How do great automatic drawing artists come up with ideas when they are creating? And what are the steps in their creative process that enables them to bring those ideas to life? Disconnecting from the constant flow of thoughts and distractions is an essential part of the automatic drawing technique:
Put yourself in a receptive frame of mind, draw without thinking, and avoid conscious control over the image. Keeping your pencil on the paper can help the flow. In fact, automatic drawing is a sort of accelerated or intensified doodling in which unexpected and unpredictable images can be made to appear and used as the basis for the further visual play.
Araki Koman is a freelance illustrator living in the UK. When she was a kid, she used to draw automatic up until her teenage years, and then stopped for about a decade. She enrolled in a graphic design course after leaving her digital marketing job. From then on, Araki has allowed intuition to lead her career and creative thinking process.
Automatic drawing examples: Earthy colour palette, raw lines and organic shapes
Soft raw lines and organic shapes, matte texture and sand-like colours are merged together in Araki Koman's automatic drawings. She currently works on a black ink Raw Feminine series she started in 2020. Check out some of her automatic drawing examples:
Araki about her automatic drawing process:
To be honest, everything I do is automatic. When I have a project, a commission, I know where it is supposed to go. I know what the client wants. I always trust the process and that it would eventually lead to the final result that we both like. Sometimes I have a reference but I quickly give that reference up and I just allow the process to lead to the final result. (…) When I see my drawings from the past I never know how to do them again and I am not feeling that I am the one doing them. Yes, it’s my hands drawing, it’s me drawing it but I am very spiritual and I feel like it’s a higher consciousness doing it through me.
The four stages of the automatic drawing process by Araki Koman:
Stage 1: Preparation
"Usually, I start with a reference image that I like. I draw an element and at some point, it is not me doing the rest of the drawing anymore, it is literally my hands doing the shapes. It’s like a puzzle, things are happening on their own, and I am just witnessing it."
Stage 2: Creation
"I like listening to a podcast or to music while drawing, to keep my mind focused on something else. I have to completely detach myself from the process and focus on something else like the music I am listening to or the dialogue of the podcasts. I am just allowing my hands to do everything by themselves."
Stage 3: Editing
"All editing also happens naturally. When I am editing, I am continuing the process also without being completely there. Sometimes, I have to close what I am doing, step away from the work, go do something else and then come back to look at the result. Is it the final result? Am I happy with it, or should I add something else that did not come the first time? Most of the time, it is quite effortless, I am completely disconnected from what’s happening around me. It’s 80% of letting go, 10% of research, and 10% of editing at the end."
Stage 4: Verification
"When I see my automatic drawings from the past I never know how to do them again, and I am not feeling that I am the one doing them. Yes, it’s my hands drawing, it’s me drawing, but I am very spiritual, and I feel like it’s higher consciousness doing it through me. I guess I had a talent initially that pushed me to draw a lot as a child. I was very interested in drawing, so I know it’s in a way my mission to do that at this specific time, in this specific realm, and embrace it as my job now."
Gaze at more of Araki's automatic drawings on her Instagram space.
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