Today marks the official start of this year’s “100-Day Challenge“. This will be my third year taking part — although I do it in a very limited way. I don’t post to Instagram, don’t participate in any forums, and don’t share much of whatever creative project I’m working on other than here in the blog.
What I like best about this challenge is that it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” project in which everyone is tasked with doing essentially the same thing. Instead, it’s a very personal challenge, with each participant choosing his or her own specific project.
Earlier, I decided to use neurographic art as the basis for my 100-Day Challenge project. Each day — beginning today — for the next 100 days, I’ll be starting my morning by creating a neurographic drawing. In doing this, I’ll be working as well with ideas involving art therapy.
So… how is it going so far? Well, honestly, I feel as though I’m off to a bit of a bumpy start. Here’s my very first attempt at creating neurographic art.
First, for those who missed my earlier post… what is neurographic art? It’s a form of artistic expression developed by a Russian psychologist and creative entrepreneur — whatever that is. Creating neurographic art is simple:
- Begin by drawing/scribbling on a blank page for about 3 seconds. Be sure that no line ends in the middle of the page. This free-style drawing should be one long, continuous line. For what it’s worth, here’s how my initial drawing looked:
You’ll see that I wasn’t sure what I was doing and later had to make corrections because I did have lines ending on the page. I extended those lines off the page. You might notice, too, that I later added more to this first loopy drawing.
- Round off the sharp edges. OK. What does that mean? For me, this was actually a bit tricky. It means to look at any place where lines intersect. Those intersections have “sharp edges”. They need to be rounded. You can see the process here: Neurographic Art Lessons
This was where things got bumpy for me. Instead of feeling relaxed and calm as I rounded the corners and removed any “sharp edges”, I felt nervous and uncertain. Was I doing it correctly? Was I seeing all the sharp edges? It seemed that as I rounded the corners, I had to thicken the lines around the edges — which is part of the process. I just felt quite uncomfortable, especially at first. Gradually I understood the process better.
- Add additional lines, if you want. At this point, as you look at your drawing, you might feel that something is off-balance or that there are “empty” places. Feel free to add more lines, more loops, more…whatever. Just be sure you then go back and repeat the process of rounding off any sharp edges you’ve added.
I did add several new lines to my drawing, if only because I wanted to be familiar with that step of the process. Mostly I looked at places where I had large white spaces, then added additional lines looping through those areas.
- Play with colors. I think colors are always an important aspect of personal art, and if we’re using art as part of a “therapy” session, color can be very significant.
For my first neurographic drawing, I just grabbed all my “Mermaid Markers” and made a point of using all of the colors.
Here, by the way, is my quick materials list:
- 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ Mixed Media Sketchbook
- Fine Point Sharpie Marker — Black
- 1 Set of Jane Davenport Mermaid Markers (12 Colors)
You don’t have to use these materials, but you’ll probably want to be sure that the marker for your initial line drawing is waterproof.
When it came to coloring, I tried to use colors in a way that felt interesting and balanced. Again, I felt a bit anxious at this stage. It was hard for me to stay in the lines, and I wasn’t sure how to create any shaded effects with my markers.
You’ll notice, of course, that I also chose to leave one section uncolored. This was a conscious, deliberate decision. I’m not sure what it represents emotionally, but I liked that stark white space. Maybe it symbolizes a blank mind being surrounded by many different ideas!
And, if you’re curious, the “emotional prompt” I was working with for this drawing was simply the idea of making marks that expressed how I was feeling. Whether or not this neurographic drawing does that, I don’t know. As I’ve pointed out above, I was feeling nervous, apprehensive, and unsure of what I was doing. Maybe my drawing does reflect those feelings.
Now, you won’t be seeing 99 more neurographic drawings coming up day after day, but I’m sure I’ll share a few from time to time. I want to try different things throughout this 100-Day Challenge. I want to learn more about neurographic art and look at what other artists are doing. I want to try several different media — my gansai, of course, maybe alcohol inks, probably watercolor pencils, and definitely a few other markers. I also want to play with colors.
My objective is not merely to do 100 neurographic drawings, but to find 100 different ways to do them. Tomorrow I plan to listen to music while I explore my emotions. Another day — when the weather cooperates — I want to take my art outside and sit in the sun while I draw.
For me, this will be the real challenge — doing the same thing over and over, but doing it differently every day.