how drawing became my therapy


bullet journal floral sun illustration

I have absolutely no chill. Ask anyone that knows me and they'll tell you the same thing: there's a 321% chance I'll over-dramatically stress out over the tiniest thing. I've tried many things - colouring books (stressed me out even more), meditation (an excuse for my mind to wander further), jogging (worked for a while, then I got lazy), writing (so close to working but Wikipedia is distracting). But they've either a) never allowed me to completely de-stress or b) never worked for more than two months.

And finally, this time last year, when I needed it the most, I started drawing. 

love fine line botanical monochrome illustration
Let's go back to last year - the stress was high, I was not in a good place mentally, my health was starting to be affected, and I was getting really snappy at everyone around me. This is not something I'll admit often, but I was starting to get scared. I've been through this before and the last time it happened, it took me years before I was able to feel normal again.

I was seeing people draw flowers and beautiful things on Instagram, and it's a good thing I have a competitive side because I started thinking, if they can do it, so can I. So I picked up a pen and a notebook and started drawing. 

I never thought I had "artistic talent" nor did I ever think I could draw. I had subpar grades in art classes and was never a big doodler. For years, the best thing I could draw was a disfigured stick person - with a very loose definition of "stick person" and more like, a circle propped on several stacked together lines. 

But I'm stubborn, competitive, and slightly obsessive. It's a terrible combination and usually gets me into messy situations, but this time, it's allowed me to find peace. 

On weekdays, I would go straight to my desk after coming home from work. On weekends, I would be spending hours drawing and then wondering why I was starving after not eating for 8 hours. I spent hours obsessing over how to make the floral petals look softer, how to make hands look more real, and how to structure a drawing better. 

south korea indigenous plants insects animals fine line drawing black and white
girl with purple hair in overalls watercolor fashion illustration

It would not be an understatement to say I lost myself in the world of pencils, fineliners, and paper. 
I didn't notice at first, but it slowly became clear that I was finding therapy in drawing. It was like I was translating the real life thunderstorm into the florals and drawings that were in my sketchbook. I was able to refocus the negative energy to obsessing over the details in drawings, getting competitive over trying to master new mediums, and just channelling all my creative energy into creating something new.

Recently, I've been obsessing over watercolours. It's almost like I'm able to translate the greys I'm feeling into colourful paintings. It's kinda like how Van Gogh ate yellow paint in hopes he would be happier. While I have no plans to eat paint, it's almost like I'm able to cheer myself up if I'm able to create a colourful painting. 

bullet journal 2018 layout self care inspirational brush lettering
I picked up a pen to draw 12 months ago and I'm still holding that pen.

There's still a 321% chance I'll overdramatically stress out over the most insignificant thing, but I've become more observant of the beautiful things in life, I have a keener eye for detail, I'm training myself to be less rigid, and I've found therapy in drawing.

Drawing might not be everyone's cup of tea, so I'd like to know, have you found your own method of therapy? 
With Love, 
Daphne x