Neurographic Art Practice: Scribble Away Your Stress | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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Neurographic Art Practice: Scribble Away Your Stress

teacher avatar Daniela Mellen, Artist & Author

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. Class Intro

    • 2. Class Supplies

    • 3. Starting the Practice

    • 4. Enhancing the Lines

    • 5. Thickening the Curves

    • 6. Adding Optional Shapes

    • 7. Alternative Practice: Somewhat Representational Art

    • 8. Class Wrap Up

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About This Class

The neurographic art process is a class designed to create a calming process while drawing simple shapes. Drawing smooth, controlled curves and then further smoothing out the edges results in a complex drawing that looks similar to neurologic pathways, but is a meditative and soothing process. The tools are simple and easy to find: a felt tip pen and your choice of paper. After following the basic steps, we’ll add additional lines and shapes to further enhance the artwork.
The choices: size, speed, shapes, are all up to you. There is no wrong answer and nothing to decide. It’s an ongoing process of enhancing the initial shape, all in tiny steps.

This project can be done as easily in an art studio, as it can in a parked car or on the bus. Drawing and focusing becomes almost hypnotic and helps to quiet the mind. Class includes a downloadable Class Supply List

Meet Your Teacher

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Daniela Mellen

Artist & Author


I'm an artist and author living in coastal Florida and surrounded by plants, animals, marine life, and the warm sun - all things that inspire me.

I am drawn to creating things and love to get lost in projects. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new, build on existing skills, and branch out to new ones. I was formally trained as an educator which is my passion and incorporating art into teaching makes my life complete.

As of April 2022 I upload classes monthly on Skillshare, but have a catalog of over 180 existing classes. You'll see handmade books, memory keeping, watercolor, acrylic paint, unique art supplies, and photography composition. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing your work.

