Drawn to Draw

I’ve loved drawing for as long as I can remember. In fact when I was learning to write and finding it difficult I used to imagine each letter as a drawing. When I left school I studied art and went on to university to study drawing.

Over the last ten years or so my tics have affected how much I can draw and the way I can do it. Because my arms can jerk suddenly, each time I do a drawing I know that there’s a good chance it’ll get spoilt by a sudden movement that’s outside of my control. Sometimes I go with these involuntary movements and change the marks they make into something new, but most of the time it’s just very frustrating.

A few weeks ago I was introduced to an incredible new tool! Something I’d known about for ages but without realising that it could revolutionise my approach to drawing – an iPad and a digital pencil.

My colleague Fred uses one to make notes all the time but I’d never thought about using it for drawing. But as soon as I tried it I knew how transformative this was going to be for me. All I had to do when I moved unexpectedly was hit the undo button. My new iPad arrived last week and since then I’ve created all sorts of images, many of which my tics would have made impossible for me to do on paper.

When I was a child I loved drawing detailed imaginary worlds just for fun. Over the last few days I’ve been doing this again, this time inventing places I think my niece Bean and her toy penguins Avi and Sticker might like to visit.

This is a drawing of outer-space. There are lots of different sized and coloured planets and stars. There is a grey space-ship flying through space. It has fire coming out of it and there are smiling people in the windows. One of the planets has the face of a smiling cat, one is blue and has lots of ducks on, and another is multi-coloured and made up of butterflies. There is also a yellow sun, and a planet that could be earth.

This is a drawing of the ocean, an island and the sky. In the sky there is a sun and some birds. On the island there is a tree with tree-houses in and a ramp leading up to them. On the sand are some people playing, making sand-castles and sun-bathing. On the ocean is a boat with some people in. There are many different coloured fishes and jelly-fish in the ocean. There is also lots of orange and green sea-weed and a yellow sub-marine with smiling people and ducks looking out of the portholes. The ocean has 4 different shades of blue.

This is a drawing of a mountain with many different floors and levels including: a level with a swimming pool, jacuzzi, palm trees and library, a level with a dining hall and an adventure playground, a level with a zoo and a city of bird box houses, a level with regular houses, a level with a skatepark for wheel-chairs, and a level with different types of transport including spaceships, London buses, ships, cars helicopters a blue van and some blue bicycles.

I’ve really enjoyed making these drawings and it’s been a great way of getting to know my new tool. My arm tics have never stopped me drawing but they have made it a much more stressful process – something that has only really become clear now that a lot of that stress has been lifted and that making images can become relaxing again.

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