At the start of the year, I participated in a virtual retreat, which centered around creativity and self-expression. It featured art quite heavily. Now I definitely think of myself as an artist. I have always loved art, took art lessons in school and privately as a child, and still love to create stuff. I have my own personal self-critical thoughts about my art, but I still love to make it and quite often love what I have made.
My son does not consider himself an artist. He is only a teenager, but he very firmly believes he is horrible at it (no matter how many times I assure him that he is fine at it, or that when his English teacher assigns a poster project with drawings on it, he will not be expected to create something perfect).
I don't think art is something that anyone is horrible at, if they truly are letting their inner self speak on the page, then that is a form of truth that is honest and beautiful. I think that it is a horrible thing that people think that only picture perfect pieces are worthy of the title of art.
I scribble stuff with crayons! Little stick figures, or smiley faces or whatever happens to come out. One thing I absolutely love about crayons (especially my box of crayons which are never sharpened, and the colors sometimes look drastically different from what you think they will look like) is that they sort of force you to be okay with simple drawings and playing with color. Flesh is rarely flesh colored, grass might be sort of aqua and the sun more orange than yellow (because really, yellow doesn't show up well on white paper...)
One of the things I love most about art is color. I have been a fan of coloring since I was a child, when my art teacher introduced me to layering colored pencils. I did it first on this picture I had drawn of some monkeys. After sketching out the outlines, I would then pick one section to color. That section got colored in white first (which was definitely challenging to see if you were covering it all!) And not just sketching with the white pencil...it had to be carefully filled in with small circular motions...basically I was creating a white pencil layer to smooth out the rough pockets in the paper. Then, I would lay in the actual color, again with the little circles. Finally, it would be gone over again with white, which would smooth out any last inconsistencies.
Sounds tedious...and it was....but I loved it! Something about the meticulous nature of the practice, definitely very meditative, but I also adore how it turns out...deep, rich and silky. I have also found that layering colors on top of other colors gives a nice effect too.
As much as art and magic have been parts of my life forever, it feels like I never really connected them until recently. Sure, I have always done some things that cross the line (like making divination cards or prayer mats or even just drawing sigils or making runic patterns), but making actual art for magical purposes was new to me.
And this is one place I think that art play can be very powerful and definitely does not have to be technically accurate. One of the things I was introduced to was a practice where you seek inspiration or guidance through art. So you think of something you want guidance on, then grab a pen/pencil/crayon and close your eyes and scribble. Then you look at the scribble, turn it around and around until you see something in it...and then sketch to fill out what you see. It's pretty interesting to see what comes up, what sticks in your head and wants to be drawn, and what surprises you. I recently did one of these thinking about family issues, ended up drawing what I saw as several hooded figures in front of a big moon, and then just filled it in with color. It was sort of disjointed for a while, and I absolutely couldn't see how it related to my issue, until I then sat down with a pencil and just let the words flow like the color had. And ended up getting a message about how to build stronger ties and where to get wisdom from.
I've also been playing with collage lately, mainly to make vision boards. What I love about collage is you really don't have to draw anything at all. I don't actually subscribe to any magazines, but I love catalogs, and sometimes the library will have stacks of old magazines for free, which I will pick up if they look interesting. So I'll flip through and see what images and words call to me, clip them out, then start playing pasting them on to a board (or paper). I will often use some paint to put color on the page first...not really painting anything particular, just adding bits of color here and there. Then the collage goes over that, then I might take more paint and add swirls or lines (or use a sharpie!)
I think there is great power in letting our inner child play like this. Consider grabbing a box of crayons, colored pencils or markers (they are always on sale at the start of the school year), and when doing spellwork, instead of writing out what you want, sketch it. Do stick figures, or find a coloring page that represents what you want (there are tons online you can print out!), or even just let the emotions fill you up and scribble (it doesn't have to look like anything at all). The great thing is that your subconscious will connect that image with your goal! If you like chanting or have a statement you are working with, you can add that verbal component as well (or just toss on a song you love that fits!)