drawing_your_lifeDo you think drawing is something that only other people do? Does the idea of drawing in public scare you? Why not hold a Portrait Party and find out that there’s nothing to be scared of and that everyone can draw?!

In my new book, Drawing Your Life, I hope to encourage you to pick up a pen or pencil and start to draw the everyday and ordinary things around you. The book is full of encouraging prompts to help you make drawing a regular part of your life.

One of my favorite things in the book is the section on holding a Portrait Party. A Portrait Party is a gathering of friends (or strangers!) where everyone draws portraits of everyone else at the party. The only rule — the thing that will help break the ice and show everyone that they can draw –  is that no one should look at their paper whilst they’re drawing!nobbs1

Drawing without looking at your paper is a very freeing experience. And everyone will start to relax because no one can produce the “perfect” drawing.

As I write in my book, “When we first start to draw we have a tendency to draw what we think we see, rather than what we’re actually looking at. We also often worry about what our drawing looks like and that can make us too nervous to actually put pen to paper.”

Over the next twelve months I’m planning to hold Portrait Parties around the UK, North America and hopefully further afield. If you would like to help me organize one near you, contact me via my website (address below).

 

Michael Nobbs is an artist, blogger and tea drinker  — not necessarily in that order. In the late 1990s michaelnobbshe was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalopathy/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and now blogs and tweets about drawing, keeping things simple, and maintaining a creative career despite limited energy. His book, Drawing Your Life: Learn to See Record and Appreciate Life’s Small Joys has just been published by Perigee/Penguin. Check out his website at: http://www.sustainablycreative.com.

Follow him on Twitter @michaelnobbs

 

 


drawing_your_lifeI’m a great believer in the power of working a little and often in order to reach our creative goals.

My book, Drawing Your Life, is the largest single project I’ve ever undertaken. When I started I knew I had 208 pages to fill and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t daunted. (I have produced a number of short eBooks but was able to produce those at my own pace.)

Living with Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue syndrome means that I’m a little like an old rechargeable battery that no longer holds much of a charge. Each day I have a very limited amount of energy and I have to make decisions about how best to make use of it.

Over the years I’ve learned a lot about focusing my available energy on just one thing each day that I decide is most important. As much as possible I try to make that one thing a creative something. On most days whilst I was making Drawing Your Life that one thing was working on the book.

nobbs_creativity

I began by splitting the book into manageable chunks. I drew 104 lines on the blackboard in my studio—one line for each two page spread of the book. I then aimed to work on one spread at a time in short twenty minute chunks. Some of the simpler spreads could be completed in one session; some took many 20-minute blocks. Working this way I knew I only had to work for twenty minutes and that if I kept repeating the process I would eventually have a finished book. As I finished each spread I crossed a line off on my blackboard and had a little celebration.

Drawing Your Life is a book was created in short blocks of time — and it is a book that can be used in short blocks of time.

nobbs_one_thingIf you have a hankering to draw your own life, but don’t feel as though you have the energy or the time, think again. In the book you’ll find lots of encouragement to pick up a pen or pencil and make a small drawing of something right in front of you. And if you keep doing one little drawing at a time, you’ll eventually have a book full of drawings of your life.

 

Michael Nobbs is an artist, blogger and tea drinker  — not necessarily in that order. In the late 1990s he was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalopathy/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and now blogs and tweets about drawing, keeping things simple, and maintaining a creative career despite limited energy. His book, Drawing Your Life: Learn to See Record and Appreciate Life’s Small Joys has just been published by Perigee/Penguin. Check out his website at: http://www.sustainablycreative.com.

Follow him on Twitter @michaelnobbs


drawing_your_lifeDrawing always felt like it was something other people did. People with a natural talent… like artists. People like me looked longingly at art supplies (maybe even sometimes bought a sketchbook and a pen) but never actually “drew” with them!

Back in the early 2000′s I was spending a lot of time in bed. I’d been diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalopathy (commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and I was feeling very low. There was very little joy in my life.

For years I’d look on enviously at those of my friends who had taken art classes at school, some of whom had gone on to art school and were now practicing artists. At 32, ill in bed and feeling as though I had no talent it seemed as though it was too late for me to even start to try and draw let alone become an artist.

For my 32nd birthday a friend gave me a very small sketchbook and a copy of Julia Cameron’s The michael_nobbs1Artist’s Way. At first Julia’s wonderful ideas for discovering our artist-selves seemed to be merely taunting me. I was only able to sustain reading for very short periods of time let alone work up the energy to act on them. But slowly – very slowly – I did work my way through her book in 20-minute sessions.

I felt encouraged and empowered by Julia’s advice that it was never too late for us to start thinking of ourselves as artists, I began to shift my twenty minutes of reading to spending twenty minutes with my new sketchbook. Because I was in bed most of the time I had to practice drawing the everyday and ordinary things around me — a pile of books, my teapot (I drew my teapot a lot), or my bottles of medicines.

Those early drawings, as bad as I’m sure they were, ignited a spark in me. There was something life affirming about really looking at the things around me, and then doing my best to replicate the shapes I saw.

michael_nobbs2As my health improved (I’ve no proof that it was learning to draw that helped me physically, but I can’t help suspecting it was), I began to attend a weekly drawing class.  My confidence grew. In 2004 I began blogging. I wrote a little about how I was doing health-wise and made a small drawing of something that was in front of me to accompany the blog. And I still worked in my 20-minute chunks of time.

Today, I still tend to draw in short spurts. I still draw the things around me. But now I think of what I am doing as “drawing my life.” By doing so I’ve learnt to see the joy in the mundane. I’ve learnt that taking just small steps to do something creative builds over time into a substantial body of work. I’ve learnt that it’s never too late to start to think of one’s self as an artist.

Michael Nobbs is an artist, blogger and tea drinker  — not necessarily in that order. In the late 1990s he was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalopathy/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and now blogs and tweets about drawing, keeping things simple, and maintaining a creative career despite limited energy. His book, Drawing Your Life: Learn to See Record and Appreciate Life’s Small Joys has just been published by Perigee/Penguin. Check out his website at: http://www.sustainablycreative.com.

Follow him on Twitter @michaelnobbs