Friday 24th April 2020

At the start of lockdown, we teamed up with Dulcie from Sketch Appeal (who some of you may know from her workshops at Find Your Sense of Tumour) to share The Social Sketchup on our Instagram.

In case you missed it first time round, all seven sketching challenges are here for you to take on whenever you want! We’d love to see your sketches – tag us at @teenage_cancer #thesocialsketchup

First, we chatted to Dulcie about why drawing is such a powerful form of mindfulness – take a look or keep reading below.

The Social Sketchup: Why Art Matters


My name’s Dulcie and I run a company called Sketch Appeal. We promote the healing and social power of art, and specifically drawing. I believe that drawing is a really powerful form of mindfulness and active meditation that everyone can do.

I’m an incredibly self-conscious person, I’m quite an ‘introverted extrovert’ and I felt for many years, when I wasn’t drawing, like there was something wrong with me, like people just didn’t quite ‘get’ me. I worked in some quite corporate environments where I was ’very creative’ and I felt that was a bad thing. Drawing has really helped me to embrace that side of myself, and actually that side of myself is fundamentally who I am.

Especially, I suppose, working on my own body issues and my own body image – finding [drawing] as a form of self-care and self-love, and not necessarily loving how I look but starting to love how I feel, and how drawing makes me feel.

I think sketching is just a really wonderful way of reconnecting with yourself, and for me it’s a release and it’s been a really powerful way to overcome anxiety.

What does sketching mean to me? It means joy, it means smiling every day and surviving every day and being present in my life in a way that I wasn’t before I started sketching five years ago. It means my life because without it, I probably wouldn’t be who I am now and well enough to be here saying this. So it means the world, without being too dramatic about it!

The Social Sketchup: Day 1


This is one of my favourite warm-up games that I do at all of the events I run, and it involves speed sketching portraits. So you’re gonna do four portraits, of either someone around you, or you can draw yourself. You’re gonna do:

  • one with your dominant hand
  • one with your non-dominant hand
  • one without looking at the page
  • and then one with your eyes completely closed. Good luck!

The Social Sketchup: Day 2


There’s quite a lot of things I find tricky to draw: teeth, feet, men, beards, babies, dogs, ducks… I could go on. Another thing that’s really tricky to draw that I’m gonna make you draw today is hands – it’s quite appropriate at the moment because it’s really important that we all wash our hands! So you’re gonna draw:

  • your right hand with your left hand
  • and then your left hand with your right hand. Good luck!

The Social Sketchup: Day 3


I don’t know about you but I’ve been watching a lot of comedy to get through these past few weeks. So today I thought you could draw one of your favourite comedians – so you’re gonna do a portrait of them, but with your non-dominant hand. If you do it and share it on social, remember to tag them cause it might freak them out a bit!

The Social Sketchup: Day 4


Today, I want you to find one of your favourite photos from a recent or distant memory – a special time or a special moment in your life – and draw it, simple as that! Whenever I do this exercise, I really feel like I’m re-conjuring that moment – and especially if I’m drawing friends, really drawing my friends into the room with me. So give it a go, it’s quite an emotional experience and quite lovely. I hope you enjoy it!

The Social Sketchup: Day 5


So I want you to imagine you’re at a gig, or somewhere crowded (which you shouldn’t be right now!) and I want you to draw 50 faces in 15 minutes. 50 ravers, 50 concert-goers, whatever you want. So it’s gonna be a crowded scene, there could be people, animals, robots – just try to smash out the faces and see where you get to. Go for it!

The Social Sketchup: Day 6


By now you should feel a bit more confident in your creativity, so I thought you could draw a self-isolation portrait – a picture of you surrounded by some of the things that are getting you through this time. It might be the food you’re eating, the films you’re watching, books, it could just be loads of pencils like I’ve got! But I want to see a really candid portrait, so just be as honest as you dare – good luck!

The Social Sketchup: Day 7


One final challenge, and this one is pretty important and pretty powerful, I think. I want you to draw a similar thing to yesterday but you’re drawing your future self. So you’re drawing some of the goals, activities you want to try, colours you want to dye your hair, food you want to eat, places you want to go.

Think short-term. I do this at the start of every year, and most of the things that I set out to do, I actually achieve, so it’s a really great way of visualising your goals. Literally, pin it on your wall and hope and believe that this will pass and we’ll get through it. I hope that creativity and drawing can help you through it, and I hope these challenges have given you ideas, inspiration and confidence in your sketching abilities. Keep sketching and take care!