wall.

So I draw. In my imperfect, wonky way. I accept what I draw. I recommend that if you like to draw, you do so. Set yourself impossibly short time limits and just scribble it out. As my last drawing teacher, a charismatic myopic motorbike-wearing Greek guy called Stelios would say:

“If you’re going to wreck it, you might as well wreck it quickly and get onto the next thing”.

Imperfection is what this blog is all about. In trying to solve some of the ways I sabotage my life, I’m not aiming for perfection. I’m just aiming for the hinderances not to dominate me, not to subjugate my creativity. But I’m aware that perfectionism can also liquidize creativity too, so keep it alive, and practise accepting it, through drawing.

If you need inspiration on some artists whose work have a delicious, playful level of imperfection in it, you might like to check out:

The Big Draw festival is coming in October… to Illustrated Guide to Life

And if you want to join hundreds of others who are prepared to let rip and accept where their hand takes them, you might like to take a look and see if the Big Draw festival has events in your area – I’m running a simple daily drawing event on this blog too (more details of that later in the week)! If you’ve drawn or made something recently, you might also find a platform for it there. (Last year, in Berlin, there was a fabulous afternoon scrawling graffiti in a warehouse and operating a giant puppet, and I showed an animation I’d done there called Head Space).

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Who is your favourite imperfect artist? Leave your comment below (click on the pale grey dot with a ‘plus’ sign to open comments) and I’ll do a lottery of all the commenters and email you one of my own imperfect drawings to the winner.