Check out my blog for additional info on my website dan... See full profile

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1. Class Intro: Hello, I'm Daniela Mellen, an author and artist in today's class, nor graphic art practice. We'll draw freeform lines and unplanned images with the intentions of transforming stress into art. Nor graphic art is a common practice based on the process by a Russian psychologist and artist named pebble pesky thereof. Now you are already engaged in this practice without knowing the origins. And that was the case with me. The formal process is a drawing system that deals with emotions and thoughts. But in a non interpretive way. The idea is to let emotions happen without reaction, examination, or formal response. This sets the groundwork for separating the actual emotion from the perception of the emotions. So in other words, in this process, the drawing is the response to the emotion, not an interpretation of it. This process is non-judgmental, non-intrusive. Instead, it's calming, meditative, and can be hypnotic. I'll show the process in just a few steps. I use simple supplies, like a favorite felt tip pen and a three by five card. The results are unique, abstract, and quite relaxing. So grab your supplies and let's get started. 2. Class Supplies: So these are the materials that I'm going to use today in class to make my newer graphic art. Personally, I prefer just to use index cards that are blank, not the rules, index cards and just a little felt-tip pen. But this project lends itself to using a variety of materials and I'll explain why I make my choices for what I'm doing here. Now you can use any type of paper because we're just using a pen and ink. You can use copy paper. You can use Bristol paper, which is a little thicker than copy paper and bright. And it holds up very well to marker. So that's the differences between the copy paper, which is a little flimsy year and the Bristol paper. I'm using three by five cards today because this is about the process for me and keeping them small is helpful. You can also use an art journal or a drawing pad even to make these. Now I'm just using a graphic pen here. This is a Pigma marker. You can use a thick nib like the one. Or you can use a smaller one like the 08. You just want to make sure you have a nice wet marker. You don't want one that's drying out because that will frustrate you more, defeating the purpose of this activity. Now you could also use other things. You can use gel pens. You just want a pen that writes smoothly. This is a Sharpie gel pen and this is a lovely pen to write with not quite a gel pen in that it doesn't feel exactly like a gel pen and it dries very quickly, but I like writing with it, so I may consider using that as well. Or this is just a liner pen. And again, it has that felt tip that what we want, that nice wet felt tip. In the next chapter, we'll start our neuro graphic art. 3. Starting the Practice: So now let's start my process because it's meditative. I want to be in an environment that is conducive to that. So if that means putting on music or just being alone or going to the park, whatever works for you. And this project tailors itself beautifully to travel. You can even do this in your car if that's the only area that you can go to, just to get a little peace and quiet. So once you have your paper or your notebook, or in my case, the three by five card. We're gonna make sure I have a nice wet marker to use. And I'm just going to spend a little bit of time creating long looping lines. I'm not looking to make straight lines, and I'm trying to keep my brush on my paper the entire time. This can be a long involved process. This can be a very short one. It's whatever works for you. So I'm just going to create my loops. And I'll go round and round. And when I'm done, I'll just stop. Now I happen to overlap where I stopped and that's okay. If I don't overlap, That's okay too. And if you're more comfortable setting a timer for this, to give yourself, say, 40 seconds to do this or a minute. By all means, go ahead and do that. So this is the first stage of our nor graphic art. Now in the next chapter, we'll start enhancing it. 4. Enhancing the Lines: So we have our loopy sketchier, our step one completed. So now for the next step, and this takes a little longer, is I'm just going to look for any areas where there's intersection of lines and those areas kind of form harsh angles. Well, I want to take all the harshness out of this drawing. I'm going to start here on this little intersection and I'm just gonna go over with my pen, rounding out those edges. So I'll thicken up some of those edges. And now they kinda just round out and become a little softer. And there's no right or wrong way to do this. I can enhance that line further and just take it to whatever length that I want to know. I want to make sure that that top edge is also rounded. So I'll just keep going over this. After that section is done, I'll move to another one and I'll continue to round out all my edges. I'll take my time and do this calmly. And this becomes very therapeutic. I can go over my lines or not. I happen to like that sharp contrast between all my lines and the background paper. So I like to go over them, but that's completely up to you. And I'll just continue here when all my intersecting lines just thickening them out. Now sometimes I like to go and do all my lines, kind of moving away from the first one I started. And other times I just like to thicken up those intersections all around my drawing. And sometimes I like to do both. And so you can do whatever works for you. And this process is very calming. So with an orographic art, the premise is that you're taking any harsh edges and which is a metaphor for any problems. And you're just smoothing them out, making them less harsh. So some people like to think of their problems while they're doing this, because this particular activity doesn't require a lot of thought. So they can let their minds wander and think of other things. And other people just like to do this because it's something that you can focus on and clear your head. And yet other people like to do it because they find the abstract piece that it creates is very enjoyable, both the process and the result. So I'm gonna go around completing all my little sections here, rounding out my edges. They might not all be perfect, but that's okay. I'll take my time and do this. And then in the next chapter we'll come back and see where we're at. 5. Thickening the Curves: So now I've worked on all the intersections. If I find some that I overlooked, That's not a problem. I'll just go in there and create that little rounded edge as I come across them. So now that I have my intersections rounded and softened, I wanna go to my loops and I want to just emphasize those loops and taking the curves. And I'm just going around. Now, I can make a simple, thicker line on top just like I did here. Or I can take that curve and do something with it. I can add additional lines. And if I do add additional lines, I want to just soften any intersections. I can even build out from those lines. But whatever I do, I want to just make sure that I continue to add soft soft intersections. Think I'll just thicken that up. Work on this curve, thickening this up and filling it in. And I don't want to rush this part because again, this is the part that is very rewarding, relaxing, and calming for here. And I'll continue all the way around adding touches. As I see my finish, I'll show you and we'll start the next chapter and we'll add one more optional element to our piece. 