Draw Along: Light and Shadow

You Will Make: One Drawing

You Will Need: White, Gray, and Black crayons, an Old Paper Bag, a Pencil, and some markers

What are some positive things in your life? What can you do to make them grow?

This drawing practice is grounded between gaining technique and reflecting on one’s emotions and habits.

Using light and dark on a medium toned paper makes one pay closer attention to shapes created by light and shadow because usually people draw on white paper. It is a good way of making oneself pay more attention to details, because it slows down the process.

The same is true of making space and time to meditate in general, and in directing one’s thoughts through an exercise like this in particular.

How to Make: Light and Shadow Metaphor

  1. Cut your paper bag open. It is easiest to do this along the seam on the vertical part, then cutting down to the middle of the bottom and cutting angles into the corners.
  2. Once it’s flat, crinkle it up, then smooth it out a couple of times.
  3. Find a place with interesting crinkles and cut a rectangle there. You can use a piece of paper to trace a regular shape.
  4. Take a moment to look at how the light creates different shapes and decide on a direction to look at. Try not to move it from that direction until you have completed steps 5-10.
  5. Get your white crayon and start looking for highlights on the bag.
  6. Outline and color in a few of the lightest highlights. Start with five, and see how full your paper looks. If it is starting to look full, stop, and move on.
  7. Then look for the darkest shadows, and use your darkest crayon to color in those shapes.
  8. Once you have the darkest and lightest shapes done, you may split your focus back to the question:
    • What are some positive habits in my life?
    • What can I do to promote them?
    • What are some things that I want to get distance from?
    • What can I do to draw boundaries?
  9. Continue to find areas of light and shadow by picking some colors in between black and white to color in other areas that are lighter and darker on the bag.
  10. Pay attention to the patterns that emerge, both in your thinking and in your drawing.
    • Think about what connects the metaphors that are developing from your reflection, and the patterns you are noticing on the page
    • In the video I started to notice a bird, and I was thinking about how to find freedom as the spring takes hold.
  11. Once you have created a connected narrative in your head, name the metaphor out loud.
    • In the video, I named what I was creating and why as I started to define the image.
    • This is a bird reflected in the water at sunset, I think this is because I am longing for freedom. Flying feels free because it gives me more perspective.
  12. Finally begin to transform your drawing to represent the metaphor that has emerged.
    • In the video I added more crayons to define the sky and water, then started using markers to add definition and make the lightest colored crayons pop.

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