Creative Links #8: Art, Overwhelm and why it might be good to be Bored

Telegraph pole and wires from below. Blue sky.

Here are a few links for you for this week. I hope you enjoy them.

  • This video from the Sketchbook Skool blog, shows how artist Trevor Romain uses his art and creativity to help others.
  • New Tech City’s Bored and Brilliant project is starting soon in an attempt to help you detach from technology and be more creative.
  • Dale posted some beautiful winter photos on her blog this week. My favourite is the first one, but I love the contrast of colours and textures across the set.
  • Lisa Congdon writes about how to deal with overwhelm and why you can choose to take breaks and go easy on yourself.
  • Jen’s written about the ‘3 C’s’ that she’s focusing on in order to help her make good decisions in spite of having limited energy.
  • Another instagram account: Jesslyn shares photos of her lovely watercolours and calligraphy, including a new series of hand-lettered quotes that she writes using tea as ink.

When You Don’t Feel Like Drawing (Or, How to Silence the Monkey)


Sometimes if I don’t draw for a few days, a few days can easily become a few weeks. The feeling that I can’t draw or the tendency to compare myself to others increases and then I become paralysed. Everyone else is more creative, better at drawing or otherwise more superior to me so there’s no point in me sketching anything. And anyway, there’s nothing to draw.

This is what Danny Gregory refers to as our ‘monkey’, telling us that we’re not good enough and the best way to shut that monkey up is to keep on drawing. I’d succumbed to my monkey(!) over the past few days so this morning, after I’d taken my breakfast back to bed with me, I decided to just draw.

I kept things simple and used my favourite pen, a small set of watercolours and a water brush, and in about 15 minutes I’d drawn my breakfast tray sitting on my bed. It’s definitely not the best drawing I’ve ever done but that’s not the point, it’s a drawing and I’ve done it. The monkey’s still trying to yell at me but I’ll keep him down with another drawing of something, anything, just whatever’s in front of me.

Taking a Break Today

4 drawings of coffee cup

I’m pulling on my tiny drawing ‘archive’ today while I take a bit of a break. I almost decided against going to my yoga class today but I did go and thankfully all the poses we did involved sitting or lying down so that was just right for how I was feeling (tired and a bit of a sniffle).

I’m struggling a tiny bit with motivation at the moment so, rather than be too hard on myself, I’m taking it as a sign that I need to put my feet up at least for today and have spent all afternoon resting on the sofa.

This little series of sketches is from a visit I made to a coffee shop a few months ago, when I ordered a de-caff coffee but didn’t realise until it was too late that it was full of caffeine – I didn’t sleep well that night!

I also noticed that the toilets in that café have combination locks on the doors and every single man who tried to go to the loo entered the combination and then turned the handle the wrong way. They were left confused, while every woman who came along seemed to manage just fine. I was so frustrated by a group of 3 men (including one who worked there) trying to open the door and failing, that I got up and did it for them. Same thing seemed to be happening the next time I went to this cafe. I wonder why. I do love people watching though!

Personal History: My Old Home

Watercolour drawing of house


So much for catching up with Boot Kamp! I’m still behind but am OK with that. This sketch was for an assignment on personal histories. I chose to use Google Street View to draw the house that I grew up in.

I lived here until the age of 19 and since then it’s only really changed a little bit. The house itself looks the same. One difference is the gate on the driveway, which wasn’t there when I lived there. Otherwise, there used to be a flower bed in the centre of the front lawn with a blossom tree planted in it, a bush growing under the front window and a holly bush in one corner of the garden next to the drive. Oh, and the front door was different too. Other than that, it all looks very familiar to me.

If anything, the adjoining house next door seems to have changed more than my old home but I didn’t have enough space to draw that one too!