Slow Drawing, Slow Living: Get in the Flow with Ocean Doodles | Ewa Rosa | Skillshare

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Slow Drawing, Slow Living: Get in the Flow with Ocean Doodles

teacher avatar Ewa Rosa, illustellar | Find Bliss in Making Art

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Supplies and Format


    • 4.

      Creative Rituals


    • 5.

      Calming Waves


    • 6.

      Swirls and Loops


    • 7.

      Dots and Dashes


    • 8.

      Joyful Sea Foam


    • 9.

      Relaxing Seascape


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Making art is a form of self-care. In this Skillshare class, you will learn how to relax and get in the flow with ocean-inspired doodles. You will practice different patterns and finish by creating an abstract patterned seascape.

When you feel stressed out and overwhelmed and you combine it with the short attention span most of us suffer from these days, you get a dangerous mix, that makes your body and mind call SOS. But often we just don’t know how to rescue ourselves.

And this is where making art comes into play.

A well-chosen creative exercise will allow you to enter the state of flow, which means you’ll be so immersed in the practice, you’ll suddenly forget all about your phone and the latest TV series, and everything going on around you.

I'll show you a bunch of fun doodling exercises inspired by the ocean. They will help you to clear your mind, calm down and unwind.

We’ll also talk about designing small rituals around your creative sessions, to get you in the mood and help you relax even more.

By the end of this class, you'll be able to create beautiful layered seascape, but what is more, you'll feel more relaxed and grounded in your day!


Looking for more pattern ideas? Check out my class: „Patterns Everywhere: Finding Fresh Embellishing Ideas for Your Projects”

You don’t have time for big art projects? Watch: „Pocket-Sized Creativity: Make Time for Art Despite a Busy Schedule”


Hi, I'm Ewa and I’m an illustrator and embroidery artist based in Warsaw, Poland.

Feel free to check my Profile here on Skillshare!

You can also visit my website here.


Post it on Instagram and tag me @illustellar

Meet Your Teacher

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Ewa Rosa

illustellar | Find Bliss in Making Art

Top Teacher


Hi there! My name is Ewa Rosa, and I'm an illustrator and embroidery artist in love with all things nature. 



I love combining organic elements with geometry and I draw inspiration from the underwater world, plant life, cosmos, and Japanese patterns.

I’ve always been incorporating tons of details and intricate patterns into my drawings and lately, this practice translated to my embroidery, which consists of hundreds of french knots and other elaborate details.

This repetitive act of embellishing my art with copious dots, circles, lines, and dashes is something that helps me destress and curb my anxiety.



