Interview with Artist Jane Snedden Peever
Mandala artist Jane Snedden Peever talks about using the iPad as an artist and offers advice for aspiring artists.
Jane Snedden Peever Bio
Jane is an Illustrator, Author and Educator living in Ontario Canada. She is known for her intricate and fun mandala designs which she creates using pen and ink and digitally on the iPad. Her drawing style includes engaging and simple patterns of geometric and organic shapes which she playfully combines with symmetry. Jane enjoys using her mandala drawing practice as a way to reconnect, slow down and as a form of mindfulness. She finds inspiration throughout nature, old architecture and in her interest of sacred geometry. She enjoys sharing her process in a simple and approachable way so that everyone can experience both the relaxing and energizing effects of drawing mandalas. You can find Jane exploring creative drawing ideas weekly on her blog, and you can learn more of her simple techniques through her courses and workbooks available through her website.
Please tell us about your work?
Drawing is not only a fun way to relax but also a great way to ignite creativity and help move you from left-brain thinking into right-brain imagination. It has the ability to get you out of your head and into your heart centre, where creativity and intuition reside. The benefits of drawing are numerous, including better focus, problem-solving, improved memory, stress relief, and emotional expression to name only a few. I believe that by making space for a daily creative practice, we can reconnect with our inner voice and help us to think and act with more inspiration in all areas of our lives. My goal is to provide simple tools, fun exercises and create a space for community, that can inspire others to enjoy the many benefits of simple creative drawing.
I define “creative drawing” as drawing with no destination. Just drawing for the fun of it, as we did when we were young. I encourage all levels from beginner to advanced to take the time to approach drawing from a beginners mindset and simply enjoy the process itself, without self-judgement. Although everyone is quite pleasantly surprised with what they end up creating, the goal is to make the journey itself fun and relaxing. I teach both loose doodling methods with simple shapes as well as techniques on working with symmetry.
In most of my work, I use frameworks to help make that blank page less intimidating. I usually create symmetrical frameworks, but I can make a framework out of anything including animal shapes or
just randomly filling a page with odd shapes to break it down into manageable sections. This method makes it easier to tackle a page, since you have a guide of small shapes to fill one at a time. Before you know it the page is full of your own wonderful doodles.
I teach and share these ideas through tutorials on my blog and youtube, I offer printable worksheets and full workbooks through my site, as well as digital brushes for the Procreate App on the iPad. I also offer a more hands on, in-depth experience of my methods, through my classes, which are also available through my website and through
How do you describe your art?
Mandalas are my favourite form of expression, so this is what I am best known for. I do these with paper and pen as well as on the iPad. I find inspiration in nature, old architecture and through the study of sacred geometry. My style is mostly geometric, focusing on shapes and patterns. Generally everything can be reduced to simple shapes and textures. I’ve also found that textures are just made up of many little shapes that create patterns. I enjoy taking seemingly complex ideas and designs and breaking them down into simple methods that everyone can try. Initially, when I started drawing mandalas, they were very simple, but over time I have learned to enjoy spending more time
with them. This results in an intricate and complex design, which is created with many simple layers. These are some of the techniques I share and I love seeing my students’ joy when they realize how easy, fun and relaxing it can be to create intricate mandalas, one simple step at a time.
Where does your interest in mandalas and
geometric patterns come from?
Numbers and patterns have always been my preferred method of relating to the world. It is so much easier for me, to express myself in patterns and shapes then in words. When I was young, I was always thrilled to receive a new box of crayons with which I would draw my own interpretation of the world through shapes and patterns. When I discovered sacred geometry I was so excited to find I was not alone in believing that all things in our natural world connect and create through patterns. Mandalas first showed up in my life when I started practicing yoga, many moons ago. I had a few beautiful mandala books and thought someday it would be nice to try drawing one of my own. It finally happened for me, when I was trying to design a circular quilt on paper. I found I enjoyed drawing the designs more than quilting them and before I knew it, I was drawing them all the time. They started simple and the process of how I draw them has evolved over time, but I still love drawing simple ones just as much as the complex and detailed ones. They are like a conversation with the universe for me.
Which do you use more, an iPad or paper for your
My first experience drawing the mandalas was on paper. I drew them on plain printer copy paper as I would place a grid underneath for symmetry. The loose paper was much easier than a using a sketchbook. Soon I had binders full of these designs. I started drawing for a poster company and this let me experiment with drawing designs on poster size paper. It was hard to find a large enough surface to draw on. I have always been a digital geek and love computers, so the iPad intrigued me when it first came out. My first one was a gift from my hubby. It was still a new idea at the time, but I downloaded a simple drawing app called Procreate and had some fun finger painting. The iPad has come a very long way over the years and when I finally took the leap to getting an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, it became my new guilty pleasure for drawing. I now do most of my drawing on the iPad, but I find I go through seasons and am starting to feel a pull back to pencil on paper. I enjoy using my sketchbook for loose doodles and working out new ideas. It is a balance for me, as I am always exploring new ideas and methods, so I’m sure I will continue to use both methods as they offer me different experiences and inspiration.
