A refreshing compilation of ways to do art and express yourself when you may not want to draw.
I can't draw, suggest me some other kind of art that can I do?
I've been asked this question a lot of times, especially this quarantine.
Recently initiated into the formal design world at NID, I usually answer this by providing a quick list of techniques of art, that I often use, or see designers and artists around me use. While this doesn't need much debate, it makes me think if drawing and painting: the conventional art skills are the only yardsticks that people often use to judge their ability to do art?
Art is a raw expression. It's hardly limited by a couple of techniques you know or you don't. As a kid, we're taught of drawing and colouring as modes of art; and often aren't exposed to other ways to express ourselves, if we wish to do so. While music, literature, film-making, and digital illustrations are just a few modes to express several other forms of art; if creating something more tangible, is what you're seeking, I'm compiling a list of how you can not draw, and still art. The list features some of the creators I love to follow. Their work is inspiring, soulful, and simple; not intimidating, which is so important for someone who might be just starting to art.
The trick is to find something that resonates with you— where you can intuitively like and dislike elements and create a composition again, and again, and maybe have a strange sense of happiness and accomplishment when you do decide to do art.
If you hoard any kind of material like newspapers or magazines, bills in your purse, old wedding cards, school notebooks, old photographs, visiting cards, then you're the perfect collaging candidate! Featuring Kanika's work which includes simple elements, which come together to create striking visuals.
Roshni's work also includes simple cut-outs from magazines and newspapers along with dried flowers to create wholesome compositions.
We all loved making the paper boats and planes, and for most of us, that remains our sole origami experience. This quarantine, I tried some very simple and new origami patterns like this herringbone structure, featured in Shristi's work. Calculated creases and geometric patterns make this form of art, almost like zen— meditative and surprisingly addictive.
All this takes is a pair of scissors or a paper cutter; and rough sheets. Featuring Upasana's work, which is a delight to behold, and so easy to try. Simple cut-outs are arranged in different repeats, much like the motifs we see on cloth!
Embroidery on paper
This medium works especially for me, and I've been experimenting a lot with it this quarantine. Embroidery on paper creates a juxtaposition of fragility and strength and gives a three-dimensional texture to the planar sheet. While my work involves more of figurines that I embroider, featured here is Natalie's work, which is simple, clean, and incorporates easy everyday elements like twigs, rocks, or branches.
I've personally been doing this for a long time, especially as gifts for some of my close friends. De-collaging, is basically layering surfaces like bills, tissue paper, pamphlets and diary pages, photographs, and dried petals and then scraping off to allow the layers below them to peek through. It gives a raw, and unfinished look, and I usually curate each layer with hoarded paper items that remind me of the person itself!
Priyanka's work is so inspiring that it makes you see every item around you (including a raw mango) as a potential work of art. She creates simple-but-impressive sculptures, using everyday objects lying around your home or found in your garden—cups, saucers, branches, fruits, and flowers!
With all the enormous boom of information, some messages often get lost. Blackout poetry uses existing literary texts like newspaper articles or old pages from a novel, that highlights the presence of some words to form a coherent theme while blacking out the rest. Featuring Rohini's work, who uses the same mode of expression to make a zine, an informal self-published and self-circulated work, usually based on your personal thoughts.
wild flora arrangements
Created with foraged flora, Mrinali's work creates beautiful motifs with seeds, flower petals, and leaves and then sets them into repeats. It brings a refreshing look to patterns and designs, and are so easy to be inspired from!
Art, for me, is often a juxtaposition of many many techniques, whichever translates my mind's imagery into a physical, tangible medium. Often, for someone who isn't in the art & design world, a basic art initiation is missing, and being unable to express via sketching can cause her to shun the creation of art completely, or turn to modes of expression which may not resonate truly. This list is hopefully a prologue to your own art journey, inspired by the passionate works of the above creators. Happy quarantine!
About the author
I'm a Textile design post-graduate student from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. I'm extremely passionate about arts, culture, and clothing!