I adore watercolors, and I like to explore the... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Just relax. How many times have you heard this one? I've read a lot, and it's easier said than done. You try to meditate, but you fall asleep after two minutes. You try to do yoga, but you feel this sudden urge to check your phone right in the middle of the stretch. After a long hard day, all you can dream of is to just veg out on the couch and binge watch Netflix. This is where making art comes to play. I think we will all agree it's a little bit harder to fall asleep in the middle of doodling. What is more, our chosen creative exercise will allow you to enter the state of flow, which means you will be so immersed in the practice, you will suddenly forget all about your phone, and the latest TV series, and everything going on around you. Hi, my name is Eva. I'm an illustrator and embroidery artist based in Warsaw, Poland. My art evolved over the years, but I've been always incorporating tons of details and intricate patterns into my drawings. Likely, this practice translated to my embroidery, which often consists of hundreds of French knots and other elaborate details. This repetitive act of embellishing my art with copies, dots, circles, lines, and dashes is something that helps me distress and calm my anxiety. That's why today I want to share with you a bunch of fun doodling exercises inspired by the ocean. They will help you to clear your mind, calm down, and unwind just a little. You can do them on the couch, so that's a bonus. We will briefly talk about designing small rituals around your creative sessions to get you in the mood and help you relax even more. Then I will walk you through several exercises focusing on ocean related shapes and forms. We will explore and practice some simple wavy patterns. After that, we will focus on creating bubbly seaful motifs. In the last lesson, you will learn how to put all the elements together to create a beautiful layered seascape. Using patterns you've practiced before, will allow you to immerse yourself in the drawing practice and turn your creative session in a truly relaxing experience. The only goal of this class is to help you relax. That's why we're not going to be focusing on the outcome. You're not here to create a masterpiece. It doesn't have to be perfect. You don't need any skills to participate. Seriously, it's a beginner friendly class. As long as you are able to put a mark on a paper, you're good to go. I can't wait to see what you'll create. Let's get started. 2. Class Project: Your project for this class will be really simple because, I don't want to stress you out. Anyway, I would love for you to share with us at least one pattern exercise you complete after finishing the class. And if you feel inspired, I would love to see the whole finished seascape. If you have a lot of time on your hands right now, you can go for a bigger format, but you can also just create this tiny, cute pocket size square filled with patterns. When they are ready, take a photo of your artwork, go to the Projects and Resources tab, click the "Create Project" button and upload it so you can inspire others to join this practice as well. 3. Supplies and Format: Let me start by saying that pen and paper is all you need to participate in the class. You don't have to drop everything and run to the nearest art supply store to spend half of your salary on art supplies, although I know it's very tempting to do so. Throughout the class, I'm going to be using different mediums just to show you that you can tailor these exercises to your interests and supplies you have at hand. You can stick to black or blue pen, or choose a white gel pen, or even colored pencils. You can draw on a plain printer paper, use ready-made colored paper, or prepare a colorful backgrounds by painting on scraps of watercolor paper. If you are a digital artist and you can't live without your iPad, go ahead and doodle in Procreate. Just be sure you turn off all the notifications, so you won't get distracted during your creative session. Now let's talk about paper format. If big projects stress you out or you don't have a lot of time, you can use small squares or rectangles for your exercises. I talk a lot about the solution in my other class called Pocket-size Creativity, Make Time for Art Despite a Busy Schedule. So feel free to check it out if it sounds interesting to you. You can also create much bigger compositions, and of course, you don't have to finish them in one sitting. You can divide paper into several areas, let's say seven waves, and fill one wave a day, for a week as a relaxing daily routine. This will allow you to complete a large drawing without stress or pressure. In the next lesson, we will talk about little rituals that will help you to enjoy your creative routine even more. 4. Creative Rituals: Making art is a form of self-care. It's nourishing for the soul and relaxing for the brain and you can deepen this experience by creating little rituals around it. Don't worry. You don't have to dance naked under the full moon or drink some disgusting Arabella potions. I'm talking about few little things you can do while drawing to create more sensory experience and relax even deeper. Nowadays, when I prepare for a creative session, I like to light a centered candle or burn an incense. Then I put on some jazz music or ambient sounds of gentle ocean waves I found on YouTube. If I really want to pamper myself, I make a cup of tea as well. This setup only takes a minute or two, but it makes my art practice that much nicer. I encourage you to choose a few tiny actions that you think would be right for you. You can combine drawing with drinking good coffee or some aroma therapy. Or listening to your favorite music, or even eating a square of chocolate. Yes, I know it never ends with just one score. Just make it as simple and effortless as possible because that's the only way you will stick to it. Such ritual, when performed consistently, after a while becomes a powerful trigger for your brain and you can use it consciously to shift your mood at-will. I can be tired and grumpy, but if I force myself to perform these actions as usual, it jump-starts my creative practice and I immediately feel better. Without further ado, let's start doodling. 5. Calming Waves: In this lesson, we will practice some simple way of patterns that will help you warm up and ease into your creative session. Let's start with something really basic. First, fill your page with curvy shapes that look a little like foothills. Work from the bottom to the top and vary the shapes a little to add more interests to the pattern. But don't overthink it. Just go with the flow and move your pen across the paper until you feel most of the page. Now, start slowly filling your shapes with parallel lines moving from top to bottom. Just imagine you are drawing rainbows inside them, but lead the shape of each wave guide you. Ultimately, rainbows will be a bit wonky, but that's okay. It will make the whole composition soft and flower. Immerse yourself in this exercise and focus on each and every line. This pattern is easy on purpose, so we don't have to worry about your drawing skills. You can just enjoy the movement and the act of creation. Now let's move to the second exercise. We'll start again by dividing the page using these foothill like curvy shapes. But this time, try to make them a bit more flat and pointed. After you finish your outlines, start feeding them with lines. But make sure the lines start at one pong and converge into the opposite one. You can achieve a different effect depending on how dense or sparse that new lines will be. Focus on your pen gliding over the paper from one point to another. It's a soothing movements that will act like a massage for your harass and seamount. Another great way to create single waves is to use a fish scale pattern. Start at the bottom of your page and draw the first row of scales. Now, add another row shifted horizontally with respect to the first one. Continue filling the page with scales. As you come near the top, you can finish with several smaller scales, place more haphazardly. This will make your pattern look like a wavy ocean surface. Now it's time to embellish this case with patterns. I will go for the rainbows again. But you can use dots, bubbles, horizontal or vertical dashes, or any other motifs you desire. You don't have to fill all the scales, a little bit of whitespace here and there is a good thing. It may seem like a boring exercise, but repetition is the key here. Just like repeating physical exercises helps strengthen your body. Do it [inaudible] in patterns can strengthen your focus. When you focus on one thing and one thing only, you forget about past and future and you are just present in the moment, relaxed, and enjoying your life as the time falls. 