I just heard the best story about an 11-year-old boy who has been drawing through this pandemic to help him manage his anxiety. And now that he has started drawing, he doesn’t want to stop!
Brayden, not my grandson Brayden, but another Brayden, is in 6th grade and happiest playing sports. He has suffered from anxiety for a few years now and according to mom, that anxiety has increased during the pandemic. She said it’s so overwhelming for him, it can ruin his whole day and since every day looks different, it’s even harder for him to manage.
Mom read that doing art can help with anxiety and recently encouraged him to do some on-line drawing lessons. She said he was hesitant, but it was raining outside, and he was bored, so he gave it a shot. He chose the Young Rembrandts’ Anime workshop, which is five separate drawing lessons, with multiple drawings in each lesson. Mom said, “He drew the whole workshop that night. After that … he hasn’t stopped drawing!!!! He nonstop draws more anime characters that he creates himself. He doodles on everything. He even asked us to buy him a sketch book and some pencils – maybe even special markers.”
“In all this COVID time, and since Brayden has had anxiety- we haven’t found an outlet… until now. Drawing has become his outlet. He’s already filled a whole sketchbook in a few months.” She went on to say, “I catch him at times when he’s pacing and starting to feel anxious say –‘I’m going to draw’. Or I see him on his 10-minute school breaks drawing. His lunch break is now spent drawing objects, most recently his water bottle for Earth day.” She went on to say, “The other day I noticed in his sketch book he also wrote a poem about gun violence and how sad it is. He drew an angel character and shared it with his religion teacher. This is not like Brayden at all!! He’s quiet, he keeps to himself, he’s a sports kid.”
These are some of my favorite things Brayden has said about art:
“It relaxes me all over and it also helps me focus, it pulls me in.”
“ Art has helped me be super creative. I make things I didn’t know I could.”
“ Sometimes I sketch while I’m listening in school, it helps me focus and I can draw and listen, I listen better actually.”
I am beyond delighted Brayden has ‘discovered’ a hidden talent. The Young Rembrandts lessons are full of step-by-step instruction, and helped him learn some basic techniques and characters, and built up his confidence. But inside there was always an artist. I’m impressed he can articulate how art makes him feel, and that he recognizes doodling as a way to focus. Most of all, I’m excited he sees himself as an artist now.
Do you have a child struggling with anxiety? Maybe it’s time for a few drawing lessons!