Today I want to discuss a technique that I use every day to get in touch with my intuitive side. It is a simple drawing technique, and you don’t have to be an artist to draw this technique. I call it intuitive drawing.
Intuitive drawing is how I get in touch with my inner landscape and what dwells within. If you have many things to think about during the day, it can be a way to release energy, and research studies show that if you draw while listening to something you can remember what you heard more easily.
I’ve always been an advocate for doodling in the classroom. When I was a child and doodled in the margins of the paper, my teacher always told me that I should stop it and pay attention to what she was saying. But as a matter of fact, that was exactly what I did. She just wasn’t on the same page as me!
I also remember the landline phone. Alongside of the phone my parents had a notepad in case they had to take notes while they were talking on the phone. That notepad became my chance to explore the nature of intuitive drawing: every time I talked to a friend on the phone, I would sit and doodle, just let the pen go wherever it wanted. After the phone conversation, I could follow the lines and almost exactly recite what the conversation had been about.
So enough about my childhood. Let’s get on with the technique. What is intuitive drawing? How do you do it?
Intuitive drawing and meditation
Now that society has evolved a bit since I went to school and no one has a landline anymore, we’ve also come pretty far with research about the benefits of meditation. There are many teachers who embrace letting their children doodle in class since they know how meditative it can be, and meditation is no longer considered woo woo or something that crazy people in caves do. It’s quite mainstream, which I believe is a sign that the world is going in the right direction.
If you follow this blog you know that I’m an advocate for meditation and what it can do for our wellbeing. If you strip it down to its core, you can say that the meaning of all meditation is to get into a state where you find out truths about your expanded self. The thoughts you have calm down and you can be in stillness.
When you meditate with a pen in your hand and a sheet of paper something starts to happen. Your thoughts get visible in a mysterious way. I don’t mean that if you think of a car you draw a car. You draw a line and tap in to the energy that this line represents.
Your inner pictures
Here’s where it might get a little esoteric. But bare with me, it’s not as mystical as you might think. When you draw a line, you manifest something out into the world that just a second ago wasn’t there. The line is a small representation of your expanded self, or your soul if you will.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t have anything to do with if you can draw or not. It’s not about the artistic expression at all. When you practice it every day however, you will of course get “better”, and you are going to want to explore more. When you take a walk you might see something that you like, for example a flower or a cloud. Notice these things that pop up and see that they are things that you appreciate in the world and that it is something that resonates with something deep inside of you. Next time you sit with the intuitive drawing it might come up. Let it.
Exercise in intuitive drawing
To get started, I’ve put together some exercises for you. I know it can be intimidating, especially if you’re in the mindset that what you do has to look nice and you have an idea of what something artistic should look like. This is not an artistic exercise. This is an exercise to help you get to know yourself.
Things you need for this exercise is:
- a piece of paper
- a pencil
- a pen
- an eraser
Grab your pencil and divide the surface into four sections by drawing two lines, like so:
If you want, you can divide those sections as well:
When I started out with this technique, I discovered that the smaller sections I had, the less scarier it became. If you just have a small section that you have to take responsibility for at the moment, you can easily focus on that without having to care about the rest for now. Boundaries are sometimes a good thing.
Now take the pen and start to fill the sections out with whatever comes into your mind. Follow your feeling. If you want to draw flowing lines you do that, and if you want to fill out the space with pointy forms you do that. Whatever comes up in your awareness for the moment is the right thing. Follow it where it wants to lead you.
Sometimes you draw something that you want to explore further. It can be hard for the mind to go that other direction if you’ve decided on one thing. Try to let the mind rest, and follow where your intuition wants to take you. See my article on ego vs intuition if you want more on this topic.
Ways to apply the technique
Daily morning routine
Intuitive drawing is a really good habit to incorporate with your morning routine. It doesn’t have to take long. You can get a small notebook or dedicate a section in your bullet journal for the morning routine. I can tell you that my days are always better as a whole if I start my mornings with a cup of coffee and my small book that I’ve dedicated to my intuitive drawing.
A while ago, I interviewed the artist and founder of Zenart, Ingela Johansson, who always starts her mornings with her zenart formula, which is a kind of intuitive drawing technique as well. You can read the interview with Ingela Johansson here.
If you keep a bullet journal, you’re familiar with the concept of “mood tracking”. This is when you track your mood for the day, oftentimes in an artistic fashion. Intuitive drawing is like made for this and it’s so much fun to look back and remember what you went through and what you learned during that particular month.
Let’s say you want to track september. This month has 30 days, so you divide the new spread in 30 small sections. Use a pencil, and let the pencil flow over the paper. Follow your instinct.
Now you have a small section that you can fill out every evening.
When your boss is nagging you
Okay, I’m half joking and half serious. If you have too much on your plate, It’s almost a requirement that you have a small notebook with you at all times, so you can “escape” to it whenever needed. Take five minutes and just relax with an intuitive drawing. Especially for us INFJ and INFP people, it’s almost a must to have an “escape plan” if situations get too overwhelming. The intuitive drawing notebook can be a great help with that.
Play with your children
Okay, I have to share one more childhood memory with you. When I was a small child, my mother used to draw shapes and forms on a paper for me so that I had a coloring page. I loved to get one of those pages for myself so that I could have something to fill out with color, and I think my mother enjoyed drawing them as much as I loved coloring them out. When you get the hang of it, you can fill out a whole page with lines and shapes and hand it over to your children to color them. And of course you can introduce intuitive drawing at an early stage for your children as well. Include them in the morning routine and hopefully you will have a more pleasant and less stressful morning with them.
Notes on intuitive drawing
Since this technique is such a powerful way to get in touch with your soul and inner child, it’s an effective technique to help with your soul growth and shadow work. But note that it can stir up memories and childhood traumas. If you feel that you can handle what’s coming up to the surface, you can improve in many areas of your life and release blockages and traumas with this technique.
However, note that I am NOT a doctor, so this technique is not medical advice. Even if studies show that mediative techniques is highly beneficial for our mental health, i recommend that you see a doctor or a psychologist if you have mental health issues.
I hope that you will try out intuitive drawing. Once you get started you don’t want to stop. But getting started is always the hardest part, so that’s why I’ve put together some inspirational sheets that you can use to kickstart your intuitive drawing journey. It’s a list of simple lines and patterns that you can start out with if you feel insecure at first.
Here is a really good intuitive artist that I recommend watching if you want to dig deeper into this subject. Her name is Ulrike Hirsch and she is amazing.