In case you were unable to join us for our sixth Drawing Together event, here is a recap of the exercises we did together. You can read the prompts below or watch the video:
Our host was MK Czerwiec, a GMIC board member, nurse, and cartoonist. She is a co-author of the Graphic Medicine Manifesto, the creator of Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371, and editor of the forthcoming Menopause: A Comic Treatment.
Our warm up exercise comes to us via Lynda Barry’s Making Comics.
- Take a piece of paper and make a large, very random scribble on it.
- Then take 3 minutes to turn that scribble into a monster.
Barry suggests that follow up exercises could be do draw your scribble monster’s parents, to draw your scribble monster as a child, dancing with their beloved, cooking, afraid of something, anything you can dream up!
Here’s a great interview with Lynda Barry about her approach to drawing.
Our main exercise is called “Imaginary Lives.” The content of the exercise is drawn from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. It is combined with a methodology created by Lynda Barry.
- Imagine that you had five other lives to lead. Who would you be in each of them? What would you do? Would you be an astronaut, an architect, a cowhand, a farmer, a musician, a writer, a physicist? Make a list of five imaginary lives you would love to lead. The point of this exercise is to imagine alternative lives that would seem very fun to you. Whatever occurs to you that pleases you, jot it down.
- Now choose one of those five lives that has the most excitement, energy for you. Or just one you want to explore a bit more.
- Get a paper and pen and make some quick notes while you ask yourself a few questions.
- Imagine yourself on an average good day in that life. Look around. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? What are you wearing? What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who is with you? What’s on your to-do list for the day? What will you be eating for dinner tonight?
- Now you will take those notes you wrote and write for 5 minutes about that life. Set a timer. There are two important rules for this writing: 1) start with the words “I am” and 2) don’t stop writing, do not stop to read what you’ve written, just keep your pen moving. If you get stuck, consult your notes.
- From your writing, DRAW a scene from that other life that came to mind. We’ll take 10 minutes to draw.
If you enjoyed that exercise, you now can do it again for each of the other four lives you imagined!
Along the way, contemplate whether or not there are some aspects of your imaginary lives that brought you joy that perhaps you can bring into your actual life. Like if I imagine being a cowgirl as super fun, maybe I could learn to ride a horse this summer… something to think about this week.
Here’s a nice article about Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way in honor of it’s 25th anniversary.
If you’d like to share your drawings on social media with the hashtag #DrawingTogetherGM we’d love to see them!