Walking is Fun!

Some people believe that walking helps us think better because the mind works at roughly the same speed as our feet move when they walk at a normal pace. Perhaps during this year you’ve been going on more walks than usual, but have you really been paying attention to your surroundings or are you maybe looking at your phone most of the time? Have you found new routes around where you live that you didn’t know before? What about features in buildings or trees that you hadn’t noticed before? Maybe going on a walk has sparked new ideas for you!

Try to go out on a walk with your eyes and ears open. As you walk, don’t rush the experience. Remember that moving from one point to the other is as important as arriving. Being an explorer requieres open eyes and an inquisitive mind. Take your time to look at what’s around you, be curious, ask questions, and be imaginative. These are just guidelines — THERE ARE NO RULES.

◉ OPEN YOUR EYES — Pay special attention to the buildings you walk past; avoid looking at window shops and try to look up. Observe people’s expressions. Do they look happy?

◉ MAKE AN EFFORT TO LISTEN — Make a stop (or several ones in different spots!) and try to shut down your senses – close your eyes if possible. Focus only in what you hear and try to separate different sounds. How does the space change when you concentrate on listening to it? Aim for at least two minutes of intense listening.

◉ ASK QUESTIONS & COMPARE — Focus on the space you’re experiencing and try to ask questions about the way it’s built, the transformations it has gone through, the people that converge in it. How does a space make you feel? Compare different spaces and the way you experience them.

If you live in Leeds, here’s a playful guide of the City Centre that might help you wander through it and discover new things that you didn’t know



Feeling Grounded

Collect at least 3 examples of the ground. This can be in any way you like. You could:

❋ take photographs of the ground underneath your feet, whether carpet or kitchen tiles, grass or mud

❋ keep rubbings of different earth colours in a sketchbook, from woods or puddles or fields

❋ take a small sample or object from different types of ground underneath you (pebbles / soil / stones / etc)

❋ write a few key words to describe each surface- etc!

What are the similarities/differences between the types of ground you observe? Do they feel different underfoot? Are there any that feel more or less alive? Why do you think this is?

Take your soil explorations further!



Musical Birds

Go outside and find a place where you can hear birds, even if it’s just a flock of pigeons or some noisy crows. Listen to the sound they make and let your ears focus in on one particular bird’s call or song. When this bird calls or sings, make a movement in response. When the bird is quiet, be still. When the bird calls or sings again, make a movement again.

How does your body respond to the sound? Do you repeat the same movement or does it change? If you’re doing this with friends, did you choose the same sound or different ones? Why?

Here’s some bird-inspired music, in case you prefer to do it indoors/in privacy!



Sniff Sniff

Have you noticed how dogs love to sniff everything? That is because they perceive the world through their noses! My dog once told me that he can sniff clues in the wind and these clues bring memories from other animals and they also tell him what’s coming next. Let’s pretend we’re dogs and try to decipher the clues in the wind!

On a nice day, sit or lay outside in your garden, a park or the forest. If there’s a dog in your family, maybe they can guide you to the best spot. Once you’re there, close your eyes and try to focus on what your nose is perceiving. Maybe they’re smells, maybe they’re sensations like dampness, dryness, warmth, cold… Don’t worry too much about trying to figure out what it is you’re smelling, just focus on the sensations and the memories they bring.

When you’re done sniffing, you can stay where you are or go back inside and remember those sensations and memories. Can you draw them? Maybe you prefer to write them down. What kind of feelings did they bring up? Bring to mind your favourite smell(s), how does it/they make you feel?




Anthotypes are a fun way to play with colour, plants and sunlight!

All you need is:

☼ Your choice of: berries, beets, black beans or red cabbage

☼ Watercolour paper or some other kind of thick, absorbent paper

☼ Brushes, paint rollers, sponges or some sort of contraption to spread paint

☼ Shapes! You can cut them out of paper, card, or you can use dried leaves, perhaps?

☼ Sellotape or masking tape

1. To make your anthotype, chop your berries, beets or red cabbage and leave them in a jar or container to soak overnight. If you’re using black beans, you don’t need to chop, just let them soak overnight in just enough water to cover them.

2. The next day, check out the colour of the water in your jar/container. Has it changed? You can also put your berries, beets or red cabbage and coloured water in the blender to make a sort of juice. Strain. For the black beans, don’t blend, just strain them and your beans are now ready to be cooked! Keep the coloured water, you’ll use it like paint.

3. For extra colourful fun, you can split your colour juice into three jars and mix in a pinch of baking soda in the first one. Add a splash or vinegar to the second one and leave the third one as is. Do you see the colours changing?

4. Dip your painting materials in your colourful water and paint away, trying to cover as much of your watercolour paper as possible. Get creative! Build up layers of colour as it dries to make it darker.

5. Leave to dry and watch the colours change!

6. Now, place your shapes on top of your painted watercolour paper and secure in place as best you can.

7. Place your anthotype-to-be in a very sunny window and leave it there for a few days until you see the exposed bits have faded.

8. The sun will make the paint fade in the places where it’s not covered by shapes and only the shapes will remain. It’s like taking a photo, but way more fun!

✧ Anthotypes are made possible thanks to anthocyanins in plants such as berries, beets, black beans or red cabbage. But what are anthocyanins?



Spontaneous Ink

What colours can you find in your environment? Go and see…

Can you find any colour that is transferable? Look for something that you might be able to use to make marks and colour on paper.

Could you rub petals on a page and leave a mark? What about tea or coffee? Are there any vegetables that leave a stain?

Fill a blank page with spontaneous ink marks, taken from your environment.

Which colours do you like most and why?

Learn more about the history of dyes and pigments!

More ink-making inspiration:



Memory Drawing

Go for a walk – it can be inside, outside, long or short. Pay attention to your surroundings and look out for something that catches your eye. It might be a plant, a tree, a piece of rubbish, an object, anything. Stop and look at it for a few minutes, taking in all its details. Continue your walk.

When you get home, find some drawing materials and sit down. Close your eyes and call to mind what you looked at. Now draw whatever comes to you. Give it a title and put it somewhere you can look at it over the coming days. 

Why do you think that particular thing spoke to you?

What do you think/feel when you look at your drawing?