Art Practice for Self-Care: Ground Yourself with Single Line Drawing | Barrie Jones | Skillshare

Art Practice for Self-Care: Ground Yourself with Single Line Drawing

Barrie Jones, Contemporary Scottish Artist

Art Practice for Self-Care: Ground Yourself with Single Line Drawing

Barrie Jones, Contemporary Scottish Artist

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8 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Materials and Setup

    • 4. Useful Drawing Exercises

    • 5. Single Line Drawing

    • 6. Adding Patterns

    • 7. Adding Colours

    • 8. Conclusion

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About This Class

We all experience unhelpful thoughts sometimes and we all cope in different ways.

In this class, we will be using art as a form of mindfulness and self-care.

I’ve personally learned to use my regular art practice as a key part of my self-care. Engaging in this practice can be a tonic for mental health as we use both our creative brain and logical problem solving mind simultaneously.



Specifically, we will be using single-line drawing in this class. Remaining connected to our artwork well represents how we can remain connected and present with difficult emotions without being overwhelmed by them. 

The only requirement for this class is a willingness to learn a helpful new skill.

So even if you’re a beginner to art, this class is for everyone! We all need ways to care for ourselves and I’m passionate to share this art practice with you.

By the end of the class you will be able to:

  • Engage mindfully with simple drawing techniques.
  • Add interest to your art with patterns.
  • Add imaginative colour to your illustrations.
  • Use a mindful art practice as part of your self-care routine.

Can making beautiful art really be self-care? YES! So let’s get to it!

Meet Your Teacher

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Barrie Jones

Contemporary Scottish Artist


Hello, I'm Barrie. I’m a self taught artist, originally from Argyll in the west of Scotland. Now in central Scotland.

I enjoy using a variety of mediums. Oils, acrylic, watercolours, gouache, and whatever else I can get my hands on!

My love of a wide range of artistic styles is also evident in my work. Whether its a portrait, landscape or abstract, my painting practice is in my heart and I’m always happy to share my work on different platforms.

You can find examples of my work by following the links to my Instagram page and my website.

