Creative exercises for every month

31 Days of Creativity January 2019

This is the course we ran on our Facebook group in January  2019... We hope that you enjoy the exercises and get out of your comfort zone to try some new approaches to creating art.

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Exercise #1

Here is an enjoyable little exercise to get us started. This is not about accuracy, it is about removing some control and seeing what comes from this. You will likely create a drawing unlike one you have done before. 
• Pick an interesting object to draw. 
• Use a pen to draw your still life without taking your pen off the paper. 
• This means once you begin your first line you do not lift your pen from the paper. 
• You will be doing lots of overlapping and creating more lines than you would usually. 
• Do a few of these.


Exercise #2

This next exercise will take away more control than the first. 
• Using one long piece of string/wool/twine and glue, draw an object of your choice. 
• It's important that you do not cut the string, this will help you make a more creative piece. 
• You may need to try this a few times. 
• Have fun!

Exercise #3

This exercise is all about tone. Understanding the subtle tonal changes can have a dramatic effect on your work. You'll do two drawings.
* Before you start your first sketch, create a tonal key at the top of your page using five different tones. (A soft pencil 4B-6B or charcoal will work best).
* Create a sketch using all the tones on your tonal key.
* Pick a mostly white object, non-patterned (this will help you see the different tones better). 
* For the second sketch, create another tonal key, this time using only the mid to light tones.
* Now draw the same object using only these tones. The drawing will be very light.

Exercise #4

Now let’s try a small collage of the same or a similar still life to yesterday’s above using only white paper. 💡If you keep your work to a small size you won’t invest too much in it and can start over or do more of them. We recommend half a standard piece of paper. Use newspaper, white paper, magazines etc. varying shades of white. Create your picture using these.

Exercise #5

This is all about finding possibilities and not confining yourself to one medium 🤔 How can you take a photo of your collage to distort it? 
• Use filters on your phone, take it from a steep angle, use lighting etc., through a coloured bottle, as a reflection on glass. 
• Photograph it 5 different ways. 
• If you like how someone else has done theirs have a go at using their process. 
💡 Evaluating and trying again is important to your creative practice

Exercise #6

 Using a whiteboard marker, draw a self portrait on the mirror. Have fun with this one!

Exercise #7

Who says phone books are useless! 
* Use a telephone directory or newspaper to do some quick sketches (3 or 4). 
* Use pastel, markers, charcoal etc, something that will stand out.
* Some colour on your page will help.
* you'll be tearing these up tomorrow so don't invest too much time.

Exercise #8

You'll create an abstract piece of work from the previous sketches.
* Tear up all of the previous day's drawings to various sized pieces. 
* Using a fresh sheet of paper, place the pieces on it and move these pieces around to create a new drawing. 
* Rip the paper rather than cut it, this creates less control.
* Arrange the pieces thinking about composition and balancing the work.
* Work into it again with charcoal, pen, pastel etc.

Exercise #9

 Drawing for the bin. This exercise could become a daily practice to get the creative juices flowing 🎨 When you are throwing something out you don’t care how it looks and you’re not thinking about showing it to anyone. You can do whatever comes naturally. It is a great way to find out what you’re really interested in drawing when you’re not thinking about anyone else’s opinion. 
✍️ Complete a number of drawings to throw out - anything you like. Copying the basic composition of master works can be wonderfully inspiring or practicing self portrait... anything that you really want to look at or draw. Have fun with it and see what happens 😄💡

Exercise #10

This exercise will help you loosen up your drawing ✍️ Copy this drawing WITHOUT looking at your work as you go. Look at how free and scribbly the lines are. Try to maintain the artist’s style. Next, copy this drawing again LOOKING at your work as you go. Continue to maintain the style. We strongly suggest you do both these steps twice and see the difference it makes. Crowd by Canal, Amsterdam, Lene Schneider-Kainer, 1927.

Exercise #11

Use a glass or plastic bottle and place it infront of what you want to draw. Draw what you see through the bottle. The bottle needs to be distorting the object. This will help you to focus on dark and light tones as well as shapes rather than trying to draw a cup or whatever still life you choose.

Exercise #12

This exercise is always a popular one 😊 
• Find a scene or landscape you like. 
• Draw with charcoal the scene roughly. Scribble in the dark areas.
• Without looking at the scene again, wipe over the whole picture with a cloth or tissue as though you are trying to erase it. 
• Now draw over it again with charcoal. 
• Look at the composition and look to balance the drawing. If there are too many dark areas on one side of the page, add some to the other.

