The Ambidextrous Artist - an interview with Colin Darke - April 25, 2022
Colin Darke is an American artist who has gained international recognition for his rare ability to draw beautiful, intricate drawings with both hands simultaneously. He has been featured on Good Morning America and Ripley’s Believe it Or Not, as well as having numerous articles written about his process. To be ambidextrous means you can write or draw with either hand as your dominant hand - only about 1% of the population are naturally ambidextrous. He also has the rarer ability to draw separate images at the same time.
Q: How did you learn to draw with both hands at the same time?
Colin: “I’ve always been able to write with both hands, and often when my right hand got tired I just switched to my left hand. I did not really think anything of it, but in late 2019 I thought it would be fun to start posting videos of my ambidextrous drawings. The positive feedback I received really inspired me to create more and to share more. In particular, I loved hearing from people that they found my art process calming – my art process has always been calming for me, so the fact it had this impact on others added a sense of service that I leaned in on.”
Q: How has your art practice helped you in other areas of your life?
Colin: “My art practice always feeds into my family life and my work life. And a lot of that is because I make a conscious effort to slow down and honor my creative spirit and pause. We often focus on the rush of the day, which means that we can easily get extremely busy with all the demands of life. When we are extremely busy, we can lose ourselves.
So if you create a hobby or you foster your passion it helps with everything else because it’s honoring the uniqueness of you. This allows you to purposefully “show-up” to your life how you want to show-up, versus just going through the motions – you need a habit to slow yourself down.
Also, I do a lot of executive coaching, and I was surprised to find-out how universally important it is to foster a creative habit. That habit can be writing poetry, painting, or simply listening to music. When leaders fostered an activity that was not directly tied to their jobs, they were able to be more effective at their jobs and avoid burnout.”
Q: What would you recommend to someone who thinks that they’re not creative but they would like to try making art?
Colin: “I would say that everybody is creative and everybody was born creative. When everybody was young, they loved playing with crayons and creating something out of nothing just for the sake of creating. This is something that self-doubt and our negativity bias sometimes hinders, so the more you get out of your own head and just create something even if it’s not to share, for example if you write a poem and then you is rip it up after you write it, that’s exercising your creativity muscle. The more you do it the more creative you’re going to be and the more you’re going to bring that creativity to every aspect of your life.
In order to start, I would say for one if you don’t think you’re creative the first thing to do is give yourself some positive feedback and some nice self-talk because no one has lived your unique life and gone through the unique things you have up to this point. And as you go forward with life any story that you tell is going to be fueled by your life experience and that includes just painting and drawing and coloring.
At the base level you can just start coloring normal coloring sheets but it’s the color choice and the effort that you put into it that makes it unique. Then if you start doing that for even 10 minutes a day you’ll find other ways to be creative. You might take pictures of your surroundings, of things that you find interesting, then maybe you will try to sketch those photos out. Also, trying different mediums - sometimes mediums will be too awkward and you don’t feel like you can express yourself but other times the medium will intrigue you and feel like a vehicle where you can express yourself.
Then if you have any inkling like that you just start leaning on that and then the more you create the more you will create and the more you’ll be inspired to create and the more creativity will come out of you.”
- Play with different art materials to find out what you like working with.
- Try writing with your non-dominant hand
- Try scribbling with both hands at the same time
The C.A.R.E. Program team would love to connect with you!
Ambidextrous artist wows TikTok with his unique skill - https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/living/video/ambidextrous-artist-wows-tiktok-unique-skill-80823235
Ambidextrous artist helps Detroit nonprofit - https://www.candgnews.com/news/ambidextrous-artist-helps-detroit-nonprofit-120699