Draw it Out

Life is hard. Messy. Complicated. Beautiful. Exhausting. Exhilarating. And everything in between. Plus it moves fast.

Your days might bring sadness, grief, loss, tragedy – or joy, gratitude, delight, amusement. Sometimes it ends up feeling like a confusing cocktail of all the above.

So how do we make sense of it all?

Lots of strategies can work, but a universal option, available to anyone (and cheaper than therapy!) is to carve out some time for creativity.

If you’re like me and feel intimidated by a stark white blank page, here are 10 creative prompts that might help you get started if you’re feeling something and want to draw it out.


10 Creative Prompts
to help you navigate emotional experiences

  1. Inner landscape: Draw a landscape – imaginary or real – that reflects your current emotional state. Use colors, shapes, and patterns to represent different feelings you might be experiencing.

  2. Memories: Make a drawing or any kind of visual representation of a favorite memory. Let yourself experience the emotions stirred up by that memory, and see if those emotions can inform the drawing.

  3. Mandala meditation: Create a mandala using repetitive patterns and symbols that cause you to feel a sense of calm and healing. Focus on the meditative process of drawing, and don’t worry too much about the outcome or product.

  4. Musical marks: Scribble or doodle freely on paper, following the mood, tone, speed, volume, or rhythm of the music.

  5. Grief portrait: Draw a portrait of a person or thing you have lost. Do your best to capture your experience and recollection, rather than aiming for a realistic representation.

  6. Elements: Choose an element from nature and try to illustrate the concept, value, spirit, or power of that element. Consider what lesson Mother Nature is trying to teach us with this element.

  7. Metamorphosis: Create a pattern, design, or series of shapes that start as one thing and transform to something different. This progression can symbolize or help clarify your own journey – whatever it may be – from point A to point B.

  8. Gratitude imagery: Whether you’re feeling up, down, or somewhere in between, create some marks on paper that evoke or represent something you’re grateful for. More gratitude is never a bad thing.

  9. Emotional weather: Depict the emotional weather of your mind through color, texture, pattern, or literal drawings. You might think moody cloudscape or weather forecasting diagrams. 

  10. Safe place: Create a drawing that represents a safe place where you imagine retreating to. This could be an actual location in your life, or an imaginary safe haven. You might draw the place itself, or just some small detail contained within.

All in all, the suggestions on this list are meant to help you get started, but please remember there’s no right or wrong when it comes to artwork, or emotional work for that matter.

If you’re feeling raw or vulnerable, focus on circles instead of straight lines (scientifically proven to feel more friendly, safe and healing), take it slow, stay curious, and try and remember that this is about process, not product.

And as a closing note, I’d like to remind you to go easy on yourself. Emotions can be a wild ride, and the creative process can feel scary. While it might be tempting to judge yourself or focus on what “should” be, you deserve the space and opportunity to explore what is.

I’m sending you a virtual hug. What you’re about to make is beautiful and important, even if no one ever sees it.

Big love and don’t forget to seek beauty, keep hope, and give kindness in all you do.

Leave a Reply