Exercise #13

We’re focusing on the varying tones again in this exercise, trying to get a nice range 😊
• Use a crumpled up piece of paper or cloth as your object. 
• Use a pencil to draw and shade with. 
• compare your drawing to the first image in the examples. Have you got plenty of dark shading? If not add more ✍️
• Then take an eraser and rub lightly across the whole picture. DON’T BE CAREFUL WITH THIS (This is a similar exercise to the charcoal and cloth.)
• Then work back into the drawing again. You can use the eraser as a drawing tool as well as your pencil as you continue to work 👍

Exercise #14

This exercise is about looking for good art in another context.
* Either use your Google maps on your phone or search Google Earth. 
* Use the satelite option to view the area you live in to find an image you like.
* You'll find some nice images that will make good paintings.

Exercise #15

 Use your google earth image to create an abstract composition. 
• Using either pencil and eraser, or charcoal and cloth (as we did in the previous exercises). 
• make sure that you leave no white paper showing. 
• use your cloth or eraser as much as you want!
• your google earth image is your starting point only there is no need to try to copy it. 
• stand back from your image to get perspective and see what the drawing needs 🔭

Exercise #16

Draw yourself from a distance. This exercise helps you to identify dark and light tones without worrying about details. 
• Set up a small mirror or use your phone or computer camera. 
• You want to only have a small image of yourself to work with (if you can see your eyes then you’re too close 😳). 
• Make sure you have not left large areas of white paper within the drawing. 
• Attempt this four or five times doing small drawings until you feel you have a good likeness.

Exercise #17

Today we take a little break and ask you to post a creative find that inspires you.

Exercise #18

 Use a wet coffee bag or something similar to make stains on your paper.
* Leave some of the paper visible.
* See what shapes the stains remind you of.
* Work with the stains to create an image using charcoal or implement of your choice.
* Experiment, you might need to try a few.

Exercise #19

Find paper clips, staples, or something small you have lots of to create an image. You can use rice, lentils etc too. 
* It may help to draw the subject first focusing on basic shapes and shadows.
* Create your image on a blank piece of paper.
* Feel free to experiment, you don't have to stick with just one of the materials.

Exercise #20

Create a painting using a page of the newspaper 🗞🎨😎
• Scan the newspaper for a page with a composition that you’d like to work with. 
• Use pastels, paint etc. to work into the page. 
• Work with images and text however you like. 
• Take your time, stand back from your work, look at your work as a small image on your phone. 
• Think about balancing out the light and dark areas 

Exercise #21

Get your timers ready for this one. 
* 10 drawings on one subject, spending 1 minute on each one. 
* Keep the drawings small fitting them all on one standard piece of paper.
* Just focus on the main shapes and angles without worrying about details.

Exercise #22

Now we are going to practice getting the basics of a good composition. 
• Set a timer for 30 seconds and copy the main parts of one of these paintings. 
• Do this for all four. 



Exercise #23

Create a mixed media work using two or more pieces of work that you’ve created during this month 🖼 
• use a piece of cardboard to create your work on - standard paper size is big enough. 
• select work that you like and offers a variety of line and colour. 
• tear them up. You can start with some fairly big pieces to stick down. 
• take your time. Have a cuppa ☕️ and contemplate what feels right 🥰
• get sticking down. Take photos and look at them to get an overall picture of what you’re creating. 
• let it dry then work with pastel, paint, pen... whatever feels good. 
• have fun with it 😁

Exercise #24

This exercise will involve a bit of folding.
* Make a couple of folds on a piece of paper, this will make the page smaller.
* Draw on the paper with it folded, if you draw a subject or still life, it's interesting to see how it changes when you unfold the paper.
* Open up the page, it will have blank spaces on it.
* Fold the paper again so the blank spaces show and the drawing is mostly covered.
* Use colour to draw your subject over the folds.
* Open up the paper to see the result.
* Cover as much of the paper as possible.

Exercise #25

Paint a still life using unconventional tools. This one was done using the edge of a piece of card for the black and some wool dipped in white paint dragged across the painting 🍌 🎨 Get creative and have fun!

Exercise #26

 This exercise may hurt your brain.
* Create your sketch using only vertical lines.
* Don't be tempted to change direction.
* Do a few.

Exercise #27

This is a fun exercise to help you loosen up and create interesting lines 
• Find someone or something to draw.
• If you choose an object it needs to look different from multiple angles. 
• Take a sketchbook and walk around the object or person slowly, while drawing. 
• You are drawing what you see over the top of your existing lines. 
• Focus here on line rather than tone. It will look like quite messy when you are done.

Exercise #28

 Get your Jackson Pollock out today.
* Create a painting using 2 colours.
*Do not touch the painting with a brush or implement. 
* You can pour, flick, dribble etc the paint on
* Go crazy with this one.

Exercise #29

 find an image in the world around you 🌎 
• look at stains on walls, the ground etc. for unintentional artwork. 
• photograph it so that you’re presenting it as a finished piece of work 📸

Exercise #30

Use your image from Yesterday to create a painting or drawing 🎨

Exercise #31

* Find a bottle you can stick a piece of paper around.
* Find an object to draw
* Draw the object, turning the bottle as you go.
* I found using a soft charcoal stick helpful.