Finding my artistic voice: Asking myself questions and painting the answers


Welcome to the second post in a series that I’ll be writing which will take you along on my journey to find my artistic voice. I’ve been making a serious crack at my art for about a year now, but when I look back at the piles of work I’ve done there doesn’t seem to be a cohesiveness to it. During the month of August I’m taking an introspective approach to finding my artistic voice so I can take my art to the next level.

Sometimes I have an amazing journaling session and then realize that it would make a great blog post. I have been on this path to solidify my artistic voice for a couple of weeks now, and coincidentally Skillshare recommenced a class to me that seemed to fit nicely into this path: Drawing for Personal Growth: 5 Exercises for Self-Discovery. I’m not sponsored by Skillshare, but I do use the services a LOT, and if you sign up with the link above you get two months free and I get one month free! This post isn’t a review of the class so much as a detailed description of what I learned about myself while taking it. With all of that out of the way, lets talk about what I got out of asking myself questions and painting the answers.

In the class instructor Meera Lee Patel walks you through five simple exercises that, simply put, are questions to get you thinking about things that maybe you don’t regularly think about.

What makes you different?

On face value this is difficult, and it’s something I’d been trying to grapple with for a while. What’s different about me and how can I incorporate this into my work? Another way I like to phrase it is “what makes me weird?” except “weird” is a good thing now that I’m out of high school.

What I really enjoyed about this exercise was trying to illustrate the more abstract ideas like the notion of passions, dreams, and feelings. I’m also happy to finally be able to answer half of one of the big questions I’m always asking. Now to figure out how to incorporate these things into my work.


What are your fears?

This exercise was interesting. As someone with anxiety, my fears are something I think about often. But the way this exercise was done led to me coming up with fears I think of less often than the ones typically shouted at my by my inner monologue, and a couple that I hadn’t thought of at all. My health came up because I’d recently learned of a family member getting sick and I’d been wondering if their illness increased my chances of getting the same illness, so that one was more circumstantial I think. And interestingly time moving too quickly is something I often worry about. I think that’s why I love stories about time travel and I choose time travel as my one super power whenever I’m asked that question. But usually my fear is around running out of time, starting things too late, etc., and not related to looking older or fading youth. I think this was triggered because the exercise called for us to stare into a mirror. I need to get my skin care game on track.


What colours are included in the palette of your life?

As a lover of colour, this exercise spoke to me viscerally. We were to take two pages and write five things down on each page. One page was labeled “ideal world” and we would list five things that we aspired to have or, if we’re lucky, we already have and are that much closer to our ideal. The second page was labeled “current world” and we would list five things that are currently filling up our time and mental space wither they were ideal or not.

Once we had our lists, we meditated on each item to determine which colour they appeared to us in, and then we painted that colour. I don’t know how practically helpful this exercise was, but it did help me see that some of the things I’m currently anxious about can be fixed and get me closer to my ideal world. For example I aspire to financial freedom, but currently have a lot of financial anxiety. I can work on setting a budget to reduce debt and save money, and following that will get me closer to my ideal.


How do you cultivate your creativity?

This was another exercise that looked at current vs. future states, and it was pretty simple: list three ways you currently cultivate your creativity in one Venn diagram, and then three ways you can do so in the future in a second diagram. This was perfect for the journey I’m currently on because it was nice to see that I’m already doing a pretty good job, there are just a couple of missing pieces for me to work into the puzzle that is my weekly routine: more practice/experimentation, and healthy diet and exercise. I spent some time over the last two days planning out a weekly routine that allows time for both of these things and I’ll let you know how that goes after I’ve been at it for a bit.


What are you grateful for?

The final exercise was a doozy. Not only did I have a hard time coming up with three things I’m grateful for, I had a hard time coming up with three things I was grateful that I could illustrate with more form and detail than the fun blobs I did in exercise one. I wanted to get away from the more abstract illustrations for this one, because this whole series is about trying to find my illustration style after all, and my style is not abstract blobs. in the end I’m happy with how this turned out for the most part. Something is off with the map illustration. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I think what I like about the first ones is that the paint is mainly transparent with a few more opaque elements, whereas the map is mostly opaque.


Final thoughts

I really enjoyed these exercises, and I think it’s something I would like to revisit maybe once a year. As a result of this class I’ve made some changes to my routine to incorporate things that will get me closer to my ideal creative practice and style. Ultimately what I’ve learned is I need to…


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