Creative Self Exploration – Part Four: Let’s Pretend!


(You) Imagine from the Seat of Your Soul.

Let’s do something different.

Welcome to the Part Four of this year-long play date called “Creative Self Exploration”, where I, the initiator, facilitate the whole thing by following (nearly) solely my creative hunches.

Last 12 weeks (Part 2 and 3) we’ve done separately, the imagining and introspecting (Pt. 2) then drawing / painting (Pt.3).
For the next 6 weeks, we will combine the two part process into one and to make matters simpler, bypass the introspection part altogether.

I will ask you each week, to pick a creature you fancy, and draw as you imagine how the life would be being the creature. For each week (from Wk.19 to 23), I pick a category grouped by their mobility.

Please prepare a drawing tool, choose from either a pencil – colored or graphite, or crayon/crayon pastel. This is because I am going to ask you to close your eyes while drawing as a human, imagining how it’d be like.
And a sheet of paper a week, so just 5 total is perfect – if not possible or if you so prefer, one large(-enough) sheet will do, too. No “extra paper in case” needed – because you will not be making mistakes.

So be ready; more quality fun ahead!!

( in reverse chronological order )

Week 24: Conclusion – You, the Guest of Honor

June 15, 2024

First of all, if you got five drawings from last 5 weeks, I thank you for giving this a try. I’m honored that you have.
This week, we are going to ‘pretend’, to have a gallery opening party for these drawings.


(In this section, I am suggesting that you actually decorate your wall in your physical space.)

Do you have a wall space where you can pin all five drawings to? Or tape them on a window with the light coming through like backlight?
Nothing has to be perfect, but please do find a space.
Unless you really cannot. In which case, you instead imagine how you’d like to do it, in just the way you want.

How would you like to present your drawings?
On a white wall like most art galleries, or some other color that would be considered unconventional?
If you actually can modify the space a bit (e.g. a large paper in your favorite color on your wall to decorate your drawings on), please go ahead and do so.
Important point is that, you do what feels right to you, if you have a choice/means to do so. If you don’t at this point, I suggest you acknowledge-appreciate your idea(s) anyways, and imagine / visualize how you’d like them to look.


(In this section, I am not suggesting to actually invite /send invites to people.)

To whom would you like to send invites?
It can be someone you cannot meet in person.
(e.g. a relative who passed, yourself as a kid, a teacher you lost touch with…)

I recommend you pick people you really want to show your pictures to, like introducing the part of you that is new to them, which also possibly is new to you.
If you only have a small number of people in mind, worry not. This is not about you being social. What’s suggested here is to be honest with yourself, as much as you can (for this can be actually kinda difficult).

Now, can you invite you as a critic?
If you are like me, you may have heard from yourself a criticism or two during the last 5 weeks. (I share mine, to give you examples: “this is ridiculous, no one would do this” / “oh look, the drawing sucks, you really an artist?”)
Can you imagine you as a critic? Let’s invite the critic, your alter ego.
How would you the critic be like, walking into your show, dressed in what style of garment, body languages, demeanor, vibe, expressive or silent – of words, opinions?
Converse with the critic, if you may. If you want to avoid the critic, then observe from safe distance. Ask questions, defend yourself, possibly befriend. How well do you think you two would get along?


(In this section, I suggest that you plan, prepare and host a gallery opening party for yourself in your actual, physical space.)

Now let’s congratulate ourselves, shall we?
You, the host of the show, get to decide how you’d like to celebrate.
Coffee, champaign, cheese and crackers? If tight on budget, no worries.
Decorate the space with flowers you pick from the sidewalk. Better yet, the plant you chose in Week 23 (if suitable, of course – if it was a tall tree, collect leaves if possible). Please do what you can, in ways you would like, to present your drawings in the best possible way, best, as you see fit.
Because they are part of you, those pictures you drew, they came from who you are.

And as I’ve said in preceding sections, if you cannot do all this in actuality at this point, please hold the party in your imaginative mind.
This matters so very much. Do so until it feels exciting, until you feel proud of what you did (if proud already, stay with it and make it stronger).

Last but not least.
Sit/stand by your gallery wall (or lay the drawings out in front of you if you are opting for imagined party), and be present with your drawings. Give your work on the wall a precious gift of time and attention.
Be alone with them a while. Take your time, take them in.
After all, you are the most important guest at your show.

It’s the Creative in you
that fills the hole in your heart.

