The You Will Rise Project is dedicated to helping you tell your story through the arts. We believe this is a powerful and effective way to express yourself and communicate. We know that some people have more artistic experience than others, but we want to hear from everyone! That’s why we created this Inspiration section, where we will include posts from various artists and writers with suggestions about how to get started for those who wish to participate but don’t know how to approach it. If you have a story to tell, we want to hear it. We hope the suggestions below help you find your voice.
The first post comes from YWR co-founder Linda Regula. She has been teaching visual art to people of all ages for years, and shares some of her insights below.
Do you want to make a picture about how you feel, but don’t know what to do?
These are things you can think about. We all have voices. We talk and use our voices to tell stories every day.
Pictures can also tell stories. Anyone can make a picture to express feelings that are difficult to talk about.
Pictures can be drawn with a pencil, colored with crayons or markers, or painted with different kinds of paint. Photographs, cut out of magazines, and gathered objects can also be glued on a piece of paper to tell YOUR story. We call these pictures collages.
Choosing certain colors can also help you tell YOUR story. Orange and yellow are happy colors. Red and black say, “I’m very angry.” Brown and gray are colors that say you are afraid. Blue, green, and purple can help tell a story about grief, sadness, and loneliness.
Different shapes and lines can also help you tell YOUR visual story.
Drawing dark jagged lines and sharp points says you are angry, afraid, or want to hurt. Rectangles, triangles, and squares can become traps and prisons if you’re feeling trapped in a situation you can’t escape.
Drawing lighter curved lines, that have no sharp points, helps you tell happier stories. Circles and ovals make you think of happy things: balloons, merry-go- rounds, and birthday cakes. These are happy shapes.
Before making a picture, think about how you feel.
• Are you sad?
• Are you afraid?
• Are you lonely?
• Are you happy?
• Do you feel like everyone hates you?
• Do you want to hurt yourself, or others?
A picture can talk about all of these feelings and many others, without you speaking a single word. Taking sad or scary stories out of your mind and putting them in pictures helps make you feel better even if no one but you knows what the picture is really saying.
Because our voices don’t sound the same, because none of us look the same, because we all have different stories to tell, don’t compare your pictures to anyone else’s. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw or paint as well as someone else. You can still make good pictures.
Do you want to make a picture to tell YOUR story?
• Find a quiet place to work.
• Gather your materials: paper, pencil, colors. If making a collage: photos, scissors, glue, other objects like glitter, feathers, buttons, construction paper, or other things you’ve chosen.
• Think about how you feel.
• Think about which colors, lines, and shapes will help tell YOUR story.
Now, you’re making a picture. Now, you’re silently telling YOUR story.