Arts For Health

Phill Evans

Extreme Doodling, The Genesis...

In 2002 I was happily trudging along as a psychiatric nurse working

with street homeless people when I suddenly developed a bad

case of Multiple Sclerosis. Shortly after (and with indecent haste

in my opinion) the NHS retired me and I was left out on a limb.

Being suddenly impoverished my family and I were uprooted from

insanely expensive Oxford to merely expensive Shropshire. After

a couple of years composting and grieving for my career I pulled

myself together and went about retraining as an illustrator (which

is what I wanted to do in the first place, long story...), finally

graduating in 2008 and working as a freelance illustrator, teacher

and general creative for hire ever since. Apart from a couple of

glitches and a tory government I now seem to have more silver

lining than cloud.

One of the glitches of MS which directly affect my work is that

very often my hands will feel as if they are encased in gloves

which are WAY too tight, making me stiff and fumble fingered.

Not good when one is trying to draw! I developed a simple style

of doodling as an exercise which helps me to limber up my hands

before I start my “serious” work. It lets me start slowly and

deliberately to begin mark making and, placebo or not, it doesn't

take long for me to feel less like I am drawing with my elbows.

Over the years I have often been asked when I am going to colour

them in (I would rather stick pins in my eyes!!) and I have often

been told that they would make a good colouring exercise.

Interesting, the colouring advocates have always been women of

a certain age. I am making no conclusions from this, merely an

observation. However, in a recent article in the Telegraph1

seems that French women are using colouring in as a short-cut to

the zen like calm which most people find who draw or paint.

It has taken me three long years (even longer story...) but I have

finally produced a self published book of my Extreme Doodles2

to cater for this apparent interest. If you are a volunteer in the

VAN gallery in the Market Hall, there are copies on sale and also

a copy for volunteers to colour in in quiet moments :)

Extreme Doodling relies on a series of simple tricks

to develop a texturally complex image. Extreme Colouring, on

the other hand, is an application of patience and observation and

psychomotor skill of which I am completely incapable and I wish

all such colourists the best of luck, they have my absolute regard!

Phill shares his technique - click here




Available on Demand

The use of art for holistic healing is an ages old practice.

Sessions are tailored for individuals, small groups, large group and community wide work.

VAN members offer a wide variety of approaches 'Arts For Health'.

Members are encouraged to update their practices by emailing details to

VAN is forging links with The South Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS FoundationTrust and The Shropshire Carers Association.

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