An Introduction to Story Spheres
by Kate Andrews
Story Spheres is a mindful-drawing intervention I designed to teach mindfulness, engage creative aptitude and reduce anxiety. In May 2015, I began to draw a pattern within a circle to allow the anxiety I was feeling in that moment to subside. I named the process ‘sketching better’. The anxiety I had been feeling dispersed and I was able to articulate what had happened, why I was feeling that way and what to do because of it. I was present and mindful of exactly what was happening.
“The circle always points to the single most vital aspect of life – its ultimate wholeness.” Carl Jung
Story Spheres begin with a circle on a piece of paper, with which the artist sketches a pattern or illustration to abstractly capture a narrative, experience or emotion from the real present life of the artist. With a nod to Indian Mandalas (a spiritual symbol representing the universe) and Zentangles (drawing of repeat patterns), the circle allows individuals to focus and become mindful to their present emotions.
“Mindfulness is more akin to an art form that one develops over time, and it is greatly enhanced through regular disciplined practice, both formally and informally on a daily basis.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
Awakening creativity is another aim of Story Spheres. Did you know that creativity is an important component for well-being? Did you also know that creativity – like mindfulness – is universal and an aptitude we all have. Everybody is creative. Story Spheres challenge everyone to be creative.
From 17th October – 8th November 2015, I exhibited a solo exhibition of my first 50 Story Spheres and received over 250 public Story Spheres to the show, from adults and children across the world. The exhibition, held at The Art Space above Cass Art in Kingston, coincided with The 2015 Big Draw – Every Drawing Tells A Story.
Draw a Story Sphere
- Draw a circle in pencil, 95mm in diameter on a white piece of card or paper or Download Your Story Sphere Template [PDF]
- Consider what’s going on in your life right now and how you are feeling. Mindfully draw patterns or shapes within your circle to capture and tell your story, using a 0.1mm black fine liner.
- Turn over the paper and give the piece a title.
- Now write a short description about what you are feeling. Be authentic and honest (50words max).
- If you’d like to share your Story Sphere with us, you can do so by scanning and emailing a high resolution image to firstname.lastname@example.org. These must be at least 1mb in size. Please include your full name, gender, contact email, age, location and twitter handle, if you have one.
- Entries are encourage from all over the world and from any age or demographic. We ask entries to tell us their age so we can celebrate children’s and adult showcases.
- Children (under 18 yrs) can use colour (pen or pencils). Adults (18 and over) are requested to use black ink only.
The Story Spheres Book
We’ll be producing a book of Story Spheres so keep sharing your drawings with us. You can tweet us @SketchBetter or email me at email@example.com.