The Scottish weather and landscape has proven to be a mas... See full profile

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1. Introduction : Hello, my name is Barry. I'm an artist born and living in Scotland, and you'll often find me working away something new in my little studio. I love working in a lot of different mediums and with a lot lot different styles too. But for this class, we're going to focus on a single line drawing specifically for the benefits of developing a mindful and regular art practice. A single line drawing is exactly as it sounds. We complete a picture without lifting our pen or pencil from the paper. In doing so, we create quite an interesting and intricate piece of artwork. In our class project, you'll have the opportunity to pick an item from home, maybe something from the garden, something that has meaning to you that you can use as your subject for your single line drawing. Sticking with a single line drawing when you might be tempted to lift your pencil from the paper because you're not happy and maybe even start again, I think symbolizes well how we can learn to sit with distressing thoughts and remain attached and aware of our emotions without being overwhelmed by them. I've learned how to do this and felt the therapeutic benefits of a regular art practice and I'm absolutely certain that you can do. Even if you're a complete beginner, you will leave this class with a set of basic art techniques that you can use regularly as part of your own self-care routine. Let's get started. 2. Class Project: For our class project, I'd like you to choose a single item from your home or garden. It might be something as simple as a kitchen utensil, maybe the kettle or the toaster, or maybe something more personal, like a musical instrument that you play. Wherever it is, just a single object, and we'll use that as a reference to create our single line drawing. I'll talk you through how to approach that in the coming lessons, and we'll also see how we can add some interest to it with colors and patterns, all the time approaching this in a mindful way that can help us to remain focused on the task and engage us in a way that can be calming and therapeutic. I'd really love to see what you're able to achieve, so please share your drawings, your paintings, in the Project section. 3. Materials and Setup : You definitely don't need fancy or expensive materials for this class or for our project. Of course, you will need paper and a pencil or a pen, and to be honest, if that's all you have to hand, that's absolutely fine. If you do have some watercolor paints or colored pens or pencils, we can use those to brighten up our picture. But if not, we'll even have a look at how we can use black coffee to add some color and interest to our work. If possible, it can be helpful to have a sketchpad specifically for your art practice moving forward after this class. If you have a favorite pen or pencil, then use that. It might seem silly, but doing so can make the process more meaningful and even more relaxing for you. Lastly, but not leastly, a really important part of the mindful artist's toolkit is a nice hot drink to enjoy while you engage in your art practice. As regards setup, find a quiet and peaceful area in the house. Even if that means getting up 10 or 15 minutes before the rest of the family, buying that time to invest in your own well-being is absolutely worth it. Keep your workplace clean and as free of clutter as is possible. All of these little things come together to help you to get the most from your art practice. Let's get into our next lesson to start practicing some techniques. 4. Useful Drawing Exercises : In this lesson, I'd like you to follow along with me in these useful drawing exercises. The pen I'm using is a fineliner with waterproof ink that will be useful later when we come to do our single line drawing. If we want to add watercolor to it, or even painting with coffee as well we can. The waterproofing, of course, saves it from bleeding or smudging when we put the water to it. Although these drawing exercises may appear basic, think of them as a warmup. It's giving you a chance to relax. So use this opportunity to focus your attention on the drawing in a mindful way. There's no pressure with this, we're just loosening up our fingers, our hand, our wrist, our arm. Just be aware and conscious of how that feels and if there's tension there, just consciously let it go and relax. You'll notice as well that we're getting used to overlapping our lines. When we get to our single line drawing, we'll be doing a lot of that so it's good to practice it here with these simple shapes. When you overtrace or overlap a line, it doesn't need to match exactly. But rather we can use it as an opportunity to correct a line or an edge that isn't quite as you would like it. Practicing these basic shapes will help as well when we get to our single line drawing. Any object can be broken down into a series of basic shapes. Just like your favorite song is a series of individual notes. Remembering that can make it less daunting when you come to try perhaps quite a challenging subject to draw. Recall that it can be broken down into a series of basic shapes, squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, which in themselves can be broken down into individual lines. As you practice these drawing exercises, feel free to go ahead and fill the page. Use this opportunity of practicing these basic shapes and forms to connect physically and mentally with your art practice. In the next lesson, we'll begin our single line drawing. 5. Single Line Drawing : [MUSIC] The steps that we'll now go through you can use for your class project and for your ongoing art practice following this class. If you haven't already, take the time to choose what item you would like to draw for your project artwork. I look forward to seeing those in the project gallery. As you'll see, I've chosen a fairly ordinary armchair. Remember that as we draw the pen or pencil remains in contact with the page. It's absolutely fine to pause to take the opportunity to look properly at your subject as you'll be able to tell that I do from time to time here. But don't lift your pen or pencil from the page. Go through this process mindfully. That is to concentrate on the task at hand. Your mind will tend to wander from time to time, maybe say work, family or other responsibilities that are on your mind. That's absolutely fine. But when you realize it happening, try to refocus on your drawing. Or paying attention to our subject and for now, that's what matters. Think of the line that you're drawing as mimicking your eyes. As you follow each line and contour with your eye, your hand mimics it on the page. Retracing the lines as you see me doing here is absolutely fine. In fact, it makes the picture even more interesting with an almost wire sculpture tape effect that we build up as we go over the same line several times. Those intersecting lines add not detract to the beauty of our final piece of art. [NOISE] Again, consider and think about the symbolism of sitting with difficult thoughts or emotions. Rather than being tempted to restart or give up, we mindfully work through staying connected, taking our time to resolve the issues at hand. The reason that an art practice like this is greatly therapeutic is not just because it teaches us to be focused on a particular subject, but because we engage our brain in two different ways at the same time. Firstly, we're being creative with the abstract thought process that goes into the art. But we're also engaging logical thought and problem-solving as we work our way around the subject and replicate that on the page. As a second subject, I've chosen to demonstrate a flower in single line drawing. I'm drawing this without a reference, unlike the armchair which was in front of me as I drew it. The more you practice, you'll be able to draw stylized versions of subjects from memory. So you can engage in your mindful single line drawing even without a subject to work from. [MUSIC] In our next lesson, we'll consider how to add patterns to our drawing.[MUSIC] 6. Adding Patterns : As you created your one-line drawing, you will have noticed that you've produced an elaborate set of individual shapes and spaces on the page. Continuing with our mindful approach, we can now go in and fill those shapes with pattern, color, or both. As though you've created your own unique coloring book. Recall the helpful drawing exercises that we did earlier. You can use those as prompts for ideas to bring more depth and interest to your artwork. For this piece, I'm simply using straight lines, placed tightly together in various directions. These aren't on the real chair I drew from so just use your imagination. Think about the direction of the lines and surfaces. You might consider using squares, circles, spirals, whatever suits your subject. Just remember that there is no right or wrong. Just enjoy the process. Use your imagination and be creative. You might consider leaving some areas clear as this helps to highlight the Bezier areas of your picture as points of interest. In our next lesson, we'll add color to our pictures using paints, pencils, and instant coffee so meet me there. 7. Adding Colours : For the final stage, let's add some color to our artwork. Firstly, I'm going to use watercolor paints on my arm chair picture. I'm using an angle shader brush, which I use more or less all the time with water colors, I find them really versatile. You can get a broad stroke. But by tilting the brush on its edge or to a point you can get a very clean, fine line as well, so it's a good versatile brush to use. Again, without reference to the actual item that I used as my subject, I'm just choosing colors that I'm happy with at the time, that I feel will go well together. You'll notice, well, I'm not being too careful to fill those blocks completely or to the edge. Oftentimes, the little areas missed by the brush are responsible for much of the beauty and interest in watercolor painting. Now I'm going to use colored pencils to fill in some of those finer areas created by our overlapping lines. Without going overboard, some bold colors like red and purple can add a nice touch to our artwork. There we have our completed single line arm chair with pattern and color. I'm now going to use black coffee to begin adding color to the flower. I'll loosely fill in the areas as I did previously with watercolors. But this time I'll create the ink pattern afterwards. Now for those areas blocked in and dry, I'm going to outline those blocks of color in ink. I'll also highlight in ink some of the natural patterns that appear in the coffee. Not only is this exercise relaxing and therapeutic, but it creates unique designs and patterns in your artwork. I truly hope that I've inspired you with some ideas to begin a mindful art practice. Don't forget to share your work in the project section and I'll see you in the final lesson. 8. Conclusion: Thank you so much for joining me in this class. Please continue to use these art techniques regularly, even if it's just for a few minutes at a time if that's what you can find. The more that you practice, the more that you'll feel and benefit from the therapeutic nature of a regular art practice like this. Remembering that the purpose is to remain mindful and connected to the drawing process. You will, your mind will wander sometimes as you choose different objects and get used to the drawing process itself. But remember and bring yourself back, be focused and calm, mindful about what you're accomplishing on the page. I really hope this has been helpful and moving forward as part of a self-care routine and thank you again.