How do I find my way into drawing?

Scribbling without intention and the quality of the line

First of all, through the design of your workspace. It doesn’t take much. You need a table that during this time is reserved for drawing. Remove everything else from the table. Prepare a drawing pad and paper, arrange your drawing materials, pencils of different degrees of hardness, eraser, sharpener and perhaps some paper towels.
The drawing space must feel right for you. In terms of light, the sun should not shine directly on the page, but your body should not cast a shadow on it either. The chair you sit on should be designed in a way you can sit comfortably. The space has to be one that you like, a place where you can work during this time.

Some people of you have a studio at home. Those who have to create such a place first, prepare an existing table as a workspace for the time of drawing. If you prepare the space well and thoughtfully, in time you will get the feeling of having a small studio in your own space.

Preparing the drawing sheets is also important: set aside several drawing sheets and oil some of them. You can use oil paint diluted with terpinol, just terpinol alone or a sewing machine oil you have at home. I would advise against using turpentine because its vapors are not necessarily healthy. But maybe you have terpinol, it’s an odorless painting agent and would be the ideal solution. Unless you are working on a balcony or terrace. In any case, make sure you prepare a few sheets in advance. Be careful if it’s thin paper, so it doesn’t crumple when you wipe it.

Then prepare some music. Music, you feel is just right for the beginning of your drawing process. Music that suits you and your mood. It doesn’t matter whether it’s classical or contemporary music, pop or rock music, folk music, jazz or tango or whatever you love. Prepare some music, think about what you like.

Before you start to draw, stand up and do a few exercises. Stretch, take deep breaths. In and out. Several times. When you stretch, mobilize, and bend your body, do it in a way that you can enjoy it, not in a way that you tear yourself apart or overdo it. Rather in a way that it loosens you up and puts you in a good physical condition.
Now you sit down but you don’t have a pen in your hand yet. Close your eyes and breathe consciously through your body. Very consciously. Don’t hold on to any thoughts. Just look to see which ones are there. They are allowed to come and go. Then consciously return to your breath.

Feel how you’re sitting. Starting with your feet on the floor, you scan your body with your attention. Feel your feet sitting on the floor, how they’re at right angles to the chair and how they’re not crossed. Feel the lower legs up to the knees and the thighs. You should especially feel your buttocks.

Notice your spine, your shoulders, your upper arms, your hands. Then slide your attention up to your neck and your head. Up to the top of the head, forward to the forehead. Be aware of your eyes. The temples, the nose, the mouth, the inside of the mouth, the chin, the neck, the chest, the abdomen. Breathe through your whole body. Very consciously. Focus only on what you feel in yourself and your body at this moment. You settle in.

Now switch on the music. You can close your eyes again. And with your eyes closed take your pen and place it on your prepared paper. And follow only what the music tells you, what inspiration it gives you.

Scribble, with the utmost attention on the tip of the pencil – softly pressed on, strongly pressed on, whether it is short strokes or dots, long lines, short lines, curved lines, straight lines – that is for you to decide in the moment, with absolute attention.

Try not to get mechanical but follow the inspiration of the music. Sometimes it is rather the melodies that are important. Then pay attention to which instruments you hear. You will notice there are other instruments that take over again and again. You notice the rhythm, the change of rhythm. Loud and soft. The mood the music puts you in.

And so, you work on your page, completely in unity with the music. With your attention on the drawing, on the pencil tip and on your hand guiding it. You can draw this work with your right hand as well as with your left hand. Just try. When you have a feeling, the drawing could be finished, only then do you open your eyes. And that is the end of the first experiment.

Then you can take a new sheet. You can also take a dry sheet to find out how the line you draw at that moment, with the pencil on the non-oiled sheet, is different to the line on the oiled sheet. To find out what the hand has to do to create good lines.

While you are working with the pencil, the pencil can spin. This will sharpen it as you draw and work. But please do not draw shapes. No circles, spirals or whatever. It’s about doodling, being free, being intuitive. About responding to the moment and not pursuing anything other than the quality of these lines and graphic characters that are in the making.

If you feel like the piece of music has much more to offer than you can capture on one sheet of paper, work through this music on different sheets. If you feel like, yes, I’ve exhausted all of this music, I want something new, then of course you go on to the next one! You have no limits. Really try to concentrate on those lines. And when you get tired, you have to stop and take a break.

On the drawing sheet, make a note of what music and what day it was. All the numbers and letters of the caption are part of the picture. And they are very deliberately placed.

You can practice this on another sheet. The following advice applies to all the thoughts, ideas, words, or sentences that run through your head while you’re drawing: Write them down immediately in a notebook or on a sheet of paper lying next to you. Write them down immediately, these thoughts are precious.

Good luck!