Podcast: Drawing Fearlessly, with Linda Tieu

27 Jul 2012

All images in this post by Linda Tieu, used with permission.

When we're kids, we draw. We don't worry about whether we do it well; we just make marks on paper and have fun. But as we grow up, we get a lot more concerned with whether we're doing it "right," and many of us abandon the practice. And that's really too bad! Drawing is as essential a form of human expression as, say, speaking and writing. If you can get past your internal judgements and just draw things regularly, you'll discover that you have a visual language that's unique to you – and learning to use that language can open whole new creative worlds for you.

You don't have to take a ton of drawing classes or turn it into any kind of formal (and therefore intimidating) practice. You can start anytime, with cheap materials, and just draw. My guest for this show took that same journey. Linda Tieu, like many of us, gave up drawing during her school years, because she felt that her drawing didn't compare favorably with the "artists" in her class.

But eventually, Linda decided to set aside whatever drawing "should" be, and she just let herself play around. She doodled, she drew cartoons, she made patterns with lines and shapes – and over time, she grew to love the act of drawing again. In this show, Linda and I talk about how getting friendly with drawing has enhanced her other creative pursuits – not to mention, her whole life.


Draw on These Links:

• Explore Linda's website, where you can see her illustration talents in action, and her blog, where she writes philosophically about life and creativity.

• Linda's Etsy shop is the place to score a copy of the zine we discussed in the podcast: Pensieri #7: Just Draw It.

• Linda also mentioned the classic book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards.

Line by Line is a series of essays by James McMullen in the New York Times – a ten-lesson course in the basics of drawing.

• Danny Gregory's books are wonderful drawing resources, especially (in my opinion) The Creative License.

• While we're on the subject of Danny Gregory, his short films about drawing are equally wonderful.

• Need stuff to draw? Try this 100 Day Drawing Challenge list. (Don't freak yourself out with 100 days of drawing, though, if you know it'll make you give up! Just take whatever inspiration you need.)



Thanks for the opportunity to speak on this subject and I hope everyone will find a bit of inspiration to doodle away and have fun with drawing!

AMEN, Chris! I'm so glad you had a chance to squeeze this show into your busy weekend.!

Diane, thank you so much for this free podcast! And thanks to Linda, too! I'm so glad that I saw your Tweet, Diane, in the middle of a busy weekend with friends staying with us, reminding me that this was the last day for this podcast!

It's funny how we tie ourselves up with rules and limitations. I've been drawing more this year than I did when I was taking art classes or aspiring to be a sketch artist over 20 years ago, because I put too much pressure on myself. That's not the way of creativity! Maybe it's the way of law school or taking the CPA exam! Maybe that's how people learn to become nurses! But expressing ourselves creatively isn't really helped by massive rules, deadlines, or a desire for perfection!

I love Linda's zine, too. I have three of them. yay!

I'm so glad to see/hear this interview! I just started doing this a few years ago and it feels great! No hang ups, just doodle. It helps so much when I get into a rut with designing clothes, let's your mind unwind! I also like reading Lynda Barry's books on drawing and writing. Thanks again!

Thanks, Valerie! I love Lynda Barry's books, too. I'm in the middle of Picture This right now, and I reviewed What It Is recently as well -


I'd lost all my crafty/artistic leanings until I had a very artsy kid. She loves it when I sit down with her and make art at the same time, whether it's coloring or drawing or making something. And I love it! I'm definitely getting past my inhibitions and learning to have fun again with drawing and art. :)

That's so awesome, Aviva!