Nicoz Balboa

Graphic Journaling lesson 2: what a feeling

Hi fellow subscribers how your week has gone so far?

I hope you drew with a lot of pleasure and that you used your (same) notebook for you graphic journaling.

Keeping always the same one until the end is important for 2 reasons:

  • you will have forever available at quick view your evolution (graphicwise and lifewise)
  • arriving at the end of a notebook/sketchbook/journal is a satisfaction that I want you to feel at least once in your lifetime ?

And even if you made some lines, some drawing, you don’t like, just turn the page! you know, your journal was made to have “wasted” pages and unfruitful drawings and it’s ok with it.

do you remember what we said last time about a drawing that YOU don’t like? (a hint: NOTHING).




in a graphic journal sometimes we draw what we see but most of the time we draw what we remember (and therefore what we’ve  FELT) and this is WHY this is not a class were I teach you how to draw. I’m teaching you how to remember.

there is some “drawing” that is already there inside of you and (even if you stopped drawing when you were 8) it’s still there! and it’s not forgotten, you only forgotten how to remember 🙂

so we are on our journals and we are drawing memories, we are telling our story therefore we are learning to draw a feeling in a narrative way. nothing to do with an art therapy session in wich you act with gestures on your drawing to express your felling, in this class we learn the storytelling of a feeling.

last Sunday we started our class with a quick exercise by cartoonist Ivan Brunetti (from his book “Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice”) we divided our page in 4 and then we drew a castle 4 times. first time we had set a timer for 2 minutes, second time for 1 minute then 30 seconds and, at last, for 15 seconds. and the results were amazing! would you ever believed that you were going to draw a castle in 15 (fifteen!) seconds if I told you before?

you can do it! you got this!

we went on with our lesson by drawing what we did/heard/felt the day before. and for this we had some “going inside our head” exercises to help us remember.

your graphic journal will fill with things that you’ve noticed even if you think your day was *boring* because days aren’t  truly boring. why? because what’s boring  is our “unpresent” mind, I mean, sometimes our mind is like a hamster who needs his wheel spinning, and when the wheel spins we can’t see or enjoy anything more.

sometimes drawing without an aim can help, you know…the “useless drawing”! those pages we fill up while listening on a podcast or while binging on a  netflix show (by the way, I totally loved FELL GOOD) because your hand and instinct are free while your mind (remember the hamster in the wheel?) are occupied by the shows.


running after a style, finding your artistic self


the more we draw and the more *someting* starts to appear: our own style. tadaaan!

but what’s “your style”? Your “style” are those lines and shapes that are truly yours, those drawings that comes when you’re drawing from that magical place we called “the groove” and that someone would call “inspiration” but  that I prefer also to call “(en)JOY” (this doesn’t mean you need to be *happy* when you draw).

Your “style” are those drawings that appears when you have no expectations and you only follow this flow, this vortex of expression.

BUT (there’s always a but) this doesn’t mean that :
•you only have to draw while “in the groove”. sometimes you will draw to kill time, out of sadness and loss, because you have and assignment or for a deadline and THAT’S OK.

•this doesn’t mean neither that you “style” will always be  100% pure! sometimes you will want to try out new things as an exercise and sometimes you will keep some of those skills and sometimes you’ll let them go and THAT’S OK.

one day you may even stumble on a book by that artist that inspired you so much in the past just to rediscover that you had taken from them a certain way to put yellow outlines or a way to draw nostrils. AND THAT’S OK.  actually,  to acknowledge our past masters by thanking them in our heart is a way to grow in your artistic self.


we continued the class with some self portraits exercises to learn how to accept every sign that may appear on paper, it is important to always accept and see what you just did because you never know where this new sign may take you.

ride, follow, the urge to find your own “line”, you own style without judging or rejecting it because you may block your own “line” even before it may had the opportunity to present itself to you :BUT: never identify with what you just did, don’t force it to happen, because it might (and it will) change within time.

it’s a balance you have to find: don’t cling on your *style* but don’t push it away just because someone else do things differently.

be proud of the artist you are and forget about yourself at the same time. it’s a dance.

Does it sound abstract to you? This because the only way of understanding what I’ve just said is by “practicing” and noticing when you swing from one side (judging what you do) or the other (wanting to push to have  your “style”).

have a good draw