Dutch doors

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Since I first started drawing again, more than fifteen years ago, I’ve discovered that drawing in a book is a lot more than making nice pictures. 

Observing one’s life, recording one’s days, contemplating the details of the everyday, being more present, finding the beauty all around me, these are powerful experiences that have been transformative for me, particularly in difficult times — and I have always hoped that I could discover how to share this discovery to help others. I’ve long wanted to go beyond the world of Art and illustration and talk to people in schools, hospitals, and prisons about how drawing can help them discover the world as it truly is: beautiful and full of meaning.

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Since leaving my job in advertising, I have been thinking about and working on how to do this. I’m not there yet, but this week I took another step forward.

IMG_0798I’ve just come back from five days in Amsterdam, where I gave the keynote address at an educational conference, addressing 1800 teachers from 213 schools in 37 countries.

IMG_0767 After my presentation and workshops, I had loads of interesting conversations — about the true meaning of drawing, how to encourage teens to reignite their childhood creativity, how to get children to express their inner lives in their own journals, how drawing can go beyond the art classroom to be a part of all subjects, and much more.

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These conversations opened new doors. I got invitations to come  talk with students, teachers and parents in Germany, Czech Republic, England, Tanzania, Malaysia, Switzerland and the Netherlands. I don’t know what will come of all this but it’s very exciting.

Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.  — Aristotle 

Many of you were enormously helpful over the past few months as I prepared for the conference. Dozens of teachers generously shared their experiences with illustrated journaling in the classroom and sent me the wonderful work their students had created.
Their stories and images helped build a bridge between the work I have done and the needs of the teachers at the conference.  It was invaluable and I want to thank you again for collaborating with me. 

Teachers rock.