top of page

How Mistakes Can Inspire Growth through Drawing

“If we all hold on to the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can’t see what we’re capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one’s own self.”

Maya Angelou

Making mistakes can be an uncomfortable feeling. You feel like people are staring at you. Judging the choices you make in life, for yourself and for your family. Sometimes it feels you are flat on your face from making so many mistakes that it’s hard to see what’s right in front of you.

Here’s a little secret. Mistakes happen. To everyone. All the time. Mistakes are a part of life. They make us who we are and we can learn a ton about ourselves when we embrace our mistakes and learn how to recreate them into something more productive or life changing.

This is when an artistic perspective can help us begin to embrace our mistakes and start to see our mistakes as opportunities for growth.

Here’s what you will need to start turning your mistakes into works of art.

Materials you will need:

  • Drawing paper

  • Permanent marker, black

  • Watercolor pens, markers

Start by choosing the permanent marker with your non-dominant hand. So if you write predominantly with your right hand, you will use your left hand for this exercise. Place the drawing paper in front of you on a smooth surface. As this can be a releasing type of drawing exercise, it will be best to find a place where you feel most grounded. A table and chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground is usually best.

Closing you eyes, find the paper with your dominant hand and begin to quickly scribble something abstract with your non-dominant hand. Take only a few seconds to scribble as much as possible and then stop. The goal is not to fill the paper, but to create as many scribbles as possible.

Now open your eyes.

What do you see? Take a moment to look at the image you have created. What does the scribble remind you of? Perhaps there are sections amongst the paper that look like different things. Maybe the entire scribble looks like one big picture. If you are having a difficult time determining what you see within your scribble drawing, feel free to rotate your paper to the right, to the left or even upside down. Spend some time reflecting on what your scribble image is to become.

Using your dominant hand, use colors, lines or words to represent the images you saw during your scribble drawing reflection. Begin to add colors and patterns to your scribble drawing to make your images clearer and more concrete.

Take a step back now and then and look at your drawing. Are there any parts you see now that you didn’t see before? If so, add more to your image. If not, enjoy the images you are creating.

When you feel like your drawing is complete, take a moment to reflect in your journal. What was it like to use your non-dominant hand? How did it feel to open your eyes and try to find something concrete within your scribbles? How do you feel after completing your drawing and what did you learn about yourself during this focused art exploration?

Remember that in life you will make mistakes. You will fall. . . And you have the ability to get back up. You have the ability to use your mistakes as moments to learn about yourself and grow.

That’s it for today. Keep growing!

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health disorder, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website for valuable resources to find help and support, or call the toll-free helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).


bottom of page