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The Beauty of a Daily Drawing Practice, Sticky-Note Style

Ellen Olson-Brown is a creative inspiration to me in more ways than I can count. She is also a children’s book author, children’s yoga instructor, life-design junkie, Bikram devotee, and mother of twins. I love, love, love what she shares below. Enjoy!


drawing faces practice

Although I’m pretty proud of the collection above, crowing is truly not my motivation for posting. I’m posting this to make a point that is *so* important to me.

Every day this month I’ve made at least one of these little drawings on a sticky note. I find an image of a face online, paint its basic shape in watercolor, and then ink in the details with a permanent marker.

I’ve committed to this because I’ve found that mixing colors and drawing, even just a little, is one of those things that makes the rest of my day more vivid, easier.

Drawing on a sticky note is way less intimidating than using beautiful paper or a canvas, because of both the size and the humbleness of the materials. And committing to doing it every day of a short month quiets the “Should I? Why?” voice without overwhelming me.

So what’s the point I want to prove?

Well, it’s the same point I want desperately to prove when someone new practices near me in a yoga class and says, “But it looks so easy for you! I’ll never be able to do that!” and I have to tell them 1) It’s still *very* hard for me, and 2) I couldn’t touch my toes when I first started yoga. What I can do now has taken me 7 years and at least 1,000 classes of showing up and listening and trying and getting better and getting worse and having faith in the process and learning to add a gentle “yet” to a very bratty, “I can’t!!”

I love these little faces, my wall of friends and encouragers. Are they perfect? No. But I used to be scared, stiff, and frustrated when it came to drawing. I thought making art was a matter of talent, which I simply didn’t have. And now I am making things that bring me joy.

Talent is real. We’re each wired/built to optimize certain kinds of learning, performing.

But way more powerful than talent is openness, faith, courage, hard work, and enough self-kindness to let yourself be a beginner, show up, and see what happens.

Draw, run, sing, cook, garden, dance, do yoga — whatever that thing is that you’re drawn to, get your butt out there and try it 10 or 50 or 3,000 times.

Because you deserve to amaze yourself.


9 Comments Post a comment
  1. You say they aren’t perfect but displayed all together they have such a big impact and actually look quite impressive. Brilliant idea and doing just a little piece each day isn’t that scary.

    February 27, 2014
  2. Ps, I didn’t say that I love it!!!

    February 27, 2014
  3. I love this post. I’ve recently not had time to draw/paint so I started crocheting little hearts. They take just a few minutes and they make me happy – they are my “sticky notes”. Love it, not matter what, just create.

    February 27, 2014
  4. thank you for sharing about Ellen Olson-Brown. Yes, creatively inspiring indeed!

    February 27, 2014
  5. Hey, Guys! Thanks so much for the sweet comments. “No matter what, just create” nails it, don’t you think?

    One of my greatest inspirations has been Danny Gregory – I’ve just signed up to take his online course “Sketchbook Skool” in April, and I’m looking forward to some little morsels of homework to keep me cookin’. Check it out at:

    February 27, 2014
  6. Inspiring! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    February 27, 2014
  7. Kiya Krier - Runs With Blisters #

    I love it! That is so cool! I am practicing a similar exercise in writing. 3 pages each day of continuous free-writing. I pick a different topic each day. Journaling, short story brainstorm, blog idea. Then I write. Without stopping, without judgement, without regard to intelligibility or spelling (and only a little regard to legibility. I’d like to be able to read it later ๐Ÿ˜‰ Usually it only takes 15-20 minutes.

    Insane what a difference that such a small commitment can make. In one month I’ve drafted 4 blog posts, published 2 posts, and brainstormed the beginning stages of a short story. So much more than what I had done in months and months before that! That little bit creates such momentum!!

    March 1, 2014

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