How to Create Your Own Drawing Cards

May 5, 2024
Drawing Cards
Hiep Nguyen

         Hello friends, I hope that you’ve had a chance to use my Draw All You Can cards, either in a workshop or on your own. After using the cards, many people have asked me, “Hiep, how did you come up with those crazy ideas?” Sometimes they said they wanted to create their own cards to add to the Original Draw All You Can cards deck. Since I am deep in the process now as I try to finish up my newest set of cards (the Disaster and Healing cards), I thought I’d share a little bit of the process with you.

Draw All You Can tiles created by a Zoom event participants  

        First of all, in order to come up with these idea cards, I have drawn hundreds  or even thousand of drawing cards over the years.   I used to draw these on the 4”x6” index cards.  Nowadays I just draw using Procreate app on my iPad. I usually start drawing some simple shapes as a warm-up.  Something simple and easy to draw.  I Google for images such as icons, logos, emojis, signages, comics, simple line drawings on the topics that I want to draw.

         I also search for symbols, patterns, decorative motifs.  You can find some inspiration from your favorite artists; mine would be Kandinsky, Paul Glee, Miro, Dali, Magritte, Matisse, Keith Haring, Elisabeth Murray.  I also love to get my drawing ideas from nature such as plants, flowers, coral reef, animals, fish, human anatomy, microscopic, etc... Pictionary is a good source for how to draw something.  Children books are also wonderful sources.  

         Sometimes, I get ideas from my nieces and nephews.  Of course from my students too.  I asked them:  “what are something that you want to draw but you don’t know how?”  Or “What is your favorite thing to draw?”  “ Would you show me how to draw…”.  

So How did I create the Draw All You Can cards?

  1. Let’s start with the Pink cards, the Theme cards. These images should be universal. I think about things that could symbolize thoughts and feelings. For instance, a bird might represent freedom or two hands holding a heart might make me think of giving or love or community. The theme images should be simple, recognizable, and easy to draw. If they are too complicated, people will have a hard time drawing them, and that defeats the purpose. The theme cards should also be open enough so people can fill in the 2nd and 3rd steps.
  2. Creating the Yellow Combination cards is the most challenging (but also the most fun) part of the process. It is like finding and fitting puzzle pieces together.  These pieces don’t have to fit perfectly or need to make sense.  In fact, the more I combine quirky and mix-match elements, the more interesting and unique the image becomes.  I like to draw images that have double or multiple meanings such as “electric fire,” “wheel of fortune,” “animal balloon,” “whistle bird,'' “saxophone geese,” and “elephant hat.” The more elements you have on each of the yellow card, the more choices and fun people will have when adding those elements to the theme cards.  
  3. For the Blue Pattern cards, I like to look through coloring books, doodling books, or other drawing books to start. Patterns can also come from looking at the texture of things -- furry, jagged, wavy -- or from nature. Tree rings make a pattern, as do ants in a line or the segments of a grapefruit. Sometimes images and shapes can be turned into a pattern just by repeating them. You can also combine the existing patterns to create new ones. I look for patterns that are simple and fun to draw and that could help participants create movement in their drawing. Again, you don’t need complicated patterns. Ask yourself, “Will these patterns create movement and flow for the drawing?” “Does this pattern add another layer of meaning to the drawing?”

         It sounds simple, right? Sometimes it is; sometimes images seem to just appear on the paper. Other times, I have to struggle to finish. But I just keep drawing. I’d like to invite you to my training workshop where you can learn more in-depth about Draw All You Can. Check out when the next training session begins.