Not My Kind of Pie

The exercise read: “Draw a pie chart of your resilience.”

In retrospect, I’m thinking; maybe I misunderstood it. Perhaps I didn’t need to go that far.

But I had a hard time starting at “resilience,” so I went the other way around, and dove into my memories, looking for the hardships of my past.

The gnarly cuts didn’t show immediately. And I doubted if I’d be better off once they did.

Nonetheless, I was committed to finding out what my resilience was made of, and so I sat, and waited, and let it all come up.

Some of the struggles turned out to be trivial, not worthy of the thinnest slice. Other pains could take up an entire chart. Some made it into the pie below, but the real hurt, I kept out.

The most painful moments in our lives often involve other people. And how we choose to tell these stories can end up hurting us more than the initial ache.

Sometimes we don’t have the right words. Sometimes those words never come. But I respect that.

Vulnerability is not something to be exploited–on the page or off it.

I cringe when it ends up in my lap unrefined, turned into ordinary self-victimization. Or, used to tell one side of a story, laced with blame.

This just tells me that, yes, you’ve been there, but you’re also still surviving.

That doesn’t make me feel less alone. And that’s not what I want for us.

I want you to smile when you read my chart.

That’s where we’ll meet, on the edge of a smile, where the lightness overshadows the dark.

With tears in your eyes, if you want.

A pie chart of my resilience

I created this pie chart for Mari Andrew’s Skillshare class “Drawing as Self Discovery.”

Tools & Tips

🔧 Tools used: iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, Coolors (for creating color schemes), and Procreate

🖌 Procreate brushes used: I picked the “Fine Tip” (Brushes > Inking > Fine Tip) and the “Water Brush” (Brushes > Painting > Water Brush) to mimic the materials that Mari Andrew uses (scroll down to “resources”) for her drawings.

💡 Tip: If you struggle to write straight on blank backgrounds, as I do, you may want to create a grid layer to help yourself from wobbling all over the canvas. Here’s how to do that in Procreate:

  • Create a new layer (on top of the background layer)
  • Go to Brushes > Textures > Grid
  • Set your brush size (I set mine to 40%)
  • Swipe your pen or finger without lifting it over the entire canvas (this is easier to do if you resize your canvas temporarily–just pinch it in with two fingers)
  • Finally, set the opacity of the grid layer super low (this way the grid lines won’t bother you while you work on the rest of your drawing)