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The Art of… Creating Art in Quarantine
Jerry Huang ’23 Staff Writer
April 11, 2020

Okay, I’m bored in the house and I’m in the house bored…

Oftentimes, this TikTok phrase comes to mind when we think about self isolation. As we become more distant from friends, and our classes are online, we notice ourselves spending more time on the Internet and on our phones. Don’t worry, this article won’t be about TikTok. Instead, we will step away from our screens, and learn a few tips for how to stay artistically motivated and inspired from Lily Lin ’23, Greer Anderson ’22, Jean Jin ’22, Benny Yang ’21, Mark Chung ’21, Alex Leong ’20, and AP Studio Art Teacher Mercedes Taylor—just a few Deerfield artists creating pieces in their own homes.  

Tip #1: Be creative with your materials 

Don’t have art supplies? Don’t fret! Be creative! Like many others in her AP Studio Art Class,  Jin does not have her usual assortment of materials on hand, so she has been experimenting with stuff around the house. She recommends using materials such as “food and fruit juice as water color,” and she has used oatmeal juice as glue, saying “It worked! Very Sticky!” 

If you don’t have any drawing paper, Anderson suggests using toned paper like cardboard boxes or anything else with color, which will make objects stand out easier. Lin also suggests to try mark making, which means making marks on paper using whatever things you can find. 

The possibilities are endless! You can use anything in the house!

Tip #2: How to find inspiration 

Another challenge that may be stopping you from creating your first piece of art may be a lack of inspiration. We get it, we’ve all been there.  For Chung, he is inspired by the important aspects of his life, such as the Deerfield campus, which allows him to keep in touch with our school’s community. 

Similarly, Leong finds inspiration from the world around him. Particularly passionate about the COVID-19 crisis, Leong has been doing his AP Sustained Investigation around different governments’ reactions to this pandemic.

Lin also adds that inspiration can be as simple as the first word that pops into your head and then thinking of a similar word; thus, “branching out” your ideas until you get a whole page of topics that you can connect together through your artwork.

If that doesn’t work, just start creating, and ideas will come to you as you go. Don’t let the lack of inspiration get in your way. 

Tip #3: Music

Everyone loves to listen to music, and it can certainly be used as a tool when you are drawing. For example, Yang prefers listening to sad music which helps him think wistfully of his past and identity. 

On the other hand, Leong listens to rap music to get him hyped to be more attentive when he is drawing. 

Of course, music is all up to personal opinion, so don’t let these artists’ preferences limit you. 

Yang even warned he would “absolutely not recommend listening to sad music when you draw,” which is why we recommend you listen to a variety of different genres until you find one that best cultivates your creative thoughts. 

If you think music is too much of a distraction, you can always listen to the sound of pencil on paper like Ms. Taylor occasionally does. 

Tip #4: Technique

When it comes to artistic technique, Ms. Taylor recognizes that we cannot all start with a wide array of skills. It all depends on the amount of time and energy you are willing to devote to that art form. In drawing, for example, she said, “We can all draw but some of us practice it more… When I go to the basketball court and I have a ball, I know exactly where it is supposed to go, but the chances that I get it in the basket are very low. But with time, I may get it to hit the board and with more time maybe the rim and then one day maybe I put it in the basket. Even professional players don’t make the basket every shot but they still continue playing and practicing.”

One technique Leong has learned from Ms. Taylor is to  “push the darks in your drawings,” referring to the dark areas in your drawings which will make your objects more three dimensional and stand out. 

Yang suggests practicing the basics over and over again, and he recounts where he only drew lines on a single page for a whole year just so he could feel comfortable drawing them. 

Even now, Yang still watches drawing tutorial videos, so don’t be ashamed to look for help! 

Tip #5: Send It!

Now that you know all the tricks to start, just practice! Art is a very creative activity, so there are no right or wrong steps. Just take out a piece of paper and a pencil and begin! 

Don’t judge your work. Ms. Taylor suggests thinking of yourself as a learner. Turn the page every time you finish drawing to stop yourself from criticizing your work.

Similarly, Leong suggests not being too focused on one particular portion of the drawing because when you look at that one tiny detail without being in context with the greater piece, it may not look too good. You just have to have faith that it will always come together in the end. 

Ms. Taylor says, “Your work is not going to get better from the moment you begin to the day you finish, it’s the practice of the skills and the practice of the drawings that will guarantee it gets better.” 

Madeline Lee ’20

So, keep practicing! Art is a journey we can all be a part of, so never give up on yourself. Remember, like Lin says, “Everyone has creativity, just not everyone can express it.” 

Next time you are bored in the house and in the house bored, pick up a pencil instead of your phone. You won’t regret it.