WHAT IT IS
At its most basic, Bilateral Drawing is drawing with both hands. It’s a form of bilateral stimulation …it lights up both hemispheres of our brains, both sides of our body. It can be a space to access flow …to attend to our nervous system health, to process difficult interactions, feelings, emotions, memories. It’s a space that we can create for ourselves to allow for integration ….of our experiences of thought, emotion, and body. Of all of the things we’re learning, unlearning, feeling, experiencing, avoiding, holding.
This process (& practice) challenges narratives of what it is to be productive, to make art… and what it can look like to TAKE CARE, personally & collectively.
It can be as simple as focusing in on breath, music, and moving our hands and arms …getting out of our thinky brains and focusing in on the materials that we’re holding and using. The ways they look, sound, and feel. And it can be SO MUCH MORE than that.
This kind of practice speaks to the parts of our brain that don’t use words. It soothes the parts of us that feel threat… that want to defend, run away, collapse. It creates a space (physical & metaphorical) for us to put things down… express them, feel them, release them. A space to check in with our bodies, invite them into a DIFFERENT kind of conversation… exploring rhythm, repetition & movement as resources of CARE.
It is a practice of drawing as a sensorial experience… that’s less about WHAT we’re drawing & more about how we FEEL when we’re drawing. Making marks, noticing how our materials feel in our hands, how they sound on our paper, how holding & using them in different ways feels in our bodies. How different marks, different rhythms, different colours… support us in being in our bodies & our lives in any given moment, and in these bonkers times.
This is a space and practice for those who are wanting to BUILD a practice …that’s creative, intentional, integrative, and regenerative. A way of supporting ourselves, IN community.
This drawing club is a space for us to practice together, in community. To show up with fewer words. To show up in our listening & feeling bodies…
It can be hard to start new habits and routines on our own …even when we really WANT to do them. This club …this community…. offers up some supportive accountability, knowing that there will be other faces and bodies showing up on specific days and times – to draw together. Sharing space in the ways that we can, and intention around carving out some time to make marks, move our bodies, express, process… create some ease.
If you’d like to join us, please do. No experience with art-making is required & I’ve added a bunch of information (below) about preparing your space, materials & self for the drawing sessions.
The sessions are 30 min, we start with a prompt & then we draw (with music). We keep showing up, like it’s a practice, because it is.
SETTING UP YOUR SPACE
This practice can be done on any surface that's large enough to fit the paper you'll be using. And I absolutely encourage you to try out different spots if you're able:
- Table, desk, countertop
- Wall, window, door
- You will want to tape your paper down to whatever surface you'll be working on, so that it doesn't move around while you're drawing.
- If you're at all concerned about mucking up your wall, floor, table... you may want to put something in between your paper and surface (that's larger than the paper you'll be drawing on) - some sort of drop cloth (fabric, paper, plastic). You can also lean a piece of wood, or old door against your wall and attach your paper to that rather than directly onto your wall.
- Consider keeping a dedicated spot for your practice, that's always set-up... if you have the space for it.
- If you'll be using any chalky drawing materials (soft/chalk pastels, conte, charcoal), and working on a wall - you may want to have something in place to catch the accumulated dust that will be created (and fall onto the ground).
- I very much encourage inviting movement into this practice - so if you can do it without earbuds/headphones (or if you have a cordless option)... please do that so that your movement isn't being restricted.
Before starting, take a moment to locate yourself in front of your paper... take a breath, a loud sigh, give your shoulders, arms, wrists and fingers a few exaggerated rolls & wiggles. Have a drawing material in each hand... maybe you want to set an intention for your practice, maybe you don't ....and then start drawing.
- You can start by responding to your breath, physical sensation in your body, movement, music, the materials in your hands...
- Please do not draw a picture of anything ...just make marks.
- Close your eyes (or try partially closed if that's more comfortable)... this is a good starting place, and you can always return to it if you feel like you're getting too "thinky".
- Our bodies LOVE simple rhythm & repetition. No need to come up with "interesting" or "innovative" lines or shapes.
- If you find a pattern, rhythm, or movement that you like - that feels good in your body - give yourself permission to stay there. For as long as you want.
- Play around with different speeds ...try moving as slow as you can, maybe big slow rounded shapes ...maybe hard choppy pointed shapes. Try a few things out, see what fits.
- Play around with different pressures ...pressing really hard may be what you need today, or maybe barely hanging on to your drawing materials - and lightly dragging them around the page.
- Allow your hands to catch some air - maybe they want to jump/swoop off of the page briefly, let them.
- Asymmetrical movement - notice if your hands may each be sticking to "their" side of the page, and invite them to explore the WHOLE page. Crossing your arms/hands over each other, and inviting them to dance around wherever they want to go.
- Receive movement from other parts of your body - how can your arms & hands receive movement from your wiggling toes for example.
- Invite movement in to your drawing ...reach, wiggle, sway, shift bum cheek to bum cheek, roll & lift your shoulders...
- Attend to yourself ...if your hands get sore, notice how tightly you might be hanging on to your materials (and loosen your grip). If your shoulders are sore, pause and give them a (slow, intentional, exaggerated) roll. Or maybe you need to walk away for a bit. Listen to (& attend to) your body, you don't need to be in pain.
