Notes From My First Art Class EVER

In 2015 I took my first drawing + sketching class at a local high school when I was living in Wellington, New Zealand. Here are a handful of the most impactful lessons I learned ::

1. Make it BIG. Bigger = easier! Many of these points have a theme :: Relinquish control + fear. I never bought a really BIG sketchbook until it was required for yesterday's workshop. I always made these tiny drawings in tiny notebooks that now feel like creative suffocation. (See below for my BIG pinecone!)

Give yourself room to breathe.


Don't constrict your workspace. Let your creative environment and practices be really organic and spacious and alive.

2. Put your whole arm into it. I loved this tip and think it applies to drawing and life. When you're going for something, GO FOR IT. Half-assing is for suckers.

Be purposeful. When you're putting your pencil on paper, or whatever your creative medium may be, give it your all. Use those muscles. Go BIG.

3. Let go. Release. Loosen your grip. Fellow control freaks, listen here. This was probably the biggest lesson I took away.

Hold the pencil looser. Be fluid. Sway with the breeze. Nothing has to be permanent. Make and make and make again.

Let whatever comes out of you be. Let it flow. Make mistakes and keep moving.

4. Being an artist = being able to see. You never really see an object until you have to depict it through your art, whether that's capturing it on film, describing it in words, or drawing it on paper.

Artists are aware and see what is commonly overlooked.


You probably stop and stare at objects, people, and situations that everyone else just walks by without second glance. You're highly sensitive and can feel the tension or joy or love in a room and close your eyes to burn the feeling into your memory. You're deeply sensing, highly aware, and relentlessly curious.

5. You cannot shade too dark! Keep going. When you think something is perfect, give it a rest, but come back later. Don't be afraid to really make your mark. Push through to that next level.

Don't sell yourself short. You cannot be too much of you. Show the world what you've really got. And darling, don't let anyone evereverever water you down.

The last quote came from Danielle Krysa (The Jealous Curator) on a podcast interview with artist Lisa Golightly.

These two awesome ladies were talking about the general mindset in most art schools, which is all about experimentation and "trying and trying and trying and failing and throwing it on the floor and flipping it over and trying it again and not being so precious about that final piece." 

Go make something new today. 
Make it BIG. 
Put your whole arm into it.
Loosen your grip.
Let it be totally you.
Try and try and try again.