Drawing doodles as a routine to improve my mental health
How getting back into drawing thanks to buying a tablet helped me recover my passion for creating art and dealing with the pressure of my daily life.
Early last year I decided that, while I very much enjoyed drawing on paper with a pen or a pencil and waste pages and pages on my notebooks taking notes, drafting sketches or drawing wireframes from the ideas I was working on, there must be a way to make it in a more sustainable way. That is why I decided to get myself an iPad Pro, with one of those pencils that when you draw on them it feels like real inc getting into the paper when it touches the screen.
What I wasn’t aware is that getting that additional screen with a digital pencil for work-related matters would also help me cope with stressful situations and help with my mental health by bringing back one of the things that made me get into the field of design.
Reclaiming an old habit
One of the first things that I started as a kid was to draw random doodles, I couldn’t spend much time on them otherwise I would lose all the interest and leave them undone and somehow that’s something I carried with me over the years, to the point that it’s one of the main things that kept me motivated to practice even more drawing.
I can spend hours moving one pixel up and down until I believe it’s in the right spot, but when it comes to creating art with my bare hands, the quicker I can come up with something the more satisfied I will be, and that’s why I’ve always tried to draw small simple drawings that don’t entail too much complexity, but that is representative enough of what I’m trying to picture.
This habit and involving this technic is something that always helped me get distracted in periods where I was under a lot of stress or I had to spend long hours focused on specific tasks, I will just unwind by picking up a piece of paper and drawing a small doodle of whatever was in my mind at that specific moment. And that’s what, for a long time, kept me focused and balanced between the pressure of studying, in my times at university, and then really busy periods of time later on when I started working full-time as a designer.
Evolving and picking up a style
When I started doodling I tried to get inspiration from things that I enjoyed or that evoked me happy feelings, from my favourite movies to places I’ve been or scenes from fantasy situations, including in some of the pictures of nature-based on some pictures I’ve taken over the years. All this was obviously supported by doing research and taking inspiration from other people’s drawings online or browsing through photographies available online to replicate in my own style.
When it comes to defining the style I wanted to achieve with every single of my drawings had to be a simplified version of what they represented. As I mentioned before, the goal of those drawings was to be able to create something as detailed as possible but in the shortest time. With that in mind, I picked a combination of geometric frames together with minimal artwork in black and white and some of them using grey tones where necessary.
As you can see, they all follow similar patterns, a combination of simple shapes together with geometrical frames and small details with dot work to add small elements that form either shadows or objects within the drawing. Something to mention from those is that the brush used is an ink-like style brush to give a sense of a more realistic hand-drawn drawing, as this is something I wanted to achieve by creating continuity from when I used to draw them without my iPad.
By the time I’m writing these lines we are asked to remain at home due to the Coronavirus, and while I don’t have big plans with my illustrations, I will try to keep drawing a new illustration every two or three days as long as I keep getting ideas to get me through the period of quarantine.
And while the whole idea of this was completely therapeutic and for entertainment purposes, I decided that while I don’t want to make profits from it, it would be good that as requested from some of my closest friends, there was a way to get those designs printed on things and be able to ship them to different parts of the world, and that’s why I opened a small shop on RedBubble where I upload my designs from time to time, setting up a low margin for those interesting on buying it.
You can check them out here: www.luigiht.com/shop
Drawing is something that people can become good at with enough practice, and any medium is equally valid to do that, either on tissues, notebooks or iPads. Whatever technique works for you in order to support in complicated times is beneficial and nobody can prove you otherwise. My suggestions are to find those things that make you go to a better place in moments where your headspace is troubled, and in my case, one of those is just creating illustrations with my iPad. Go and explore your possibilities and make sure that whatever you find helps you turn around your mental health for better, instead of becoming a necessity.
And that’s all — hope you found this article interesting and helped you find new ways of dealing with your day to day pressure and help find ways to get better mental wellness.
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