Lively letters – Creativity Exercise #5

My first drawings at age 53 were primitive and colorful.
My first drawings at age 53 were primitive and colorful.
I am having such fun illustrating the alphabet. I never could have made artistic letters when I was young. Back then I couldn’t even make stick figures.

Folks often ask how I learned to do art since for the first 53 years of my life I believed I had no art skills.

I still am as amazed as they are. I never went to art school or took art classes. I hated art in elementary school. None of my efforts could match what was in my mind.

I could not make potato stamps or draw figures. My clay ashtrays sagged and I couldn’t color in the lines.

Yet here I am at age 66 painting and drawing and molding clay. I have done more than 6000 artistic projects in the last 12 years.

Three Important Lessons.
I have learned three important lessons about creativity these last few years.

ONE: I found that by doing art EVERY DAY my skills kept improving.

TWO: I found I enjoyed art more when I listened to the spirit of art instead of the spirit of perfection.

THREE: I found that when my inspiration was at a low ebb I could use art prompts to give me ideas. One of the best was the letters of the alphabet!

Now for Creativity Exercise #5

The letters of the alphabet get me doing art when I feel low.
The letters of the alphabet get me doing art when I feel low.
LIVELY LETTERS – CREATIVITY EXERCISE #5
The alphabet provides endless opportunities to doodle, sketch, splash and swirl color. Each letter of the alphabet can be used over and over, depending on your mood or your experiences that day.

I illustrated letters each night while on a road trip.
I illustrated letters each night while on a road trip.
GO SMALL

I prefer to make small drawings when illustrating letters. I divide a 11×14 piece of paper into four sections or use notecards. The smaller size allows me to do fast drawings.

PICK A LETTER THAT REMINDS YOU OF AN EVENT IN YOUR DAY

This one I did while traveling. Every night in the motel I picked out a letter that reminded me of an event that day.

H was for happy and for the town of Hawthorne Nevada where our truck broke down. The town had army ammunition storage dumps (weird) but some interesting people who made me smile.

B was for birthday. We celebrated my birthday in the Grand Canyon.

C was for casino. There was a smokey casino in Hawthorne (cough, cough) where we had dinner.

S was for sunshine and scenery. We chose where we were going by the weather report and the lack of cities. We followed the sunshine to places of natural beauty.

The illustrations sometimes come out of deep feelings.
The illustrations sometimes come out of deep feelings.
FREE ASSOCIATE

The letters can be used to stimulate creativity as well as process emotions.

Sometimes I start with a letter and then free associate. What does the letter stand for on this day? What thoughts or images come to mind?

Sometimes I will make a list of words but often one or two words immediately take center stage.

These four drawings were done on two days when I was shifting back and forth between wild emotions and peace.

E stood for emotions and energy.

P stood for peace and pretty.

M stood for me who can be both peaceful and not so peaceful.

Y stood for you with all your dynamic energy and creativity.

I created my own A which had nothing to do with grades.
I created my own A which had nothing to do with grades.
MAKE COMPANION ILLUSTRATIONS FOR THE LETTERS

Sometimes I combine letter illustrations with small drawings that go with the theme of the letter.

In this series of four small drawings I was thinking of A for art.

I started with the upper left hand corner and drew three A’s. It was messy and ugly at first, which art sometimes can be. I persisted, placing color over color until it felt right.

Next I drew the right upper quadrant using a circular design. Again it was ugly at first so I persisted. Art for me is about experimentation and allowing an art piece to create itself.

I drew the bottom two quadrants using a contrast between a simple A and a colorful and swirling spiral. The day I did these two I was appreciating the peacefulness and the wildness of doing art.

I sometimes combine my drawings with computer text
I sometimes combine my drawings with computer text
TRY USING VARIED ART MEDIUMS INCLUDING COMPUTER ART

Illustrating letters is not limited to drawing or painting. You can combine computer text, photography or fabric arts with drawing and painting.

This illustration was for the letter O which reminded me of the mediation sound of “ohm.”

I began drawing a mandala while I said “ohm” quietly. As I drew I found myself breathing more slowly. My face and shoulders relaxed.

The drawing felt like I was creating a circle of healing. I took a photo of it and uploaded it to me computer where I added the saying “circle of healing.”

The possibilities are unlimited.

HMMMMMM. The letter U? I wonder what illustration will be created with the unlimited U?

To Be Continued. Exercise #6 is a strange one.

Have fun with letters
Shaun

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