In my guided drawing community Mimochai Studio, I teach an approach I call Mindful Drawing. This approach combines the benefits of mindfulness and creativity.
Mindfulness at its most basic definition is the “kind, nonjudgmental awareness of what is happening in the present moment.” It sounds simple, but it is a very powerful skill that takes time to strengthen, just like working out any muscle.
Mindful Drawing combines the benefits of mindfulness with the practice of drawing through the foundations of presence, awareness, and non-judgment. It at once strengthens our mindfulness muscle while also helping us overcome creative blocks. What’s beautiful about it is that it’s something anyone can do and benefit from, whether they are a total beginner or a professional artist. As an artist and meditation practitioner myself, I really believe that mindfulness and creativity should go hand-in-hand.
What's the Difference Between Mindful Drawing and "Regular" Drawing?
Often when we draw, we get distracted by how we're drawing. We judge ourselves, get impatient, and feel frustrated that we’re not as good as we want to be. Drawing can actually be a really difficult experience for many people. These challenges often make people give up or never even start, even if they really wish they could draw.
With Mindful Drawing, on the other hand, you can savor the process of observing and interpreting what you see without judgment. In addition, you get to experience the benefits of mindfulness including focus, clarity, and calm.
Overall, it’s more about changing your perspective, rather than physically doing something different. It might all look the same from the outside, but the internal dialogue is totally different.
How to Practice Mindful Drawing
Here's how to practice mindful drawing in four simple steps:
- Arrive in the moment. Take some deep breaths. Appreciate this chance to sit down, and notice any feelings of gratitude for this moment and all the conditions that allowed it to happen.
- Observe without judgment. When we start drawing, try to draw without expectations for how something “should” look. Try to draw what you actually see, rather than what you think you see.
- Be at ease. A key concept of mindfulness is to be open to your experience. Find ease in embracing the present moment instead of worrying about how things "should be." Try to relax and just focus on the creative process without expecting your drawing to look a certain way or comparing yourself to others.
- Stay in the present moment. We all have thoughts that distract us sometimes. If that happens, simply 1) notice it, 2) gently acknowledge it, 3) let it go, and 4) refocus on your drawing.
Benefits of Mindful Drawing
There are so many benefits of mindfulness & mindful drawing, but here are my top four:
- Slow Down and Relax. We get to sit, be present in the moment, and focus on one thing at a time. It’s a form of active meditation.
- Stimulate your Creativity. You’ll notice shapes, textures, colors in your surroundings that will combine into new ideas. Also, by pausing your inner critic and leaning into self-compassion (rather than judging your drawing), you’ll be more able to take more creative risks.
- Understand and Process Emotions. Drawing is a safe way to experience and process whatever it is you’re going through. In my own experience, sometimes it’s hard to express difficult emotions in words, so mindful drawing helps me understand and express my feelings.
- Learn to Accept Yourself. Through the simple practice of mindful drawing, you can learn to quiet your inner critic and accept your current work with grace. Become open and curious as you observe yourself overcoming challenges. These same skills can be applied to the rest of your life.
Bring Support and Community to Your Practice
You can find more guidance on mindful drawing in my international drawing community, Mimochai Studio. It's a safe space for creativity with a unique mindfulness approach. Learn more here.
Take care and keep creating 💛 -M