You may decide at one point, to actually invite someone to view your drawings. That is not within the scope of this Creative Self Exploration exercise/experiment hence I am not to opine on but.
But let me say this in case you get disappointed by the person’s reaction (happens sometimes): how you feel about your pictures is the sole focus of Part Four: Let’s Pretend. Said this not as a statement about the quality of your work, which is difficult, if not impossible, to objectively gauge. If someone gets it, great, but that is considered in this exercise, to be just an icing* on the already rich, delicious, magnificent cake.

*Reason: putting more importance on this icing may hinder your creativity/imaginativeness, especially if shown too soon since drawings are created or if you are new to this form of practice. This suggestion’s made as a practice in creative freedom, and is not intended to isolate you in any way.

Well thank you again, for sticking around this far and giving this a try.
(If you haven’t, I invite you to.)
Come back in a week, for we will be venturing into Part Five, the world made of words and emotions. More quality fun ahead.
Til then!!

Week 23: Planted

June 08, 2024

Have you wondered about a tree, its root planted in the earth, solid.
Wind. Rain. Sleet and storms. It stands there taking it, swaying with it.
And wears countless pearls of raindrops as the sunlight returns.

This is the last week of the Part 4: Let’s Pretend!, and our focus is on our friends in the “plants” family.
Let’s begin by gently, focus on and mull over any and all that are in the category.
What plants are the ones you feel the most pull towards?
Ask a question as such and see how your answers arise from within you.

When you are able to narrow down your picks to a special few….

Find a place / time to spend some grounded, relaxed (enough) moments with yourself.
Settle in with a sheet of paper and a drawing tool of your choice.
Choose the plant most fascinating to you, and start imagining how it’s like to be the plant.
Let your imagination take you to a place where you exist alongside the plant.
When ready, pick up your pencil/crayon, close your eyes and start drawing* as if your imagination’s set free on paper.
Continue until you feel done.

*As repeated in previous weeks, “drawing” here can be in any form but I lean toward abstract, as in, not focused on getting the actual shape of the plant “right” – unless you feel compelled to do so. Done as freely (as possible) like children’s doodles. I shared mine here for reference.

Muse upon what fascinates you about the plant of your choice.
Colors, scent, seasons, blossoms and fruits, its favorite climate, how tall, how small, how fast it grows.
Delicate and/or dynamic, strength, elegance. Quite possibly, all at the same time.

How it swings in the wind, leaves twirl in the breeze. How does it feel when a bird perched on it sings?
Or, is it actually the plant, who sings through the bird (and tips the bird with its fruits)?
Imagine how would it be like to not have a say in its own fate, or is it actually manipulating the mind of a human with a hacksaw when it wants a trim?

Imagine, until you feel
Wondrous. Spirited. Free.

As we all know…
The best kind of Freedom happens in one’s mind;
that’s how we come alive in Creativity.

Join me in a week, we will be concluding the Part Four.
Til then!!

Week 22: Finned, Gilled, Scaled.

June 01, 2024

In Part 4 of Creative Self Exploration the creatures are grouped together by their mobility.
This week’s creatures – with fins, gills, scales – include:
fishes, snakes – a bit different but loosely fit, some mammals like dolphins. Dugongs, seals, sea lions. Entire family of fishes – except for jelly fishes, octopuses, squids – you get the picture.

It can be scaled without gills, got fins but not scales – they are the ones without limbs / wings, but manage to move about quite dynamically anyways, using mostly their ‘core muscles’ – think dolphin strokes, how we swim simulating their movements.
This week’s creatures are the ones with that movements.

Let’s start.
Make a little space in your mind, to mull over the creatures of the week.
Which ones come to your mind?
Let your thoughts/ideas surface from within you naturally. Allow yourself, if applicable, to be surprised at your preferences.
When you are able to narrow your choices down to a select few…..

Find a place you feel serene enough to sit for a while, and settle in with a sheet of paper and a drawing tool of your choice.
Pick one creature from the category, and start imagining its life.
Continue until you feel lively imagining how it lives, and moves about.
When you feel ready, pick your pencil/crayon up, close your eyes and start drawing in ways you feel led to*.
Flow with it until you sense there’s no more to draw.

*For reference, I made a post to show you how I did mine here: “Sky’s Empty Without You.”

