I deliberately lengthen my walk to work these days so I can take myself through a couple of parks and get a little bit of nature before I set foot in the office. And I’ve resolved to use painting and drawing as a method for mindfulness, given that I’m the kind of person who struggles to keep still long enough to do a seated meditation – to stop off and try and capture something in the moment, as well as giving me a good way of practising both technique and skills of observation.
I’m still messing about, really, when it comes to digital painting. I have a lot to learn!
At the moment I’m aware I use too many different media/brush styles in one picture. But it’s fun to play around with the tools.
[Image description: a digital painting of an ornamental cherry tree in full blossom.]
It’s April and I live in the UK which means it’s spring, so obviously I didn’t draw this one recently. But it’s a nice reminder of the colours that I love, from a season which mixes beauty and vibrancy with loss, decay, and darkness.
I love autumn leaves – there’s so much to look at and appreciate about them.
[Image description: full-colour fine liner pen drawing in landscape orientation of sycamore leaves coloured in somewhat stylised autumnal shades, close up, with many leaves overlapping others].
Autistics like me see, hear, and feel the details. Everywhere. We can’t stop our brains from detecting everything. When we’re vulnerable, tired, stressed, or anxious, or already overloaded, it’s hard to cope.
But sometimes, details can be delicious. When I’m relaxed, I revel in them. And sometimes, drawing my focus towards one particular detail or cluster of details keeps the rest of the clutter out of view.
[Image description: Cartoon Mama Pineapple, full colour, drawn in felt tip. A white female-presenting person with brown midlength hair clipped to one side. She is wearing a pink top, and has her hands clapped together an a lovestruck, dreamlike expression on her face. The words “Ooohhh! Deeeetails!” Are written above her, and coloured love hearts radiate outwards from the image.]
This was one of the first “doodles” I drew in my recent return to drawing, sketched out and filled in on a Pendolino train to Glasgow for a conference as a way of drawing my focus away from the busyness all around me.
I was compelled to use highly contrasting colours for each of these butterflies – there was something therapeutic and meditative about taking almost a “colouring book” approach to their execution, at the beginning of the period of heightened anxiety I’m still in today.
As is often the case, they’re inspired by reality, but not realist.
[Image description: Full-Colour pen drawing, in landscape orientation, of fifteen butterflies, with imaginary rather than actual species’ colours and wing markings. They are arranged in three rows of five, and there is no background other than the page which they have been drawn.]
A continuation of yesterday’s little comic strip. One day I might expand this into a longer piece about autistic parenting, but I don’t have the spare time or executive function to commit to producing a regular web comic at the moment…
A comic strip of three panels, laid out in portrait orientation, and drawn digitally in black and white.
IMAGE: Silhouette of a mother and two children (the elder one long hired wearing a floaty dress; the younger one with short hair, t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms). All are barefoot, and jumping/dancing. They are surrounded by musical notes, stars and flowers.
TEXT: “But there’s so much joy we share.”
IMAGE: Composition of a child’s drawing featuring two people and the crudely written words “I love you”, a child’s hand holding a heart-shaped object, another child’s hand holding a flower, and an iPad screen containing various emoji and the words “My Mum is the best!”
TEXT: “I know they love me, from all the little ways they show me.”
IMAGE: Mama Pineapple, a white female-presenting person with mid-length hair, hugging two small children, whose faces are turned away from the viewer. Small love hearts radiate outwards from the group.
TEXT: “And the love I have for them is the biggest, scariest, most beautiful feeling I’ve ever had.”