How do I...
...improve my public speaking (preaching, teaching, presentation skills)?
...learn to draw, even as a hobby?
...work on my writing..or...write a book I have in mind?
...hone my performance skills (acting, dancing, singing) chops in between productions?
My response has always been conversational in style—whether over lunch, an email. I’ve replied to scores of parents concerned for a “talented” son or daughter. So, it’s in my head, just plunk it our on the old Mac and post it!
As I plunked...the post became over-epic. (Too long.) Like young Mozart’s “too many notes,” I had to many words. (4,000) I needed to “murder your darlings” (edit!) I knew that the heart of this issue was also the soul and operating vision behind this blog. Now, how to say it all in few words.
Along the way I’ve happened upon websites and blogs that quoted and linked my bloggings—mostly they are positive. Thank you, all. One, filled with praise, carried a caution that concerned me. He warned, gently, that Tea With McNair is for more advanced creative types. Not at all my intentions. In fact, I hope to be a friendly goad and encourager to those who are stuck believing there are part of the grand—and fictitious—”non-creative.”
Then, in the mail, along comes Dawn Devries Sokol’s new “book” DOODLE DIARY Art of Journaling...for Girls. Dawn assures me she is already working on Boy Doodles. (Probably filled parachutes, tanks, hot rods, and dinos.)
DOODLE DIARY is a GREAT little “book” (7”x5”) I place it in quotes as it IS a book, with instruction, encouragement, myth busting, fear slaying, and fear whacking pros from Dawn to get anyone past their fear of doodling. (You want me to draw? I CAN’T draw.) Writer/artist Dawn Sokol has also placed on virtually every page (except for a few delicious blank (NO LINES) pages) her own joyous doodlings. These jump start, spurs us onward, lift us to new flights of imagination, inquiry, and, by design, doodling.
[ Doodling usually brings to mind crooked geometric shapes born of boredom: while “on hold” or in a waiting room with stacks of old Newsweak mags.]
Doodling can be anything :: words, sketches, a reminder of something to Google later. Anything dashed off without self-consciousness over penmanship or craftsmanship. We’re playing, thinking “out loud.“ That is, I believe, what Dawn Sokol has in mind (and heart) in Doodle Diary. Along with her publisher, the effulgent Gibbs Smith (a real person and the creator of fun and fascinating books.) Each page prompts us to doodle, paste, “Stick-It” (2 pages for stickers): Heroes, 5 Favorites, I Hate, I love, What I learned, Found...Today. Even a place to write/draw about your “Future Self.” (I’m gonna need more pages, please.)
I am inspired by this “book.” I doodled my responses in my own everywhere-all-the-time sketchbook and remembered that I don’t doodle, draw, paste as much as I want to. I had the same response when I got my first copy of SARK’s Journal and Play!book (1993.) Both Dawn and SARK were once little girls with all the commensurate art supplies. The difference with these two ladies: they didn’t let formal education squash their passion (a word a prefer to “talent.”)
[ Dawn’s books, including Doodle Diary, are in the BOOKS... section of this blog, column left, click and grab! SARK’s there, two, always.]
Hear an interesting quote, make a note; have an idea for a new layout for your office/studio/workspace, doodle a design...doodle three (try them all); friend recommends a “little” film, book, new wine bar, doodle a note. It is you “TO DOodle LIST.”
NOW, the answer to all the HOW DO I... questions. This is why the TEA blog exists. It is the core OBJECTIVE of most of my speaking, coaching, seminaring. This objective motivated the creation of my Recapturing Your Creative Spirit keynote. [ Watch it on line, from the link in the “Prologue”, above “Watch This.”]
If you are a SPEAKER...you will improve your speaking by doodling in a little sketchbook any ideas, observances, quotes that you capture along the trail. (Especially writing—“word doodles”—to improve what you say and how you phrase it.) On the first page of every sketchbook I have: “Anything worth remembering, is worth writing down.” (see next)
WRITERS....draw, paint, sketch, DOODLE, shoot photos (even with your iPhone) and your observational skills will accelerate and your writing will have more specificity, detail, and be more vivid, enthralling, tasty.
ACTORS (all PERFORMANCE artists) carrying a sketchbook to capture interesting people, places, and environments that will be research for a character, set design, new song lyric...choreographic piece.
Visual ARTISTS, write, journal, and even put into words why you paint, why you sculpt, why you create...in any medium.
MANAGERS / DIRECTORS / CEO’s....drawing anything, UNselfconsciously, will access parts of your imagination that you may not be maximizing in business and life.
If you take it everywhere and use it daily, your sketchbook connects you current ideas and experiences to follow up action and growth, ergo TIES = Take It Everywhere Sketchbook.
“ T.I.E.S. ” Think of a sketchbook as a bottomless manila envelope in which you collect and save bits of life’s experiences—many of which you create. Again, do not fuss with or care about penmanship, or whether what you doodle looks exactly like what you were looking at. It’s all a playful exercise and a memory nudge.
Challenge yourself to doodle and write with new tools that will also awaken new corners of your mind: small colored felt pens, a fountain pen (widely available at office barns, artist supply shops.)
Adventure lies ahead. Discovery.
Personal growth. and just the flat out, in-the-moment joy of doodling—words and pictures just for fun.
Everyone I know that “doodles” (words, images, etc.) on a regular basis is a “passion forward” person. (Not all of them are “artists”.) They are all afflicted with the newly identified “ACC” syndrome. When you make the conscious choice and daily effort to cary—everywhere—a “sketchbook” you will expand your perspective on life.
Thankfully we have Dawn Sokol, SARK, Batty Edwards (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain), Orbiting the Giant Hairball, Tea with McNair, and a thousand other resources to cheer you onward. (Check BOOK list, left, for above titles.) Whether you are a young girl, old guy like me, or undecided...grab Dawn’s little book for doodling, lash it to your sketchbook, start looking around for corners of life and activities you have not yet tried.
Your only fear should be who you will become if you do NOT “doodle.”
>> In two days, Doodle Too: a guide for parents (for nurturing well-balanced doodlers)
For tips on picking out your first sketchbook, HERE is a previous blog on just that point.