Drawing – The 5 Minute Handwriting Burnout

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Okay, here are the rules:

  • Set your stopwatch for 5 minutes.
  • Look in any direction, inside or outside the house.
  • Draw what is in front of you without stopping.
  • Draw as fast as you can without thinking whether your drawing is good or bad.
  • Give no thought to composition, accuracy, style or subject matter.
  • Capture as much as you can as quickly as you can within your field of vision.
  • Don’t worry if the subject matter is boring, the more complicated the better.
  • Corners of rooms and cluttered tables are especially good!
  • Lift your pencil if you want but rubbing out is banned!

What is the reason for doing this?  Answer: many fold, i.e.

  • Gets you out of your fussy, cramped and jumbled head.
  • Displays your free handwriting by using short, sharp bursts of energy.
  • Puts aside your conscious controlling self.
  • Teaches you to capture images quickly.
  • Helps you capture subjects that move, like children people on buses, dogs etc.


  • A long term exercise in growth.
  • Production of the occasional “gem”, seen as happenstance.
  • No evaluation, no criticism, no comment.
  • Reveals your true handwriting style.
  • Lots of these will create real changes in your drawing style.

At last!  You have found your own style, stick with it by practicing the 5 minute handwriting burnout as often as you can.

PS  Above I show two of my crusty drawings.  The second is my jumbled, controlled self and the first my true handwriting style.  Like them or not, they are helping me to become my real drawing self by showing me my handwriting.  I know which one I like best.

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