Saving my sanity one sketch at a time

Buttons McTavish / Amy Lehr Miller for JKPP


It’s a sketch.

That’s it really. Sketching. It started out as a fluke. A test of the iPad. Then I was drawn in. No pun intended.

How it grew.


I drew with the Chalk app from 37signals. Simple. Easy. Fun. Capturing interpretations of Twitter friends was joyous, for me and them.

But why.

My soul was languishing.

I have a great job, wonderful wife, blessed with children and grandchildren. I know now I suffer from depression.

Sketching, drawing, creating has moved me from the rock. It’s a rock you sit on, feeling alone and shunned. Motion helps, both physical and mental.

How did it continue.

Feedback and Support.

They say once you commit, the world lines up. Not the whole world mind you, but some will come alongside.

One man chose to reach out, an artist, thinker, and all around creative – Roy Blumenthal.

Roy connected with me on Flickr quite a while ago. I’d share photography; he’d share art. We occasionally chatted.

I confessed to him my desire to draw and sketch. Roy reached out; he said ‘go for it.’

And then more.

And more.

I sketched. I found pencils, paper, and some killer iPad apps. Roy pushed ideas, tips, feedback and resources.

They liked them. Others besides Roy. Yes; it mattered.

Folks on Twitter were surprised and pleased. Not everyone comments or replies but the views went up more than even my photos. Tweets got favorited and shared.

And then Flickr came a knocking. Not the company but other artists.

I was asked to join groups new to me. A sketching party group is my favorite. Folks join the group, share photos of themselves, and everyone gets to create art based on the photos. Mine are now up there, both as artist and subject.

How it helps.

Movement. Connection.

The mental motion. Absorption at times. Flow is achieved, if so so briefly.

Connections now with other sketchers.

Both elements are key I believe. I’m a loner by nature. It’s tough to make deep friendships. Struggles with anxiety and worry over acceptance get in the way. Sharing though, in a group where it’s not about the grade but about connecting and giving, there’s less anxiety, and little barrier to acceptance.

The sketch party group was scary at first. I worried no one would sketch me. It happened. And some of them pop!

Others are glad I’m sketching them.

Best of all though is being out of my head space. I actually want to draw now. It’s less of a chore and worry, and more about improving. You know you’re progressing when you think about it even without pencil in hand.

What about you?

How are you moving?

Locked in? Feeling trapped? Sitting on that rock alone?

Tell me what you’re doing? Or better yet, Go.Do.Move.

Notes: Primary sketch app – SketchClub for iPad, on paper – #2 and #6 pencils on various papers. If only I could find a good box of crowns…

Sketch Journal on Flickr

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