6. Swirls and Loops: In this lesson, we will explore more messy and dynamic patterns to be swirling and splash waves. These fun exercises will help you to let go of the need for perfection. You will see that imperfect wonky shapes combined together can create a beautiful composition. Start by drawing little snail-like swirls, making sure they touch each other, but don't stress over closing them and don't worry if some lines are crossing. Nothing in life is perfect so embrace the beautiful mess you're creating. Some swirls can be bigger, some can be smaller. Use them to build the first wavy layer at the bottom of the page. Now, we will draw a border to separate this first layer from the second one. I will use three parallel lines, making sure the first one is not touching the swirls. You can emulate this idea or create your own border here. I will repeat the whole process several times until I fill my page with the swirly waves. If you catch your mind wandering during this exercise and you notice you started thinking about your problems, fears, and all the things you need to do, just know it's perfectly normal. Gently bring your attention back to the shapes you are creating. The more you practice, the more obedient your mind will be and with time, you will learn to focus better on any task at hand. It's a precious skill that will make your life easier on many levels. In the second exercise, we will do a huge expressive splash of water. Starting in the bottom corner of the page, draw three big rain drop-like shapes. Now at subsequent rain drops, in spaces between them. They can touch each other or not. Don't worry about the gaps between them for now. Fill the spaces between bigger loops with smaller ones. When you finish, doodling all the loops, start filling them with smaller ones. Move your pen smoothly across the page and just go with the flow. You can also fill in any spaces left that are big enough for a raindrop shape. Now, you can leave this composition as is, but you can also go with a black pen and color all the gaps in. It will make the shapes pop, and it will give your pattern a more 3D effect. 7. Dots and Dashes: Dots are by far the most simple marks you can use, and at the same time, they allow you to create incredibly complex compositions. Start with marking out the outline of your first wave with several dots, just so you'll know where it will go. Now, completely fill in this area with dots using smaller and bigger ones as you please. After you finish, mark the next wave, just make sure it doesn't touch the first one. Leave a little gap between them, like this. Just focus on putting dots on paper one after another. Don't rush through this exercise. It's not a race, and if you approach it slowly and mindfully, soon you will get into the flow and relax. A great way to use dashes is to put them in clusters to emulate water ripples. You start each ripple with a tiny dash and then you make your dashes broader and broader as you go. When you reach the middle of a ripple, you start making them more and more narrow until you get to the tiny one at the end of them. The most important thing here is to leave gaps between the ripples. You don't have to plan and think about the end result. Just take the first step start with one ripple and then add another one. If you are listening to the music during your creative session, try making the dashes to the rhythm. In the next lesson, we will have fun with creating bubbly option sea form. 8. Joyful Sea Foam: In this lesson, we will be playing with circles and ovals to create sea foam doodles. The easiest way to depict ocean form is to draw a bunch of circles roughly the same size, will doodle to each other. Take it slow, enjoy the way this cluster is growing. If you notice your know has shifted, take a deep breath and focus again on each circle you are putting on paper. Now let's start playing with shapes and sizes more. Draw a bunch of larger ovals and a bit smaller circles. Now, start connecting them with tiny circles. It will allow you to achieve this lay slight effect that looks really pretty in bigger compositions. I'm showing you only the snippets of the sea form patterns, but you could fill the whole page with them. Such exercise can be like a warm bubble bath for your brain. In the next lesson, we will put together patterns you've practiced to create a beautiful layered seascape consisting of different waves and embellishing with sea foam. 9. Relaxing Seascape: Now that you are familiar with all the simple ocean inspired patterns, we can combine them to create a much more complex drawing. You would be surprised how intricate composition you can design by putting together a bunch of simple doodles. It's a beautiful reminder that we all can do hard things with grace and ease. We just need to tackle them step-by-step. To build your seascape, pick the patterns that brought you the most joy when you were practicing them. You can also use other favorite patterns of your choosing. If you are looking for a pattern and inspiration, feel free to check my other class partners everywhere, finding fresh, embracing ideas for your projects. As you see, I'm creating this seascape layer by layer. I'm separating subsequent layers with lines like in the swirling exercise. Another way to separate subsequent waves is to just leave gaps between them like this. You can use a pencil to sketch the waves first, so we won't cross the borders in the process of doodling. I will finish this composition by adding a bunch of circles and dots to emulate an ocean spray. Put bigger circles near the water surface. The higher you go, the smaller circles should be. Fill the space between them with scattered dots. As you can see, there's a power in simplicity. If you just allow yourself to play without the need for perfection, without the attachment to the outcome, you will find immense joy and grace in making art and you will simply feel happier. 10. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for taking this class. I hope you enjoyed the exercises, and you feel more relaxed and grounded in your day. Doodling can be a wonderful mindfulness technique. It helps you focus on being in the moment and you can easily incorporate this tool into your daily routine. Next time you feel stressed out or anxiety is creeping on you, just take a pen and piece of paper or an iPad and start drawing. I would love to see what you will create so please remember to upload your work to projects gallery. If you want to stay tuned for my next classes, follow me here on Skillshare. So happy creating and see you next time.