Category: Exercises

Meditative Sketch

(This is a recovered post from 2013 ~S)
I sat down to do a sketch in my favorite spot, the back porch. I noticed that the trees were beginning to yellow and lose some leaves. The late afternoon sunlight shown directly into the woody patch in front of my chair. Great place and view for some meditative sketching. I will walk you through the steps below:

(I didn’t take pics each step, because part of the benefit of this exercise is a detached focus on what you are doing.)

It is perfectly okay to use pencils or whatever your preferred sketching tools for this exercise. If you choose pencils, choose several of varying hardness…the harder the pencil graphite, the lighter the line. (You can get pretty cheap drawing pencil sets anywhere office or art supplies are sold.)

Since I prefer pen, that is what I used.

The main thing is that you set yourself down to REALLY put in the time/focus to work on this picture. Allow AT LEAST AN HOUR for this exercise.

Memory Walking Exercise

(This is a recovered post from 2013~It has been edited to remove some broken image links. I did find the full map, though!~S)

The Memory Walking exercise is one of those that I equate with meditating. It’s also the hardest to REMEMBER to do when I really need the mental break! I should do these more often. They are VERY SIMPLE.

All you have to do is:

1. Imagine a place from your childhood. Choose either a happy place or an everyday place (not a traumatic place).

2. Remember being a kid and going to that place. Close your eyes and walk there in your imagination. Remember very specific things. Not where everything is, just some details about the place and the stuff in it that caught your attention when you went there. Don’t let the adult you analyze what things really are. For example, if there was a vent that looked like dragon’s nostrils, don’t call it “stylized air vent screen” in your mind, call it what you did as a kid!

3. Now that you have walked there in your mind, it’s time to make a map. I do not mean a diagram of your place, but a map of details that you remember as you do your mental walkthrough. For example, do you remember the door? The smell? The mouse that used to live under the sink? Draw the first thing you remember and say something about it. You’ll probably start to remember LOTS of things as you go along.

4. Draw a curvy dotted line, then draw the next thing you remember and write a little something about it.

5. Keep going until you feel like quitting. If you find you want to go on for days, here are some ways to limit yourself: Set timer (about an hour), fill the page, turn off lights and work until you run out of daylight…

Sam notes: Don’t worry if the thing you draw doesn’t look like what you remember. Or if you totally mess up. Just roll with it. If your memory item is a complicated object, just draw a suggestion of it and move on. I have the perfect example of an art mess in my Memory Map below. I wanted to toss it and start over since I was going to share it with the world. But the main reason I am doing this has nothing to do with sharing, so I had to practice what I preach!

Also, I found I wanted to say more about the things I remembered than I did here. This exercise may inspire future entries about some of the items I remember.

This is me walking you through my memory walk:

Field Observation Exercise

(This is a recovered post from 2013~It has been edited because it was a complete mess!~S)

Field Observation Supplies:

  • Your journal or paper to draw on.
  • A pen.

I photographed my journal entry and made some comments on each step, which you can see below the break (image heavy!), but here’s  a rundown of the Field Observation exercise:

Field Observation Exercise Steps:

Exercises for the Illuminated Journal

(This is a recovered post from 2013~It has been edited to take out broken links. I have tried to replace the pics as well!~S)

vase and lamp

I often ignore the fact that it’s a book… just pretend the middle crease isn’t there and draw on..

Now that you know some reasons for keeping a journal, and a little about my personal journal, you may be wondering what exactly to put into your journal.

It can be difficult to get started. This is why I have pulled out my old copy of Hannah Hinchman’s book A Life in Hand: Creating the Illuminated Journal. The book is all about helping you get into the habit of keeping up an illuminated journal.

Hannah Hinchman suggests FIVE ICE-BREAKING EXERCISES to help you. Whenever I can’t come up with a prompt on my own, these are the things I fall back on. I am going to discuss each exercise separately (and do the exercises) for you to see in the coming week or two, but you don’t have to wait for me! Here are Hinchman’s Ice-Breaking Exercises and a brief description of how to do them: