Why make Art? Art is Therapy

Why every person should be an artist, plus prompts for any skill level and other free resources.

I feel pain in my heart when someone says that they wish they were creative or that they aren’t a creative person.

Even though someone might not have the drive to do create very often, there is no good reason why they shouldn’t. You’re human, of course you’re creative.

The desire to create is enough to make, create something, anything.

I love to see little doodles on notes or on birthday cards and that kind of human touch. I feel like the push for any experienced creative to capitalize on their work has others thinking that if they couldn’t make money, they’re not an artist and therefore don’t make art.

They would be wrong, because art doesn’t have to be your profession for you to make it, engage with it and be an artist by definition.

They would also be wrong to use the excuse that they’re not good at art because they will never “get better” without practice or exploration.

Putting a pencil to paper or your finger across the face of a tablet has the same purpose as it always has: to put a piece of you into view.

I’m reminded of the stereotype that poets are sad or haunted, and of mad scientists or radical artists. The reason they create is to be heard, to express feelings and ideas that might have trouble being realized and processed otherwise.

Art therapy is is really any art that isn’t paid for in advance: personal expression. Art is about making art not the art you make.

This kind of outlet is extremely personal and important: the kind wherein the end result doesn’t really matter.

It might not seem highly beneficial at first to try something unfamiliar.

Like with yoga, a little practice goes a long way. Many artists describe the processes they do (when making art) as meditative and healing.

I’ve experienced this painting myself. When I was in this meditative state, I felt like I didn’t have to worry about anything, even the art I was making.

When I would let the paint drip slowly down a piece of cardboard I used as my canvas or mixing colors just to mix the colors on the page with my fingers, I was focused but also free from worry or doubt.

A representation of Joy and Love. The lines are not purposeful: only the color is. (soft pastels)

Some even make art or create art diaries where no one else but the artist is allowed to view it, and art stays their personal outlet and documents only their journey. This helps create a barrier from shame or fear.

You’ll notice I mentioned poetry and even science because those too are creative, iterative processes that some people enjoy doing.

I’m not suggesting everyone draw or paint,
but find an outlet to express themselves.

Art has never needed to be fancy, and I’m reminded of Andy Warhol, a key figure in the Pop Art movement. He liked soup, and that was enough a part of him to express that by putting the soup in the spot light.

He once said :

“Art is anything you can get away with.”

It was true when he painted Campbell’s soup cans, and it’s true today.

Recommendations

For anyone I would say try something you might have done before, or imitate a style you often look at.

Doodling flowers, stars and hearts is something many find themselves doing or even writing in a purposeful way, like calligraphy could be a good place to start. For someone with little to no previous interest, I’ll say follow your gut.

That’s how I’ve always fostered my interest in any medium: by noticing which styles from others I admire most, which ones make my stomach feel light and keep my attention the longest.

If you need to ease into it, or have little time, prompts are a great way to start.

Here’s a short list of some drawing exercises I always come back to:

  • Scribble in one line, connecting the ends when the page is filled with enough shapes. Then, find a picture in the scribbles and make it visible.
  • Draw something you can see, in any style
  • Draw one line, in any simple shape. Make a picture from the line, trying to make it into a part of the picture.
  • Imply a shape with only abstract shapes to fill it up.
  • Draw on only an index card or sticky note: the lack of space can be a challenge or take the pressure off as an already disposable piece of paper.
This may have multiple prompts: the line down the center may have been the first line, and this is also an implied shape, drawn on an index card.
  • Combine two things that aren’t usually combined. Sometimes I combine three things or more if they’re simple enough: I often combine drips like slime with simple, rigid shapes because I like the flow and curved lines of the drips, and contrast them with straight lines and sharp corners:
Two combinations with drips: the left combines drips, splatter and cloud shapes. The second has drips coming from floating boxes. The first is made with ink and colored with colored pencils while the second is only colored ink outlines. The first can be flipped upside down while the other implies only one source of gravity.

See also:

2D Traditional

Zentangles, doodling with patterns

You don’t need to follow the rules of the method, unless you want to.
Zentangle Patterns: 42 Simple Ideas” from improvedrawing.com

Exercises for building skill:

5 Drawing Exercises That Will Turn Anyone Into an Artist” by Emily Potts

Accent, Journaling Art

Bullet Journaling” Pinterest Board by Sam Skeels (me)
Lettering Ideas” Pinterest Board by Sam Skeels (me)

Digital

Digital: no skill required:

Try Inkscape. It’s a free program to make shapes, lines and text.

Animate in your browser:

Brush Ninja GIF Creator

Color combo tool:

Adobe Color wheel and pallette

Type Games Online:

“Boost your skills with these fun typography games” by Kelsey Bryant

Other

Poetry/Writing

Poetrysoup.com

Crochet

Crochet Ideas” Pinterest Board by Sam Skeels (me)

Origami Ideas:

Origami Pinterest Board by Sam Skeels (me)

Easy Crafts, Paper Crafts mostly

Easy Crafts” by Sam Skeels (me)

Crafts, with extra supplies:

Art/Crafts For When You’re Bored by Moriah Elizabeth (1.2 Million views)

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