Do you think your creature likes its environment**?
Compared to the previous 3 groups, it is way more immersed in its environment. It may crawl on belly, or live enwrapped in a body of water. Large surface of its skin come in contact with the solids – i.e. ground /water, unlike the air is to the birds for example.

**This is not an activism statement.

Crawling on sand or in grass. Swimming in rapids or stillwater.
What would be the dangers, or pleasures, who are the predators, how it preys upon whom.
Do you think the creature likes us***, the ones that move about very differently?

***Again, not an activism statement.

During Part 4, our focus is not on our mind****.
I am proposing to you, to (safely) lose yourself in your imagination. For a while.
And connect your imagination directly to your drawing hand (if you are using your hand to draw).

****Example: imagine “how a sea lion greets me”, not analyze “why I picked sea lion”.

Bypassing our analytical mind***** is like going on a mini vacation. Except no need to call in sick, nor contact an airline.
Honing one’s ability to imagine is not a meaningless pastime. Nor a delusional practice.
Done right, like we are doing here, it won’t result in a trip to asylum neither.

*****This is not to say “analytical” is always bad for you. It’s just one way to tone one’s creative muscle – to turn it off during an execise as this one.
Not suggesting it is always easy neither. So if you have hard time bypassing your inner analyst / (possibly) critic at least initially, please don’t judge yourself and know, giving it your current best is more than good enough.

To imagine, at least in the way suggested here, is to allow the sense of wonder to take hold of you.
Imagination is a gentle force that breaks through the wall of mundane.
And takes you to where you can let your creative hair down, let your potentials come alive.

Power of Imagination:
Transcends the Mundane Into Miraculous.

Wishing you a fun ride!

Week 21: Winged, with Four or More Legs

May 25, 2024

What are the creatures with four plus legs and a set of wings? Tinker Bell*?
I am thinking insects – butterflies bees beetles. Mayflies. Cicadas. Crazy variety of insects.

*Why not fairies? What is on my mind for Part 4 is this: imagining the lives of creatures that exist in most people’s “reality” in details knowing, what we emphasize/envision about them are still our subjective reality, we never get to know if we got it right, how it’s really like for them.
Creatively exploring oneself has a lot to do with tapping into the part of you no one can quite fully grasp – may make you aware of the gap that cannot be filled.
Part 4 is designed to tickle that potential a tiny bit, in a fun sort of way. Fairies, for instance, changes all that a slight bit, that being said…
If you feel strongly that your choice has got to be, say, a tooth fairy (I am NOT mocking you), then by all means, go for it.

As I mentioned in Intro above, the weekly category is grouped by the creatures’ mobility.
Compared to the last week’s two legged winged ones that use their wings like our (you human, right?) arms, this week’s creatures got full set of limbs and wings.
(It may be interesting to spend some time this week, observing them make use of all that – like 6 limbs and 4 wings!!)

Let’s start by envisioning the winged living things with 4+ legs. Which ones come to your awareness?
Naturally, gradually, narrow down to smaller number of creatures that are intriguing to you.

Settle in with a sheet of paper and your choice of drawing tool in front of you.
Choose one creature and start imagining the way it moves about in this world.
Imagine with empathy, in detail, until you start to feel its aliveness.
When ready, pick up your pencil/crayon, close your eyes and start to draw in ways you see fit.
Continue until you feel the drawing process comes naturally to an end.

Like we did last two weeks, imagine the way it floats about, feeds itself, lives its life.
(Being a mosquito would be a tad bit different from being a butterfly.)
And while doing so draw as if you are tracing its movements, vitality, intent, energy.
As if to translate the way you emphasize with the creature onto your paper.

I went into details about this imagining bit last two weeks, so this week, I will leave you alone with your imagination.
(If need be, feel free to refer back by scrolling down – they are short read.)
Also, I posted yesterday, my drawing for the previous week (Wk20), not so much to exemplify but to visually present what I have been proposing – to imagine, feel, envision and draw, like a child we all once were…

Creative Innocence Never Abandons You.

It will always be there, waiting for you.

See you next week!

Week 20: Winged with Two Legs

May 18, 2024

What are the two-legged creatures with a set of wings?
Birds, or course but also bats and some dinosaurs*.

*I heard birds today are also considered dinos but here, I am referring to those from millions of years ago.

Start the process by naturally letting your thoughts about those who are in this category, surface.
Since we are not opening a zoo here, creatures can be ones already gone extinct.
Gently, leisurely, and gradually perhaps, narrow down to ones you feel marked interest toward.
(It may be pleasurable to spend a few days walking the earth thinking about the winged creatures.)

