Don’t Just Create Circles! Moving on with Freehand Drawing

Freehand drawing by Peony and Parakeet. Made for the class Inspirational Drawing 2.0

I have created this journal spread for the class Inspirational Drawing 2.0 where I teach freehand drawing that goes beyond just drawing circles. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have anything against circles. I think that I, if anyone, have had a real love affair with circles. In fact, it was all I drew for a long time.

Circle Love

Mixed media circles, by Peony and Parakeet. Read the blog post to move on creating more than just circles!

In 2010-2012, I spent most of my free time drawing circles.

Mixed media circles, by Peony and Parakeet. Read the blog post to move on creating more than just circles!

I even went to a few craft fairs to sell – hand-drawn circles!

Paivi from Peony and Parakeet in 2012

I firmly believed that if I create enough circles, I will find something new behind them. And yes, I slowly started to realize that there’s more than just making repeated circles that are more like backgrounds and patterns than expressive images. Now years later, I wish someone would have shown me how to move on – how to combine those repeating graphic shapes with lines that express more.

A detail of a freehand drawing. By Peony and Parakeet.

Do You Make Abstracts but Still Feel the Stiffness?

Circles and other geometric shapes are fun to create. But no matter how good I became in that, I never felt the same satisfaction that I felt when I was able to go beyond that. So when I meet people who say that they “make abstracts” and “want to get away from stiffness,” I totally get it. “I don’t really know what my abstracts represent,” says many who come to my classes. Drawing circles and playing with layers feels free first, but the more you want to express yourself, you need to explore more.

“More” doesn’t mean that you have to throw away what you have already learned. If you look at my two pieces, you can still see similarities. The first one made in 2011 called “Romance,” and the second in 2015 is called “Withering Peonies.” I called the first one “Romance” because I thought it’s all so romantic. But in the second one, I was able to express my love for peonies with much more expression without just drawing stiff flower-like shapes.

From creating circles to expressive freehand drawing. By Peony and Parakeet.

The satisfaction that came from being able to deliver a message, instead of just an atmosphere, was ground-breaking to me. My art became more powerful, impactful, it spoke not only to me but others as well.

That’s why I now teach
– how to open up and liberate the line
– how to communicate visually: create illustrations instead of backgrounds
– how to express inspiration and explore imagination in its full potential.

And that’s why my class Inspirational Drawing 2.0 exists.

A mixed media art journal page by Peony and Parakeet.

Freehand Drawing Video – Create with me!

I have made a video where we start with geometric shapes and then move on to liberate the line. To create with me, you will only need a black thin-tipped drawing pen and colored pencils (or any coloring supplies).

Art supplies for freehand drawing. By Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s the little drawing that we will create together.

An art journal page exploring freehand drawing. Watch the video to create this! By Peony and Parakeet.

And here’s the video!

Inspirational Drawing 2.0

is now available as a self-study class! Buy here! (Update: August 17)

Paivi from Peony and Parakeet and her mixed media art journal page spread.

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12 Responses to Don’t Just Create Circles! Moving on with Freehand Drawing

  1. Elaine Wirthlin says:

    Very inspirational and lovely as always, Paivi. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Mary G. Blakney says:

    Greetings and blessings for sharing this video. Boy oh boy am I stiff! Will keep on trying to loosen up and hide the ruler.

  3. Joke Swertvaegher says:

    Thank you so much for your inspired videos!

    Much love,
    Joke Swertvaegher

  4. nia says:

    So beautiful, as always. Fascinated me. Your creativity is greate.
    Thank you, Love, nia

  5. Ruthee says:

    Thank you for this video! You’ve made me realize how stiff I am and how to loosen up and have fun with my abstracts. Strangely, I think this will help me do better drawings that are not abstracts and use my watercolour pencils effectively.

  6. Ellen Schulz says:

    I love the pointer to vary shapes and sizes and incorporating line along with color warm/cool and values. You have a way of putting into words in a logical lyrical step by step to create unique art. A rare talent. Thank you!

    • Päivi says:

      Thank you, Ellen! I love that you used the word “lyrical” because I used to read and write a lot of poems in my teenage years.