Do you recommend artists to start using an iPad for
The iPad is like drawing with light, which is what you are actually doing on it. That concept alone intrigues me about this device. It doesn’t feel like digital art, as the experience is very much like drawing on a piece of paper with a pencil. The iPad has also made working in symmetry so simple. It has opened up new ideas with the digital tools that it offers. I enjoy having everything I need in one little “tool box”. I rarely leave home without it, as it offers me a sharp pencil, a new pen, a bunch of paints and brushes to work with as well as endless sheets of paper. The digital tools also allow the creation of unique 3D designs and textured work. I am finding as I get into the “reading glasses” stage of life, being able to zoom in on detail and have my design “back lit” with the screen light make drawing on the iPad a very enjoyable experience. No worry about proper lighting, with the iPad I can draw in the dark.
What software and version of iPad are needed to
best draw digitally?
I use the iPad Pro 1st gen and it still works great. You can draw on any iPad with a regular stylus, however to get the detail and accuracy I do for the mandalas I draw, the Apple Pencil makes all the difference. It has good control and it is also pressure sensitive so it can respond like a real pen or pencil. I use a variety of apps for my drawing. My favourites are Procreate, Autodesk Sketchbook, Amaziograph and Graphic. I also highly recommend getting a screen protector, as it creates a very slight but not visible texture for your apple pencil to feel more like drawing on paper.
How do you normally incorporate digital drawings
in your artwork?
Although my focus is on the drawing process and the benefits it offers, I do end up with a lot of finished artwork. I enjoy sharing those as well, as I feel they have their own light and messages to share. Among the things I have created with them is colouring books, doodle art posters and products such as T-shirts and coffee mugs through print on demand. It can be nice to have your design framed on your wall in a special place for you to see, or on your favourite coffee mug in the morning. They work great as framed gifts for family and friends or you can try online shops that will place your own images on products that you can then purchase and give as gifts or keep for your own
enjoyment. The process of drawing can be a simple, mindful practice to destress and find some quiet, self care. I enjoy teaching others to use drawing techniques to find their own way into a creative space. It is a nice way to unwind and relax either on your own or with friends. It truly is about the process and the designs are just a beautiful reward for taking some time for yourself.
What advice do you have for artists who want to
create a business around their passions?
I truly feel blessed that I am able to make a living from my passion. And yes, it is a lot of work, but I feel it has been well worth it. I have had other jobs along the way, partly to help pay the bills and partly to give me a social outlet, as working your own business can be very solitary at times. Although I engage with people online everyday, it is different than real face to face interactions. So it is important to find ways to keep some real people interaction in your life. I’m lucky to be surrounded by a small group of friends and family who support my dreams. They are there on the tough days, and are great at cheering me on and reminding me why I started this. My first business was a brick and mortar store and within 5 years of opening that, I decided to try online instead. This was way back at the beginning of the internet boom. I have had an interesting and winding path, but I have never regretted always coming back to my creative art, as it has allowed me the flexibility to stay at home with my kids.
Now with social media and the online courses market growing so quickly, it is much easier to get up and running online. The one caution I would suggest is that when you make your creative hobby your business, it will change the way you see it and how you approach it. For years, I ran a business designing and creating textile patterns, crochet, knitting and quilting, but eventually the deadlines and creative restraints I experienced working in that industry changed the way I felt about it. Over time I found I was no longer inspired when creating the pieces. So make sure you truly love what you do, no matter what the business demands, because it will.
Flow with your creativity and don’t be scared to change it up. I have found I enjoy drawing designs much more than creating textile pieces. This has led me to teach, which I enjoy just as much. Through the transition, I also completed my yoga teacher training and I have found a connecting thread through the mindfulness found in both creating art and yoga. It is important to have supportive people around you, even if you can just find one or two to be your go to peeps. You will find yourself working into the night to meet deadlines and missing family and friend events sometimes and it helps to have someone close to you who understands this. You will eventually have more flexibility with your schedule and be able to pick and choose the projects you want to say yes to. Most importantly you will have the pleasure of offering your light and your creative gift to the world through your work.
Doodling can be one of the most fun and relaxing hobbies and so perfectly portable that you can take it with you anywhere you go. Join Jane Snedden Peever and draw together in a 7 Day Challenge. Each day Jane will challenge you with a new technique that will work towards filling an entire page with beautiful doodles.
Jane Snedden Peever Links
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