6. Adding Optional Shapes: So now I've thickened up my curves, worked on the intersections. And again, if I see any that I've missed or overlooked, I can go back in and repair them as I come across them, but it's not a worry if you don't. So now you have the option of stopping right here. Or you could add additional lines, and this is where it adds interest. And remember your rules. You want to make things curved. If you don't make them curved, you want to add another element to curve it. So for here I might just add a few little lines. I can carry these lines over. I can go further with them. It's totally up to you. And you don't really think too much about it. You don't overthink it. You just kind of let it happen, let it develop as it's going. If you don't want to do lines, if that's not speaking to you and you just want to start adding little shapes, little closed shapes to your piece. Go ahead and do that. Or don't do anything at all. And this is where your piece starts becoming very interesting. And you could spend hours doing this if you'd like. You can stop at any point. There's no right or wrong place to stop. The only way to indicate that you're done. Because when you feel like you're done. I'll add a few more lines here. Not really thinking too much about balance, composition. I'm just looking for softness, softening those edges, creating little shape and rounding the edges. So there I have my neuro graphic artwork. In the next chapter, we'll do a similar thing, but instead of being completely non-representative, where there's no particular object that we're trying to represent here. We're just doing curves and whatnot. We'll start with something that's a little more representative, but still weighs heavy on the abstract. 7. Alternative Practice: Somewhat Representational Art: So now to make a somewhat representative nor graphic art, we're going to start with the same procedure. We're just going to modify it slightly. So we're going to start with our loops are long lines of loops and we're not going to make too many of them. So I'm just going to make my loops. And I'll stop. And then from here, I'll just take a moment to see if I see anything and buy anything. I mean, I'm looking for large, simple shapes or something recognizable. Maybe a face, maybe a star, maybe a bird, maybe just part of a bird. So I'm just kind of looking to see what I see here. And I think over here I can see a leaf. So for this, I'm just going to make it very simple. I kind of see a leaf with its little stem. So I'll just emphasize that now I'm not going to worry about seeing multiple leaves. If I happen to see them, I can definitely use them. But right now I just see that leaf. I'm going to make that little vein down the center of the leaf and just a little more veining for my own sake so that I can see it a little clearer. And then from here, I'm going to soften all my intersections just like we did in our first project. So I'll soften all my intersections, taking my time. This line that I just kind of stopped when I was doing my loops. I can do something with here and just add another loop, I think. And again, I'll just go around and do the first task, which is just softening those intersections, rounding up any straight lines for any crosses. So I'll take a moment to do this. And I'll speed this process along so you can see me doing it. But we don't have to sit here for the entire amount of time. Now when it comes to my actual leaf here, I'm just going to outline it. Can emphasize the edges even if they weren't there on the original sketch. And then I want to also emphasize that veining that I made. And just to do that, I'm going to go over it one more time, really thicken it up. This is the importance of having a very wet marker to work with. Now from here, going to make sure that I have all my little intersections complete. The next stage would be to start thickening up those lines. So I'll avoid my leaf for now. And I'm just going to thicken up the lines around it. And again, I'll speed this up so you can see the process, but not spending the time doing it. So there are thickened up my lines. I have my leaf shape and I have the remainder of my Luke's. Now I want to start adding interesting elements to this piece and I'm going to focus on that element of a leaf that I added, just going to create multiple lines. This emphasizes the leaf, but it doesn't do too much changing of what's here. Just kind of emphasizes what exists. And now I want to look at my loops that my lines maybe add a few more touches to them. So I think I'm going to repeat these veins here, but on other parts of my drawing, I'm just calmly making lots and lots of repetitive lines similar to the one I've already added. And maybe I'll do one more. Come over here. I want to maybe add some dots, add one to the tip of the leaf. Just throw in a few here and there. And there. I have a somewhat representative image. In my newer graphic art. It's not major, it's still abstract. And it didn't take much effort on my part. I wasn't considering composition. I wasn't considering anything other than the existing shapes. Sometimes it's easier to spot representative images in your work. And other times it just doesn't happen there for me. Now, somebody else could see that same thing and see something magnificent bear. So it's really completely personal. And the next chapter I'll show you some variations, just using different materials to make your nor graphic art. 8. Class Wrap Up: So here are the neuro graphic art that we meet in class today. So you can see it's just the series of loops slowly elongating them, rounding any edges, and then adding anything that I'm drawn to add either additional lines or some more shapes filling it out. And then when I'm pleased with it, my project is complete. Now here's one where I took this shape and I made something representative of a leaf, but I could have easily done something else if I had seen it, or it could have turned additional shapes here into more leaves. So really I can continue with this project. It's not that it's complete, but it can be if I want to. The point is the process which is supposed to be meditative and healing. Now I wanted to show you some variations using different materials, but the same exact techniques. So now here's another version of the neural graphic art. And I just stuck two more lines. I mean, lots of different lines using a thinner pen. So I used my number 0, 8 pen as well as my one pen. And so I got the different widths here. It was just something that I was drawn to at the moment. But here's another example where I just used and trustee sharpie pen created my example. And I have much thicker lines. So really it depends on my mood. Now here are examples done on black paper with a white gel pen. Now you can see there's a little more of a scratch from the gel pen. So it wasn't as pleasing to use as say my markers, but it's certainly got the job done. And it was enjoyable, At least the process was enjoyable. And the contrast between that white and that dark background. Incidentally, you can do something with a little more contrast with the pattern paper background. If that's the paper you have available. Here. I has had some sheet music paper. And I went about creating my neuro graphic art in the same manner. Instead of using a three by five card, I used a standard 8.5 by 11 piece of paper. So this clearly took me a lot longer than the three by five card, but the process was just as relaxing. So thank you for joining me today. I hope you'll try your hand at some of this new orographic art. And if you do, please snap a photo of it and post it in the project section, be sure to follow me here on Skillshare and please consider leaving a review. Have a great day.