According to Deborah Putnoi, in her book, The Drawing Mind: Silence Your Inner Critic and Release Your Creative Spirit“…by engaging a part of yourself — part of your brain — through drawing, you will discover new things about yourself, your connection with yourself, and your world.”

The Drawing Mind is open, curious and nonjudgemental. Connecting to that part of ourselves can help to improve a negative body image, which lives in judgement, rigidity and narrow thinking.

Drawing is also a healthy way to express your emotions and cope with stress.

In the beginning of the book Putnoi introduces her rules for drawing (rules that I think are important for a better body image and living a full life):

  1. You can’t say you can’t draw. “If you can make a mark on paper, you can draw,” she writes.
  2. Trust yourself. A part of you knows what to do, Putnoi writes, so it’s important to trust that. “Find your own visual voice — trust the way you make marks or lines on a page.”
  3. There is no right or wrong way to draw. “We all draw differently, and that is something to celebrate.”
  4. Follow through and try. “…The only way you’ll learn is to try.”
  5. There are no mistakes and no erasers. In drawing, Putnoi writes, there are no mistakes. She suggests thinking of “mistakes” as new discoveries and unexpected paths. (Remember that many “mistakes” developed into brilliant inventions and unique artwork.)
  6. Don’t be critical. “It takes courage to draw and put your ideas on paper.” Rather than being self-critical, start seeing drawing as an adventure, as a process of discovery.
  7. Take risks and experiment. Experiment by using new materials and holding your pencil in a new way, Putnoi writes. “Drawing is a process that is always unfolding with each new mark on the page.” So go where the marks take you.
  8. Have fun. “Let play and fun lead the way; do the kind of drawing that frees you up inside.”

Here are a few exercises to get you started.

  • Draw with your eyes closed. As Putnoi writes, “When the world gets too loud and busy. When the world is screaming and you need some space, close your eyes and let your pencil carry you away.” She suggests taking a few slow, deep breaths, feeling the breath filling your lungs and then leaving them. Then let your hand do the drawing.
  • Draw to music. Pick four types of music, and create a drawing for each kind. Only use marks, which can be any kind of dot, line or dash. According to Putnoi, “You will draw your experience of listening to the music. When you listen to the music, think of your pencil dancing on the page to the sounds and rhythm of the music.” She says to think of the music coming from the tip of your pencil.
  • Draw a map of who you are.  Draw an outline of your face, and start filling it with your traits and qualities — anything and everything that makes you you. For instance, Putnoi suggests creating shapes and filling them with your characteristics.

Do you enjoy drawing? What do you like about it? What are your favorite things to draw?