07/27/2012 02:12 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Drawing for the Soul


Like a child with a new box of crayons, I can't stop drawing on things. I doodle on sticky notes when I'm on the phone, sketch when I'm watching TV and draw random images on magazines and food packages. I may forget my phone or keys when I go out, but never my sketch pad.
Ever since I could hold a pencil, I have found drawing fascinating and relaxing, as I lose myself in the feel of graphite on paper.

In the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, she describes in great detail how time stands still when drawing. It's kind of a magic feeling, almost like sleep, and when I wake from a drawing session, I feel energized and ready for some serious left brain thinking.

Quick, let's go buy some materials!


  • Tree friendly I 'aint. I go through tons of paper and use whatever is on sale. Mostly I like standard 8.5" x 11" plain paper. I also like the tooth of linen or cotton paper, but because it's expensive, I tend to use if for special projects. If I need a drawing fix while I'm out, I have a small sketch book with me.
  • I like a 2B 2mm mechanical pencil. I use 2B because it's softer than the standard #2 (HB) pencil and gives me nicer blacks. Traditional wooden pencils are lovely, but I can sharpen the mechanical pencil lead with the metal top and the leads are less expensive at about $1 each. Also, mechanical pencils are more portable than wooden ones, because if I break the tip of a sharpened wooden pencil, and didn't think to bring a sharpener, I am out of luck.
  • A soft white eraser. Not only can I fix grievous errors, but I can use it to highlight later.
  • Ball point pens are also nice for drawing and are easier to come across on daily sojourns. What bank teller wouldn't appreciate you standing at the counter drawing? They may even give you money... to go away!


What to draw?

Sometimes I Google something and draw from the screen. Sometimes I pose a wooden drawing doll, or I get myself into the pose and draw from that, though I have a disconcerting number of drawings of my right hand, as I'm left handed. If I'm out and about, I draw what I see. People sometimes get uncomfortable when I stare at them, so I have to be a little circumspect when doing covert drawing. Most of the time, however, I simply draw from my imagination. Once I've drawn something in detail, it's added it to my memory library of images and if needed, I just call it up. If I don't know what something looks like, it's back to Google.

When to draw?

Any time is drawing time. I find drawing a lovely pastime when waiting for an appointment. Time flies, and you are not sitting anxiously waiting for your turn. One day, while waiting for the doctor, I was so engrossed in drawing, I didn't notice they had skipped over me and ended up in the waiting room for more than two hours.

My very favorite time to draw is in the evening. I like to settle into my comfy chair with a clip board, lots of paper and pencils jammed conveniently in my hair. The movement of the pencil on the paper is rather hypnotic, and before I know it, hours have gone by. If I made tea, it's gone cold. If there was something on the stove, it's burned. If I had an appointment, I'm late... but boy, am I ever relaxed.