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Dear Friend,


This month I’d like to offer you a way to access your emotions or mood, by way of pen and paper. I created a 4.5 minute video to walk you through the exercise, and I’d love to know how it works for you!

Background: In my graphic facilitation, I draw icons for objects or metaphors:  laptops, buildings, mountains, crevasses. In my fine art, I often draw abstract marks that connect to an internal feeling or emotion. When I start to draw, I often don’t know what will emerge. But it usually reflects my mood or some undercurrent of emotion.

So here’s the exercise: (these instructions are also in the video)

  • Grab a pen or marker and a sheet of scrap paper –– whatever’s hand
  • Take a few slow belly breaths and try to connect to what’s present for you emotionally. (If nothing shows up, no worries)
  • Put your pen on the paper and close your eyes. Keep your eyes closed as you draw
  • Take about 15 seconds and make whatever marks your hand wants to make. Don’t think about it, pretend your hand has a mind of its own, and you’re just following. Your hand might make long loopy scribbles or short staccato dots, just go with it.
  • Open your eyes and see if you can describe / name what’s happening on the page. This is not about judging whether the drawing is beautiful or not (that’s not the point-- but rather, what information can you glean? What do the loopy or compressed or wandering marks imply to you about the state of your mood or emotion? Just look for information. As the cartoonist, writer and teacher Lynda Barry says, any drawing is just a record of your hand moving on the page on that day.

This could be used as a check in exercise with groups. It could be super quick where everyone just holds their drawings up to the camera without any words. Or, I could imagine people sharing in pairs – debriefing their state of mind or mood via the scribbled drawing.

Let me know what you think about that idea. And let me know how the exercise goes for you! 


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PO Box 7484
Berkeley, Ca 94704

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The Graphic Distillery · PO Box 7484 · Berkeley, Ca 94704 · USA

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