As I began this project, I was in an unpleasant place, mentally and emotionally. Things were not flowing. My relationship with my then-GF was terrible. Anger that I was supposed to be looking at seemed almost constant throughout the day, usually in the form of mild irritation.
One of the first stages of the NG process can be a quick word association about your subject. This page is what I ended up with after I conjured up anger in my head.
Next comes catharsis, which is kind of like pouring the contents of your brain onto a page. It takes only a few seconds, it’s thoughtless, and it captures the raw energy of what you’re feeling there and now as you make crazy squiggles on paper. I just moved the hand with the marker everywhere, anywhere it wanted to go, quick and furious.
The next step is rounding all the intersections to soften them. It’s like you take your crazy raw thought and then really take your time to go over every twist and turn, making everything softer. It ends up looking like a picture of insides of the brain, with neurons connected with synapses. The visual similarity is not coincidental. It’s sort of like rewiring your brain by drawing out its insides. I am simplifying, but the big idea is that NG rewires your mind; you’re re-programming yourself by drawing. You become the architect of your reality because you are the subject of your work. My rounding looked like this.
Next comes a series of other steps culminating in a beautiful drawing. I will not detail the steps here because I don’t want to distort the exact instructions of the NG method. Please learn how to do NG properly for the best results. But one essential part of doing NG is continually observing what’s happening in your mind and body as you progress with the drawing. As this is the process of rewiring yourself, you better pay great attention to what you’re doing. 🙂 As the work progressed, I realized that I am missing the constant low-level feeling of anger that I had before. The irritation was gone.
It was pretty remarkable to observe the calm space within myself that the drawing created. Ironically, the very anger I was trying to face was forgotten, lost in the presence of the drawing process. Just the act of sitting down, slowing down, and moving markers on paper had a calming effect. I was still well aware of the anger coming and going inside me in small bursts, but I was not angry. I never got upset even though I felt anger. It was a beautiful and freeing feeling. The completed first drawing looked like this.
Full size image here:
Encouraged by what’s been happening to me here, I moved on.