30 Minutes of Magic



  • Once upon a time, Facebook ate my mornings. A couple of years back, I finally pulled the plug and quit Facebook cold turkey. I took that extra gasp two hours and set to work on improving my art. That decision changed everything.

    Mostly I worked from reference and worked through 'how to draw' material and courses. However, I gradually began to feel I was getting too mechanical, just drawing what was in front of me rather than being creative. I was getting lots better at drawing portraits and draftsmanship, but I felt 'flat' as an artist. I began to worry that my muse had decamped for a more youthful companion. Recently, I made another change that has changed everything.

    As soon as I get out of bed in the morning, groggy and foggy headed, I pick up my sketchbook and a pen, sit down on the sofa and just start drawing. Usually, I sit there for a minute or two just making random squiggles, but pretty soon thoughts start popping up. Ideas begin to pull together. The most interesting thoughts begin to occur. I have come to believe that those first thirty minutes of the day are a magical (dare I say, sacred) time for creative endeavors.

    This morning time has been such a gift to me, I began to wonder if there weren't more 'magical' moments or practices I was missing. Since this is a creative and generous bunch, I thought I'd ask you about your process.

    Have you found anything that helps you find connect with your muse? When do your best ideas come to you?



  • @sketchbook Inspiring post! I write/draw/plan in my journal first things every morning. I've done drawing then--but it works a little better for me (after exercise, and WITH coffee). I try to pend a couple of hours on each of my free-days (those days I don't work at my job).

    What works well for me and give me great joy-is when I'm just noodling, or draw a crazy line, and then make something with/from it. These drawing are fresh, and spontaneous and very often make me happy.

    But when I'm learning-like perspective and light and shadow, and volume and all of those important things that I never studied before--then my drawings get really stiff and feel like...work. I'm drawn to a more sketchy, scratchy style. When I'm really focusing, again the lines get really tight. Sometimes I go over them on a new layer (I do all of my drawing on my iPad)-and try to be loose and sketchy. This often, not always (yet!) works.

    And all of this is more than worth no-facebook in my book, and it sounds like yours, too.


  • Moderator

    I once saw this vid where a very established artist (Glenn Vilppu, maybe?) was talking about the value of doodling... He called it something very specific, something like Limbic Drawing or something like that. He'd learned it from one of his mentors. It was the act of turning off your brain to let things flow out of your arm and just move the pencil around and make shapes, then shading, and so on. It wasn't about creating something specific, it was almost a dream-like state where you just let yourself become a passenger and whatever comes out comes out. Just play and organically construct whatever...

    It was supposed to both stimulate your creativity and relax you at the same time. I really wish I could remember that video... It was entrancing!

    Zentangles and mandalas are also both meditative drawing methods that can help a person just let go within the structure. I'd imagine it could reduce your blood pressure like knitting has been proven to do, I'd suspect.

    I'm glad you found something that clicks for you!! 🙂



  • @Coreyartus I think I know the video you're referring to. It's great. If I find it I will post the link



  • @Coreyartus Here is the one I'm thinking of--is this it?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJYGFwGhHnA


  • Moderator

    @Eli Yes!!!! Thank-you!! It was Tim Gula, not Glenn Vilppu. Thank-you!! I knew I'd seen this somewhere!!! Man, I searched for an hour on YouTube and Google!! I couldn't remember!! Thank-you!!! ROFL!!!



  • @Eli and @Coreyartus - really helpful, thanks for posting!


  • Moderator

    @Coreyartus @eli WOOOOOOW! I want to feel what he was feeling. We all need to do this! As soon as I’m done putting the groceries away I’m gonna take 10 minutes and empty my brain... more than it already is😬😜. Thanx for posting that vid.



  • @Coreyartus I'm glad that was the right one! I love that one (but I never do it! I need to 😂🤣)



  • @Coreyartus @Eli Wow, that video is amazing! That’s exactly the kind of thing I need to be doing. Thanks for finding and sharing this video it is pure art gold!



  • @Susan-Marks I agree with you. Learning technique is so important but can make my art feel so stiff, I’ll have to give that tip of throwing a few more layers on the iPad a try. Great tip, thanks!



  • Beautiful post. I actually had to go a different route with my morning time. I recently returned to the working world and started out drawing before I started my day. Well then I was going to work angry because I had to stop drawing because I was just stating to get in the flow and it was time to leave.

    Sadly, I have not found the right time for me just yet, but I will.



  • @sketchbook , such an inspiring post, thanks for sharing!
    I would definitely love to find my best creative time and start implementing this kind of practice but before brekkie I'm not awake and after I always feel like I'm already behind things and don't allow myself this kind of discipline... I guess discipline is my problem...
    Any tips for implementing this kind of routine and keeping it more than a few days? 😅



  • @marine I guess that’s one of the magic things about these morning sessions. I’m not a ‘bounce out of bed’ kind of person. I’m more of a ‘hibernating troll under the bridge’ kind of person. So, there isn’t much thinking or will power involved. I just get myself from the bedroom to the living room where my sketchbook and a ballpoint pen is waiting for me on the sofa, open to a blank page and make marks for a half an hour. Now it’s just a routine.

    Maybe leaving your sketchbook out with your favorite pen or pencil in the same place every night.

    The other thing that really helped was getting in the ha it of always carrying a pocket sketchbook. Maybe that would help too?



  • @sketchbook yes it's actually making a lot of sense to have these 30 min of magic when your brain is still quiet. I will definitely try to leave out a sketchbook and a pen in a strategic place 🙂
    I do have a pocket sketchbook too but I never take the time to draw outside, I would write ideas on my phone though...
    Many thanks for your tips!



  • @Coreyartus the mentor was moebius 😃 if you find work of moebius it will click together 😃



  • @marine it’s a practice, meaning something you try to do every day, but some days go better than others. I can highly recommend Growing Gills by Jessica Abel as a chapter by chapter approach to figuring out a routine and focus that works for you and your goals. There are sections on getting clear about your ONE project to focus on, sections on time tracking to see where you are spending your time, that you can/can’t change about this, and the. Whittling down what you want to be doing into the reality of the amount of time you really can carve out to do the work.

    It’s helped me a lot. Working on only one project is hard for me (but I’m practicing, including fully permitting myself to work on something else occasionally without guilt) and folding in the learning aspects is also tricky for me.



  • @Susan-Marks Thanks for the recommendation. That sounds like just the kind of book for me!

    Kind of a tangent here, but it might be cool to post book reviews on the forum, too (in all that spare time we all have 😁).


  • Moderator

    @sketchbook That's actually a brilliant idea. I have a couple new-to-me books that I'd love to share that could be useful to a lot of people here on the forum. Hmmm... 😉



  • @Coreyartus Hmmm.. I wonder if there would be enough interest in having a ‘review’ thread on the forum. I guess there are lots of reviews out there in the interwebs, but it would be kind of cool to get reviews on books/art supplies/services as they relate specifically to the work our community is doing here at SVS. Just a thought 🧐💭


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