The 60s were a wild, carefree time. Some iconic pieces of art came out of this era, as did the misconception that to create crazy, “trippy” drawings and paintings, you need to be high.
Beginning artists sometimes fall down this rabbit hole as far as drugs and art are concerned. Writers have a similar perception too: the best creations happen when an artist is under the influence, right?
Wrong! In fact, the art you create when drunk or high is far
from your best work. Plus, you’re hurting your most important artistic tools:
your mind and body.
If you’re looking for that spontaneous style of art made when people were tripping on drugs, you don’t need to dope up or get drunk: you just need your creativity and sense of fun!
Simple trippy drawings come from a magical, zany place within all of us. Your goal is to tap into that spontaneity without illicit substances. You’ll be more proud of the work you create, you’ll actually remember creating it, and your body will thank you for treating it right!
Trippy art can skew down the Jackson Pollock route. The magic of trippy art is
that it seemingly has no rhyme or reason. So, grab some neon paint, a
toothbrush, and get to work!
A toothbrush is a great tool for making splatter paintings. By running your finger across the bristles, you send paint flying willy-nilly at the canvas.
For a level-up of trippiness, connect the dots once the splatter dries. Use a pen, pencil, or even a colorful sharpie to find images within your splattered work. This blends the complete chaos of splatter painting with a more refined drawing approach.
With a Twist
Have you ever seen a Lazy Susan? It’s a small tabletop that goes at the center
of a dining table and spins. It makes it so that everyone around the table can
reach things by spinning the wheel.
For this trippy art experiment, you’re going to need a Lazy Susan! Lay your canvas on a spinning surface and work from above, spinning the table with one hand and drizzling paint with the other! You could also use a pen and hold it on the surface of the paper, kind of like the needle of a record player.
If you’ve ever seen the movie The Princess Diaries, you know this fun, trippy art technique: fill some balloons with various colors of paint, tape them to a blank canvas, and then play darts! Not only do you get to showcase some athletic prowess, but you can even do this activity with a friend. The results are fun, unexpected, and can be used either as a standalone piece or the background for a more developed drawing.
It’s tricky to do your hair, shave your beard, or even wiggle a finger when
looking in the mirror, right? Mirrors just trip our brains up, so it makes sense
that they could help make our art trippy.
Set up a work station so that you’re looking at your paper through a mirror rather than at it directly. Now, create!
The mirror will keep your lines wobbly, your intended shapes backwards, and provide an overall confusion to your creation.
An added benefit of this way of making trippy art is that it actually does the opposite for your brain that drugs and alcohol would! The mental energy required to create mirrored art is a great brain-strengthening pastime.
Merry Go Round
The movement in this one isn’t for the canvas: it’s for you!
If you’re really set on having a bit of a trip to create your trippy art, why not use what nature gave you? You can make yourself feel wibbly, tipsy, and a little bit dizzy by spinning in circles! However you want to do it, please make sure you have a safe environment to spin in. Don’t go smacking into a wall or a bookshelf!
Once you’re having trouble staying on your feet, it’s time to create some art. It doesn’t matter what you do; anything you try to draw or paint will come out a little bit funny and trippy courtesy of you out-of-whack equilibrium.
This last way to achieve a state to help you create simple trippy drawings is
one that shouldn’t be used too often. Insomnia is a serious, detrimental health
condition, and if you’re missing several nights of sleep a week, you should see
However! If you have a healthy sleep cycle, taking one night out away from rest when you know you don’t have any plans the next day is an easy, fun way to make some art. Simply stay up, and when you can feel yourself waning, stay up some more. Drink caffeine, do some jumping jacks, and as soon as the sun starts to rise, it’s time to make some art.
By staying up until you’re exhausted, you remove your brain’s ability to critique your work. Sometimes that’s all we really need as artists to unleash our wacky, trippy sides. The inner critic wants us to create our Best Works, but sometimes all we really need is to create. So, shut off that voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough and just have fun!
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