Sharing + process + working it out

In the last couple of days, since an NPR story (http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2013/08/15/209019104/how-to-draw-out-your-worst-fears) appeared about the Fear Project, I've received many fear submissions from people everywhere. I can't even express how touching it's been to read through these fears. Well, I can express my gratitude — or at least I can try. That's where the visuals come into play. That's why the words here are sparse and not spectacularly well-written. I express through marks on the page. Through color. Through strange-looking faces and figures.

(To those who contacted me with your fears: thank you so, so much. I will be in touch. I would like to illustrate ALL of the fears I've received. Just give me a bit of time.)

Someone contacted me just the other day and asked me how I responded to those who say things like, "But I can't draw! How can I draw my fears?"

I don't believe you have to know how to draw. I'm convinced you don't have to know how to draw! My drawing skills are weak (which doesn't bother me at all). Drawing was something I struggled with in college, when I took all those still-life and life-form drawing classes.

When I create my fear pieces, I try to intuit a person's fear and not think too much about what it "should" look it. A red mass of scribbles on a page can symbolize fear of blowing up out of anger. Thick black lines are pretty scary: they can stand for any number of fears. Just the act of making marks, while thinking about fears, makes me feel like I'm working through them, or understanding them. Naming them. Disassociating from them. It's really not at all about the quality of the "drawing."

I would encourage people to try hard not to let their inner critic get the best of them and to just mess around with whatever art supplies they choose — while they're reflecting on their fear — and then see what comes out. There's no right or wrong here.

The blank page is one of the most terrifying things to someone who's about to create something (on a page). Where does one start? The answer is: "Somewhere. You have to start somewhere." So, draw that line or circle. And then just keep moving your pen/pencil/crayon around.  And tell your inner critique to take a hike.

The blank page is one of the most terrifying things to someone who's about to create something (on a page). Where does one start? The answer is: "Somewhere. You have to start somewhere." So, draw that line or circle. And then just keep moving your pen/pencil/crayon around.  And tell your inner critique to take a hike.

My sketches aren't very detailed or refined. And since I try to work mainly from the seat of my pants with these drawings, I don't spend a lot of time planning (like I would do if I was working on a design project, for example). Quick sketch, and then I get to work.

My sketches aren't very detailed or refined. And since I try to work mainly from the seat of my pants with these drawings, I don't spend a lot of time planning (like I would do if I was working on a design project, for example). Quick sketch, and then I get to work.

I use gouache in most of my work (whenever I'm using some water-based medium). I'll often test out the color intensity on whatever substrate is nearby — a piece of an art board, whatever. Sometimes I just look at these splotches of paint that are off to the side, and I think, "Huh. I like that. The colors. The layering. Nice." 

I use gouache in most of my work (whenever I'm using some water-based medium). I'll often test out the color intensity on whatever substrate is nearby — a piece of an art board, whatever. Sometimes I just look at these splotches of paint that are off to the side, and I think, "Huh. I like that. The colors. The layering. Nice."