WHAT IT IS
At its most basic, Bilateral Drawing is drawing with both hands. But it’s also a way 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.
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 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.
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.
Bilateral drawing is such a beautiful tool and resource for accessing and connecting our (whole) brain and body… through rhythm, repetition, and drawing with both hands. To let go of WHAT we’re making & just MAKE marks. It’s a way that we can express and explore what we’re feeling – release it, give shape to it, allow it to transform. It’s a place to put it, and sit with it, without needing to intellectualize it. Without needing to make sense of it. But instead just allowing ourselves to feel what we feel.
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, to 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”.
- Think rhythm and repetition. No need to come up with “interesting” or “innovative” lines or shapes… our bodies LOVE rhythm and repetition.
- 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. It might be helpful to even cross your arms/hands over each other for a more explicit invitation ….or maybe it’s more of an invitation to dance around, wherever they want to go.
- Receive movement from other parts of your body – how can your arms and 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 and 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 just need to walk away for a bit. Listen to (and 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 and 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.
WHERE TO START
You can either jump in and just go for it, or you MAY want to participate in my Intro to Bilateral Drawing workshop before joining this drawing club. If you’re not seeing an upcoming date please let me know you’re interested and I’ll add you to my list!
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):
- Tuesdays 12-12:30pm AND 8-8:30pm PDT
- Fridays 2-2:30pm PDT
- Sundays 12-12:30pm PDT
- Mondays 8-8:30am PDT
- Tuesdays 12-12:30pm PDT
- Fridays 2-2:30pm PDT
- Sundays 12-12:30pm 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!
- This is an online space for us to show up & draw together, making a habit of it.
- No check-in’s, just music, drawing & a few interspersed prompts.
- All sessions are 30 minutes long.
- You don’t need to stop at 30 minutes …that’s when I will end the meeting, but you can keep going!
- I will try to 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 have music playing for us.
- 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 aprox 25 minutes in, so that you know when we’re in our last 5 minutes.
- Just show up and draw.
- 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.
- 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, and 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), just be sure to have several to choose from and/or a sharpener handy.
- Scraping tool (popsicle stick, chopstick, butter knife, bamboo skewer ….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).
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