Overcoming fear and judgement to find connection



Overcoming fear and judgement to find connection



Everyone is an artist

Everyone has a unique charm

Drawn In asks 1000 people to draw each other,

to experience the joy of committing ink to paper,

to laugh at an accidental pig nose.

We risk failure and find unexpected beauty,

on the page, and in each other


Drawn In is about:


Challenging people to step outside of their comfort zone and take a risk to create something beautiful.

Most natural human expression - art, humour, playfulness - commonly involves a perceived risk.


Risk of rejection Through expression:

- "what if I do a crap drawing and am laughed at"

- "what if I make a mistake and people think I'm a crap singer"

- "will people think my song is crap"

- "what if my joke isn't funny?"

- "what if he doesn't want to talk with me?"

- "what if I lose this thin facade that I'm a perfect person"


hmmm. most of these involve... Judgement. self judgement and perceived risk of judgement by others...


In school our art was judged.

"C" "A-" "F" "Pass" "Fail" "Merit" "Excellence"

Often when we see art, we judge it.

"Yes, I like the colors" "Erghhh, what a horrendous painting!" "This toilet isn't art!"

Often when we see people, we judge them.

"Oh, he's so handsome" "He's getting fat" "She puts on too much makeup" "He seems like an air-head"

We commonly live in a world of judgement.

So no surprise that we often pass heavy judgement on our own creations, and fear the judgement of others.

If they are like we often are, they probably will judge!


What to do, then?


Let go of self judgement.

Enjoy whatever comes out.

When the self judgement is gone, a heavy weight is lifted.

A freedom and lightness is found.

When self judgement is gone, the judgement of others doesn't feel like an attack.

We can view their judgements objectively.

"Hey mate, did you learn to draw in the dark"

[ With non-judgemental, self-assured calm & sass ]

"Hey mate, did you want to try? Here's a pen. You can draw me. 2 minutes. Let's go?" 


Getting out of our bubbles

I'm in a bubble.

I'm super priviledged.

Most people I know went to University

Most people I know will vote in the upcoming General Election

Most people I know don't eat white bread

I'm totally disconnected with huge parts of Aotearoa.

I better understand a middle class Spanish person than a Pacifica person from Porirua.


This project is an opportunity to have some fun and open an honest vulnerable space with people from outside my bubble. It's easier to have a laugh and talk about inequality after doing hilariously bad drawings of each other.




I'm Peter. You can find out more about me at my website ThroughTheLoop.nz.

The project has been constantly evolving - shaped by every person who draws, every person who doesn't draw for some reason, and by discussions with participants, friends and family about how to make it an even more beautiful experience.

Ange and Gabrielle have been collecting drawings too!

How did this project come about?

I love doodling and creating - drawings, music, dance, etc. I love the creation and appreciation of beauty, in any form.

I started drawing friends, and noticed it was always hilarious, and that we felt a lot more connected after. So I started getting other friends to draw each other. That was heaps of fun too.


So I thought I'd try and get strangers to draw each other. 


On my train commute one morning, I asked a couple of random people:

"Hey... um. So... Do you two... uh... want to draw each other?"

They looked at me strangely and politely said



Hmmm. I suspected my invitation wasn't clear or strong enough.


I decided that I needed to fully commit to the idea, so that other people could commit also.


So I arbitrarily decided that the project would be to gather 1000 drawings. Big enough that it felt like an epic project. People seem to like epic, ambitious things. So I created one. 


I tried it again on the train with two strangers near each other.

"Kia ora! I'm getting 1000 people to draw each other quickly. Do you have two minutes to do a simple sketch?"

They look slightly baffled but also impressed this time.

"Um... ok?"

"Great! Heres paper and pens. 3... 2... 1... go! You have two minutes!"


Woohoo! The project is underway!


From reactions and responses over the next 500 drawings, the changes I made were:

  1. Reading a poem to get people in the mood
  2. Getting them to write the other persons name and their name
  3. Adding their email address, so I can let them know about the exhibition
  4. Making a facebook page for people to stay in touch
  5. Making this website, to make the project even more legitimate, even more of a "thing". Makes people feel excited and safe.
  6. Printing out little bits of paper with links to the facebook page and the website, to give to people after they draw
  7. Getting people to write the other person's name and their name BEFORE they draw (a little warm up, and means there's no 'adminny' stuff to do once they've finished - after they've drawn people are all excited and want to share, not write more things)
  8. Getting people to sign the drawing BEFORE they draw, as an act of radical commitment to whatever they end up drawing. This makes most people smile.
  9. Guiding people through looking at each other before they draw - hair, ears, chin, mouth, nose, eyes...
  10. Getting people to take a deep breath before they look at each other - it can be confrontingly intimate for people to actually look at each other! The breath calms people.
  11. Reading the poem after people have written names, breathed, looked at each other, just before they draw. Seems to work well in the flow, after the silence of looking at each other, and before they start creating.
  12. If a number of people in a large group are slowly drawing each other, I'll encourage and support the first participants to host the process for their friends.
  13. Printing out "how to host" scripts, for people to do the exercise with their families
  14. Printing out bonus "how to host group mixup drawings" and "learn about yourself" exercises for people to do