Story Spheres are a mindful drawing intervention, designed to teach mindfulness,
engage creative aptitude and reduce anxiety. All SketchBetter students learn this technique.
Invented by Kate Andrews, Story Spheres’, is an independent activity involving drawing and sharing one’s present moment feelings. The principle aim of the Story Spheres intervention is to offer a creative opportunity to connect with the present moment – to become aware of current feelings – essentially to be mindful. Shapiro and Carlson (2009) explain, “Knowing your emotional state in the moment – joy, sadness, fear – is mindfulness.”
Story Spheres begin with a 10cm circle, which the artist uses as a prompt to draw patterns, shapes or illustrations to capture ones present moment emotion(s). How are you feeling in this moment? What colour is the feeling? What shape? With a nod to Indian Mandalas (a spiritual symbol representing the universe) and Zentangles (drawing of repeat patterns), the circular prompt allows individuals to focus on the moment and visualise their feelings.
How to Draw a Story Sphere
Draw a circle in pencil, 10cm in diameter, on a white piece of card or paper, or download a Story Sphere Template [PDF].
Consider what’s going on in your life right now and how you are feeling. Mindfully draw patterns or shapes in, and/or, around your circle to capture and tell your story. Adults are best to use a black fine liner, whilst children can use coloured felt tip pens.
Give the piece a title and date it.
Write a short description about what you are feeling, and why. Be authentic and honest (50 words max). For children, complete the sentence; "I am feeling..., because...."
Look at how your drawing captures your feeling. Consider what you would like to, or need, to do with the feeling; Is it a feeling to celebrate? Or perhaps you might benefit from speaking to someone about your feelings?
If you would like to share your Story Sphere with us, email us at , or share your drawing on social media using the hashtag #storyspheres and to @SketchBetter.
“The circle always points to the single most vital aspect of life – its ultimate wholeness.” Carl Jung
"Past, present, future" by workshop participant.
'Avoidance' by Kate Andrews
'Chaos becomes calm', by Joanna Scott
Children from the age of 5 can easily draw a Story Sphere.
Here's some wonderful examples of how some of the kids we've
worked with captured their feelings.
Through SketchBetter classes, workshops and online submissions
we've taught 1000s of people to use Story Spheres methodology to
acknowledge and visualise emotions.
Kate continues to use Story Spheres and the art of sketching better
to look after her own mental health. Here are the latest Story Spheres from Kate,
adding to a collection of over 300 since 2015.
“Mindfulness is more akin to an art form that one develops over time, and it is greatly enhanced through regular disciplined practice, both formally and informally on a daily basis.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
Eisenberg, N., Valiente, C., Morris, A. S., Fabes, R. A., Cumberland, A., Reiser, M., Losoya, S. (2003). Longitudinal relations among parental emotional expressivity, children's regulation, and quality of socioemotional functioning. Developmental Psychology, 39(1), 3-19.
Shapiro, L. S. & Carlson, L., E. (2009). The Art and Science of Mindfulness: Integrating Mindfulness into Psychology and the Helping Professions. Washington: American Psychological Association.