Category Archives: Student Work

The Zen of Drawing In the Zone

Imagine yourself playing your favorite sport. Forgetting all limitations, you perform flawlessly and are unstoppable as you tally up point after point. You’re in a state of mind where time is suspended and movement flows without having to think of fundamental skills. This is called being in the Zone, and it’s the state of mind you want to strive for while drawing. Drawing from the Zone can be a peaceful meditation for sketching quick ideas or creating deeply inspired work. Continue reading The Zen of Drawing In the Zone

Drawing Lab Students Get Sketchy

Drawing lessons take on a whole new meaning at the Scribbles Institute. We turn up the music, serve the snacks, and get serious about having fun learning to draw. Shown above, adult and youth students create abstract compositions while listening to different music genres. Please scroll down to view adult and youth Drawing Lab sessions, Draw With Your Kids sessions, classes in Santa Cruz and Monterey county schools, and our free meetups. Click on images to view larger details.

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Above: Drawing Lab student uses charcoal to block in and shade accurate proportions of The Thinker; bird’s-eye view of Drawing Lab session

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Above: Mom and daughter enjoy Draw With Your Kids session; adults enjoy sketching a still life; student learns to measure proportions

Adult Drawing Lab Highlights

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Youth and Draw With Your Kids Highlights

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Highlights From Schools in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties

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Highlights From Our Free Meetups

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School’s Out For Summer! Highlights 2013

WE MADE IT AT LAST! The final days of school are a wonderful time for taking pics and remembering the year’s highlights. The dedicated sketchers shown in the following photos worked with Rob for one or two full years. Whew! Lots of drawing sessions! Photo above is of the exceptionally creative sketching crew at Natural Bridges High School in Santa Cruz.

Special thanks to Sandy Mast, Santa Cruz Office of Education and Gary Vincent, Monterey Office of Education for bringing the Scribbles Institute Drawing Lab to eight Central Coast schools. And thanks to the teachers, staff, and wonderful students for the great moments over the five years I’ve been working with them.

Please scroll down to view highlights. Remember to click on images to view larger details. Enjoy!

Santa Cruz County Office of Education

Louden Nelson Community School Santa Cruz

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Natural Bridges High School Santa Cruz

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Ponderosa High School Ben Lomond

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Star Community School Santa Cruz

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Monterey County Office of Education

Rancho Cielo Youth Campus Salinas

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Salinas Community School Salinas

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Please view our Online Student Show 2012
View 2012 Show



2 Local High Schoolers Take Doodling During Class Very Seriously

Doodling is very much a part of life in school. Students the world over indulge in this meditative activity, often during class. As a drawing coach in high schools, I encourage doodling as a way to explore spontaneous expression and creative problem solving.

This year I encountered Corey Chrysler and Arastas Duran, two students who are crazy serious about doodling. I wanted to see what would happen if I nudged them both toward creating abstract and surrealistic compositions. In the image shown above, what started as a lesson in drawing realistic proportions of a skull ended in a brilliant abstract riff by Corey. Below, the two 17 year-old sketchers share their thoughts and “random nothings”.

Corey Chrysler

Age: 17  Hometown: Santa Cruz  City of Birth: Santa Cruz  Interests: Music, skateboarding  Favorite Artists: Alex Grey, Vincent Van Gogh  Favorite Music: Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies, Atmosphere, A Perfect Circle  Pets: Bobo the cat, Bully the bull dog, Cali the king snake

Corey is a mild-mannered teenager who takes time to ponder his next drawing. Then with iPod earplugs locked in position and playlist selected, he drops into the doodle zone. Musical rhythm can be seen in a lot of his highly imaginative drawings. A strong influence in his work comes from close to home. “My dad has drawn around me all my life, so I’ve always been drawing off and on.”

Other than our Drawing Lab lessons at Louden Nelson Community School, Corey is pretty much self-taught. Even with this year’s burst of surrealistic and abstract drawing he remains humble. When asked if he considers himself an artist Corey simply replies, “Artistic yes. But artist, no.”

Drawing is a creative outlet for Corey. “It makes school worth showing up on time for. Art helps me express myself on a daily basis. I don’t think I could go long without starting some kind of art project.” And when asked how drawing improves his world he replies, “Drawing gives me the chance of surprising myself and that can make my day!”

Corey pays attention. He watches the news and listens to a lot of music for the inspirational triggers that get his work going. When taking time to study Corey’s pencil and charcoal drawings you begin to see images of topics that interest him, ranging from world peace to “random nothings and sometimes trees.”

Corey Chrysler knows the challenges of learning to draw and offers words of wisdom to those viewing student work, “Art is subjective so never tell anyone that they can’t draw something great.”

Draw on, man.

Corey’s Drawing Gallery:

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Arastas Duran

Age: 17  Hometown: Santa Cruz  City of Birth: Santa Cruz  Interests: Doodling (of course!), meditation, gardening, psychology, philosophy  Favorite Artists: Hasn’t been able to choose, doesn’t think he ever will.  Favorite Music: Jazz  Pets: Cares for 3 rabbits: Lionel, Biscuit, and Bananacakes; 2 cats: Ophelia and Pheobe

Arastas Duran’s earliest memories of doodling date back to his early years in elementary school. When the classroom lesson wasn’t interesting Arastas says, “I’d draw to focus myself so I wouldn’t disrupt classmates.”

Ever since his childhood desire to doodle, Arastas has been able to channel his drawing into a form of meditation and problem solving. “I find that drawing, done correctly, can help me think about things and process them more smoothly. I find myself doodling at times when working on a math problem or writing an essay. Yet, if I’m not careful I can begin to draw an essay.”

During the past few years he has taken his drawing more seriously. An avid sketchbook drawer, lately Arastas has devoted his efforts to drawing on his iPhone and digital tablet. Inspired by nature and his love of music, his intricate labyrinths of intense line work reveal his spontaneous drawing method. He says, “I can have a sort of flash or glow of an image or a movie-like process in my mind’s eye. I sometimes guide the image to create a pre-structure to base the drawing off of, like a formula.”

Arastas’ Drawing Gallery:

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This meditative process then triggers deep emotions that are translated by his drawing. “I think I usually get inspired by feelings, not so much as what causes the feelings, but the interpretation/processing of the feelings. Drawing seems to be the best translator I can operate with ease.” He adds that, “When I draw from imagination, anything goes. I like to try and sync my movements with feelings, the environment, thoughts, and music.”

Pages from Arastas’ sketchbooks:


Arastas Duran knows he will always draw but doesn’t see it as his main occupation in life. “I have the itch to help those in need, those who suffer from harmful governments in society. I have no idea what the future holds, so I don’t presume.”

In closing, when asked how drawing improves his world, Arastas Duran replies, “I think it helps me learn how to express myself and it’s like a muse to me. I constantly find myself in awe when I draw, especially when others draw. I have time and time again been reminded that improvement is infinite.”

To view more of Arastas Duran’s work on Deviant Art click here.