When ready and got enough time and space to spare….

Place your paper and pencil/crayon on the wide/stable-enough surface in front of you.
Pick a winged, 2 legged creature that stands out in your mind the most, and begin to imagine how it lives its life.
Go into details, imagine emphatically with relaxed focus.
When ready, close your eyes and draw** as you imagine the feel of its movements, etc.
Continue until you sense the process of drawing has run its course.

**”Draw”ing here in this exercise can be anything (as in, do what feels right to you ultimately), but what’s on my mind when I write in this context is abstract scribbles of sorts – free from the constrain of “getting the shape right” – purely following your imaginative energies and internal nudges, flowing through the tip of your pencil/crayon.
Explained some last week as well, scroll down to Week 19 towards the end, a paragraph before the big letter “Be One with…”.

Just as we did last week, I am proposing you take pleasure in imagining the way your creature moves about.
The way it flies, flaps its wings – how do those muscles feel pushing the air down with each movement, glides on wind going fast without goggles like humans would, dive into the water with precision, how the water surface gets punctured with its beaks…..
A bird of prey battling a snake, flying up with a rabbit in its claws, is it heavy or too hungry to care, how is it like crafting a nest with beaks, does it fear hunters?
Does your creature migrate? How well does it see at night?
Why do you think it sings?
Does it have wings but unable to fly – like penguins whose sky is the sea?

As was the last week, we are imagining and drawing as a human. We are not pretending to be a bird drawing with its beaks, but pretending to know how it feels being the winged. In fact…
Pretending is not an accurate expression come to think of it. It is about valuing the power of imagination.

Also worth noting: the emphasis here is not on the end result, but on the process. Meaning, the finished picture isn’t as important as the way you feel while you draw, in other words…..

Creativity sets you free into the Moment where everything is Vibrant.

…and you can escape into the moment this way any old time.

Have a wonder-full week!!

Week 19: Four Legged

May 11, 2024

Get your paper and pencil/crayon ready. Place them on a stable/large enough surface.
Start thinking about four-legged creatures on this planet. We got tons, our four-legged friends.
Which ones come to your awareness?

Carve out a block of time you can call your own.
Out of all the four-legged living things that come to your mind,
pick the one you feel most strongly about.
Imagine the life of the creature of your choice. Go into details of its life until you are emotionally moved.
When ready, pick up your drawing tool*, close your eyes, and
as you continue to imagine-feel, freely move/press your pencil/crayon on paper.
When you feel done, stop drawing and open your eyes.

*Expressions “drawing tool(s)” and “pencil/crayon” are used interchangeably.

Critters grouped as “four-legged” include alligators turtles cats dogs bears and even kangaroos (they look more two legged as seen on internet).
Choose the one you feel the most intrigue, interest, some form of positive attraction towards.
( Easier that way.)

Imagine the way the creature runs, rolls, jumps, lazes.
The way a lion’s tail slaps itself when it jolts up, a bear climbs a tree so agile way more athletic than it appears.
How it hunts, forages, feasts.
Did you pick wolf? Imagine, until you almost feel its paws sinking deep in snow as it treks through the coldest, the hunt, hunger, hardship, presence of the pack, loyalty and bond, do you think it dreams of when it was a cub curled up cozy in a den, with siblings in a bundle of fur balls?
What about chihuahua or an elephant, how do their feet feel as they stride through their life?
A frog, a roo, a rabbit, the spring of their hind legs. How do you think it feels to be in midair like they do?

Direct your thoughts toward its behaviors/mannerisms until you get into it, you start feeling it, the liveliness of the creature.

Please be noted: you are imagining as a human. And you will be drawing as a human holding a pencil.
(In other words, no need to try and figure out how, as a bear, to hold onto a pencil.)

So when you face your drawing paper with your eyes closed, I ask you to let yourself go with the pen in your hand. Draw freely as you imagine the feel of a cheetah sprints. The speed, the muscles, the oneness with the wind.
You let your pen go where it wants to go, press hard, or lightly like a feather, with heightened momentum or slowed gentleness.
Please have fun. Feel into the sense of Creative Freedom.

Be One with Your Imagination;

you are not limited on the paper.

When you feel done – you will know when – gently discontinue and open your eyes.

See you next week!!

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