Drawing From Your Experience

Drawing From Your Experience

“Anyone can draw. It’s in you, inside, it’s just about getting it out and having the confidence to try it.”

This was Garry Steven, founder of Mind and Draw, talking after one of his workshops.

Mind and Draw is a community art project founded by Steven in order to help people who struggle with confidence and motivation by helping them be creative and express themselves through drawing and painting.

A graphic designer by trade, the idea for the project came to him early in 2017 when he was struggling to find inspiration in his work.

Photo Credit: Garry Steven

He said: “I was in a bit of a rut professionally and was low on confidence, so I looked back on what I enjoy the most and it was drawing and being creative. I started an exercise of drawing how I felt each day for 30 days. This created a spark and gave me the confidence to develop that idea to the point that I started Mind and Draw and started sharing it with people in the area.”

Mainly based at The Space in Glasgow’s east end, Mind and Draw has grown from an occasional drop-in session to regular workshops in cafes and community centres in Glasgow, with Steven even taking a workshop in Edinburgh recently.

The sessions have a variety of creative elements that allow people to express themselves in a way that they might not otherwise be able to.

Steven said: “We give people the chance that don’t really get the opportunity to draw. We do stuff like painting to music, word collaboration, sensory drawing, blind drawing. A lot of group tasks to get people together, be creative, chat, and just enjoy themselves. There’s no pressure or criteria, anyone can do this. There’s no set standard, you don’t need an art degree, just come along and start drawing.

“For me, one of my favourite things is painting to music, which is something I really enjoy. That’s what Mind and Draw is; a nice variety of different workshops for people that maybe don’t get the chance to draw – something different for them to do.”

Photo Credit: Garry Steven

The workshops have begun to be noticed, both in community centres and on social media. As well as the regular drop-ins, Steven is now running workshops with mental health groups, such as dates-n-mates; Scotland’s national dating and friendship agency run by and for adults with learning disabilities

Dates-n-mates run cinema trips, speed dating, day trips, and club nights, and recently linked up with Mind and Draw.

Molly Tavella, who works for dates-n-mates, said: “The members who have gone to Mind and Draw have universally said it’s been great. We’ve had a few members who were initially scared to go along because they thought they weren’t talented enough, but we’ve tried to emphasise that it’s for everyone, and everyone can draw!

“It’s gotten more popular each time we’ve offered it as a dates-n-mates event and I think that’s down to members who have gone telling their pals what a great experience it was”

Steven has hopes of advancing further and spoke of his next big project being a Mind and Draw exhibition, but he is happy with how things are going at the moment.

Photo Credit: Garry Steven

“There’s ideas to try and take MaD forward and get more funding, that’s a big thing for me, but right now, I’m enjoying doing the workshops and I have ideas to take it forward in the future. There’s a lot of positives around it, and I get a lot of positive feedback from people taking part. That gives me the confidence to do more, knowing people like it and enjoy doing it.

“The one thing I want to do with MaD is create a positive atmosphere and environment where people can feel comfortable and don’t feel nervous or anxious to do something. You can feel comfortable and just draw and chat.”

If you are interested attending a Mind and Draw session, know someone who might be, or are just curious to find out what sensory drawing is, Steven is very active on Facebook and Twitter, posting updates of events and workshops for anyone to come along too.

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