Drawing a sad stickman turned out to be more challenging than I expected. I woke up, picked up a sharpie, and drew a stickman with a frown and some tears. I stared at it for a minute and then I drew another one exactly the same way.
It didn’t really feel sad though, it felt more like “pretend sad” if that makes any sense. It felt like I had told a happy person, “Pretend you are sad right now.” It also felt like that stickman would just stop frowning and take a bow for her excellent portrayal of sad as soon as she was done, complete with a giant, satisfied smile on her face. My drawing was lacking authenticity.
That’s when I started thinking about how the whole body looks when someone is sad. I thought about Tiny-Small at the playground the other day. When a little girl didn’t want to play with her Tiny-Small ran away with her shoulders hunched up and her fists balled up. Her face was sad and brave all at the same time. She was trying to hold back the tears. Just thinking about it now makes me feel sad.
Sad isn’t always pretty. Sad is droopy and clenched and maybe a little twisted at times. I tried to make that happen in some of the Stickmen I drew. I don’t think I ever quite got sad right. I am not going to declare that I “Nailed it!” I do think I got a little closer to what sad “feels like” than I did on my first drawing. I will probably try drawing sad again. I am intrigued by this exercise today.
Sometimes the drawing can get a bit inaccurate when you are trying to portray an emotion: The bones may curve in unusual ways, certain features may be too big or to small. That’s OK. If it gets your message across do it. Sometimes the feeling we come away with after looking at a drawing is more important than any technical skill we have developed. Don’t be afraid to draw a story even if you think you can’t draw. You might be surprised with yourself when you see the drawing you end up with. You might even discover something new about yourself. Something you didn’t realize before. Drawing can be an amazing tool for getting to a deeper level of understanding, or even clarity, about your own emotions.
If you drew a sad stickman please add him to the link tool below. Check out what your friends are drawing by searching for and using this hashtag on your favorite social media platform: #31stickmen .
Tomorrow the prompt is: Bored.
If you are feeling sad after drawing sad like I am it might be a good time to eat some chocolate, dance, pet your dog, or draw something happy. I am going to go drink copious amounts of coffee and paint fairies.