Business can make people pretty grim and serious.
It happens to everyone.
When it happens, what process can we implement to be … not so grim?
According to The Dictionary of Words I Made Up Just Now, “De-grimming” is defined as “the activity of reconnecting zombies in suits with the pure joy of making paper mache dinosaurs in 3rd-grade art class.”
What, you didn’t get to make paper mache dinosaurs in school?
Well – neither did I.
Sounds pretty fun though.
The only question is: how do we permanently fix everything everywhere in the world at little to no cost?
I have just the thing.
It’s a bit fancy and technical, so just try and bear with me.
Colouring in squiggly drawings.
Remember the kid’s show Mr Squiggle?
Well – neither do I.
But Eddie, who is one of our super star graphic designers, does and she encouraged us to try this Mr Squiggle creative drawing exercise during one of our regular weekly team meetings. (Thanks Eds!)
Just like Mr Squiggle, the goal of the exercise is to draw an image starting with 2-3 basic shapes on a page.
It’s an easy 10-minute exercise that is great fun for people of all ages – especially adults in suits.
Of course, we all have that little voice inside that freaks out and says “but I have no artistic talent whatsoever and can’t draw to save my life.”
At this point, I think it’s really important to stress something.
You are an artist.
All adults are artists at heart.
Because all artists are really kids at heart …
Until the education system begins the slow process of zombifying our minds, after which the corporate machine tries its best to pancake our souls.
Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up.”
Creativity is not something we need to achieve on a lateral thinking test.
It’s a squiggly dimension we need to return to.
You don’t need to be “good” at drawing.
You need to get abhorrently bad at squiggling.
It’s not about being the most talented artist in the room.
It’s about being with your inner artist.
Squiggling is the essence of art.
You can draw whatever you want, simple or intricate, silly or serious, real or nonsensical.
You can rotate the page horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.
Bring paint brushes if you want.
You are limited only by your imagination.
At the end of the 10 minutes, go around and have people share their results.
Give a round of applause after each drawing.
Or you can give a deafening silence – but I find applause works a bit better.
This was our team’s first go at the activity:
We had a couple of team members who were away or participated via Zoom, so they just drew whatever they could on a piece of paper, napkin, or post-it.
Obviously, not everyone is going to feel they’ve produced a masterpiece and some may want to throw theirs away at the end.
We rescued those pictures from the trash (in one case, literally).
Then, we put all the pictures together where they belong – on a big patch of empty office wall that was in dire need of colour.
Consider giving the exercise a try.
You don’t even need a team.
Simply buy a colouring book and scribble badly on the bus/train ride home.
If it makes you happy and calmer and more at peace with yourself and the world, and you’re not hurting anyone in the process, then why not?
Let’s get the world squiggling again.
To get started, you can Google “Mr Squiggle worksheets.”
Alternatively, just draw a circle and a squiggly line on a page and go from there.
Don’t give in.
Fight the machine.
Remove the sticks from the bums.
Make tenth-rate art.
Buy a bunch of Marvel and Frozen colouring books.
Go full Picasso.
Invent a new weird art style and get paid a million bucks per drawing.
Paper mache the F out of that t-rex.
Smash the page with colour.
Squiggle badly in the rain.
Broden and the squiggle team