- Change positions ...if you've been sitting at a table, try standing. If you're working standing at the wall, try sitting on the floor & reaching up to draw. If you're sitting on the floor, try standing/squatting/bending over your page.
- Breathe some more.
- Try humming while you draw - also sighing, and making small noises.
- Try moving close to your paper (like really close, maybe touching it with your cheek, or allowing your forearms to rest on your paper as your draw) ...also move away, create some distance between you and your paper so that you have to reach.
- Play around with large movements and shapes ....and small.
- Let yourself sink into this 30 minutes of reprieve. Let yourself release, and be soothed.
- If journalling is your jam, try jotting down some reflections before and/or after each drawing session.
After you're done drawing. Give some thought to what you want to DO with your piece ...you get to decide. Maybe you want to crumple it up, rip it, bury it, burn it, put it INTO something (a jar, a box), fold it up nicely and wrap it with a ribbon or yarn ....put it under your bed for safe keeping, maybe you want to shred it into confetti, and then put it in a jar of water and turn it into pulp... maybe it goes straight to the bin. Maybe you keep it as-is, where it is... and live with it for a bit, glancing over at it every now & then.
Registration is by donation! (suggested $25-$45/month)
- You can register anytime throughout the month!
- Once you’ve registered, you will have access to ALL remaining sessions each month.
- This is not a subscription that will automatically renew, you will need to re-register for each month that you’d like to participate.
- Monthly membership is based on the calendar month, not 30 days from when you sign up.
All sessions are 30 minutes long, and online (Zoom).
- Mondays 12pm PDT
- Thursdays 5pm PDT *new day/time
- Fridays 10am PDT
- Sundays 12pm PDT
With a monthly membership you will have access to all sessions each month (from the moment that you register). Come to all of them, or just some!
- All sessions are 30 minutes long.
- I open up the Zoom meeting a few minutes early each day, to give you some set-up time in case of technical issues.
- I will always start with a prompt, that I share both verbally & in the chat box (for anyone arriving late).
- Most often I will pop in a few times between songs with additional prompts ...and sometimes not at all.
- There are no check-in's with these sessions, just music, drawing & prompts (me in varying states of chattiness).
- Most folks do have their cameras on for the sessions - with their faces for the first few minutes as we locate ourselves in our spaces and I share the prompt, and then pointed at their paper & drawing hands for the remainder of the session. Though cameras on is not required.
- First sessions - some folks have found it helpful to do their first session or two with their camera off, to get a feel for the space and practice.
- We will almost always be drawing along with music ...and sometimes in response to literature.
- Please keep your microphone muted.
- I will be drawing along with you.
- You can come and go as you please.
- I will give you a time check at about 25 minutes in, so that you know when we're in our last 5 minutes. I sometimes go a bit longer than 30 min... because I want to.
- The invitation is to just show up & draw. Show up however you are ...in your pajamas, bathed/unbathed, messy hair, cranky, sad, worn out... oozing calm & ease, energetic, lethargic... all of you is welcome.
- This is an online space for us to show up & draw TOGETHER, in community ...and making a habit of it.
- That's it. So simple. And such a nourishing practice ...I hope you love it as much as I do.
ART MATERIAL SUGGESTIONS
- Large piece of paper, any colour.
- Ideally at least 18"x24" ...but work with whatever you've got, several smaller sheets taped together, a paper shopping bag that you can cut open, a roll of kraft paper, cardboard.
- Your paper doesn't have to be new, unmarked, flat ...explore using things like packing paper (crumpled, ripped, different sizes & thicknesses), newspaper, cut-open paper shopping bags, maps, patched together recycle bin fodder...
- Masking tape (or any other kind of tape, to attach your paper to your working surface... table, floor, wall) so that it doesn't shift around.
AND, some assortment of the following:
- Oil pastels, chalk/soft pastels, crayons, pencils, pencil crayons.
- Graphite sticks (essentially pencils without the wood encasing, that also come in different hardness/softness options), Conté sticks (compressed charcoal or graphite), art sticks (pencil crayons without the wood encasing),.
- If you're using anything that has wrappers you may want to peel the labels/wrappers off in advance (so that you won't have to stop to do it mid-drawing).
- If you choose materials that need to be sharpened (like pencil crayons, or regular pencils), be sure to have a sharpener handy.
- Scraping is also a form of mark-making ...some suggestions for scraping: popsicle stick, bone folder, chopstick, butter knife, bamboo skewer, coins, fingernails ....anything hard that can be used to scrape into your page once you've built up lots of layers, particularly satisfying with oil pastels.
- Please also feel free to explore with paint ...really, anything that has you making marks with both hands!
Registration is through Eventbrite, where you can pay by credit card or Paypal. If you would prefer to send payment by e-transfer please contact me.
Whether you want to join the club or just do this practice on your own, you can access a BUNCH of 30 min(ish) playlists on my Spotify profile (heyheyshauna).
JOIN MY MAILING LIST
Sign up if you’d like to receive information about upcoming art therapy workshops, and some occasional what-have-you’s!