Power Drawing

Yesterday, I attended a workshop on "Power Drawing" from the Campaign for Drawing at the RISD Museum. The Hive sent me along to learn about drawing as a tool for thought, creativity, imagination, communication, collaboration...and to learn about how to get everyone - kids AND adults - drawing!

When I was walking home from the all-day workshop, my head felt kind of a like a piggy bank - all kinds of change noisily clanging around, and I hadn't quite counted it yet, but I really wanted to start spending. You know what I mean? I got home and took out my box of crayons and got to scribbling. And I remembered that it wasn't just because of the workshop - this is my usual practice when I come back from a training or conference. I draw it out. The workshop just gave me some ideas about why I do that.

Going into the workshop, I found myself saying "I'm glad to be here because I'm not a draw-er. I don't even doodle." I think this came from that point in high school when I stopped taking art classes - somehow, at that time, art meant "I can paint/draw." Well, I felt I couldn't. So I stopped taking art.

Eileen Adams, who led the workshop, defined drawing as "marks with meaning," and explained that "if you can write, you can draw."

Well, of course I'm a draw-er! EVERYONE can draw! And it's so fun!

She talked about four modes of drawing:

Drawing to figure something out for yourself
I do this all the time without even thinking about it - when I'm overwhelmed, when I have an important decision to make. I'll sketch as a way of journaling to try to sort out my thoughts.

Drawing to communicate something to another person

When I draw you a map of how to get to my house, a diagram of how I'd like the tables and chairs set up for an event, or trying to visually explain the steps to sew the lining of a purse.

Drawing as invention - modifying, improving
I do this when I'm sketching a new design - that's why I draw it and don't just start with fabric. I'm testing out how it looks, what measurements will line up, and how different elements will work together.

Drawing as a tool for action
When I get to my final sketch - this is where I finally am, drawing it to prepare for action!

When I'm drawing in each of these modes, I'm not worrying about whether my drawing is "good" or "bad" - I'm just thinking about working out my thoughts and ideas.

For me, this is a whole new way of thinking about drawing.

I'm so excited to be more aware of drawing in my life, and to lead a BIG DRAW workshop with the Hive to celebrate and inspire people to get drawing!

If you want to do some fun drawing, head to the RISD Museum on Saturday, April 24th from 11-4. It's free for all Saturday, and they're hosting a BIG DRAW event!

Carole Ann


  1. This is so cool CA! I really want to go next Saturday now. I've always thought that I'm not a "draw-er" but I can see that I probably am. :)


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