How to draw from your experiences (part 1)

How to draw from your experience part 1

... Photo by Jesse Millan

Have you ever thought about yourself as being unique? As of 2014, the world population is estimated at 7.168 billion.
So I find it amazing to think we are all individual, all with a unique perspective on life and the world we live in.

What we see, what we hear, what we touch, how we interact with others, the places we go, our personality and our talents. All these things and more make us unique as individuals.

One of the ways we can express that uniqueness is through creativity. For me, I love taking all sorts of ideas and making connections with them then visually communicating those ideas through different mediums.

That’s why I enjoy graphic design. In fact, ever since I was a young child I’ve loved to create things whether it be through drawing, painting or getting my hands stuck into gooey clay.

Childhood memories

I remember a piece of artwork I made when I was 8 years old at school. (Unfortunately, I no longer have it to show you). The memories associated with that artwork is still etched in my mind. My school teacher would often take us for object lessons to the back of the school grounds. The school was then surrounded by farms with rolling hills, native bush and tussock grass. We were shown how to learn through observation and interacting with our surroundings.

On this particular day, the teacher taught us about the ‘horizon line’ that separates the sky from the land. The aim of this lesson was to understand that you need to draw a ‘virtual’ horizon to construct a picture in perspective.
I still remember the feeling of the warm sun and slight breeze on my face, the sound of long grass swishing and tussock beneath my feet as I found a place to setup my workspace and create.

As I look back, the lesson was not only about the ‘how to’s in drawing a horizon line, but an outlet for creative expression. I was expressing how I perceived and interacted with ‘the world’ at that particular moment.
I captured the moment, impressed it on my mind then expressed what I experienced through a medium – in this case crayon and paper. I was ‘drawing from my experience’.

Drawing from your experience in 3 easy steps:

1. Observation

Don’t just see – observe. Something Sherlock Holmes can teach us about observation.
When we observe the world in which we live and interact we can collect data. When we take time to stop and ‘smell the roses’  our senses are heightened.

We notice the details, the quirks, the features that perhaps normally we would miss because life is too busy to stop and notice.
We need to train ourselves to stop and observe our surroundings. It could be in the garden pulling weeds, the coffee shop sipping a cup of coffee, reading a children’s book with our children.

Observing the details like colours, taste, texture, the sounds around us, gives us a resource of information that we can pull from and use to create our art.


Steps 2 and 3 to come



Is there something that you have created and value that expresses who you are as an individual?


Heather Lee

Heather Lee

Heather has had many years experience as a graphic designer in both the advertising and publishing industry. She enjoys helping others by providing solutions to visual problems for print and the web.
Heather Lee

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