A couple days ago, my aunt was looking at my work and she said that she can’t draw like that, but she wants to. Now aunts come in all shapes, sizes, and wills. This aunt is artistic, independent, hilarious, well traveled, forthright and retired. She wants to spend a whole year traveling Europe and she’ll do it. I could not understand what was standing in her way.
I hear it all the time, “I can’t draw.” It is something adults will often say when they mean “I can’t draw like that and I don’t care if I ever learn.” That’s cool. We can’t all do everything. We certainly can’t do everything all the time. However, some of you actually mean “I want to draw, but I don’t feel like I have the capacity or talent to be able to.”
I believe that you just need to start practicing. It takes time and my own artistic path is in its infancy. So if you always wanted to draw/paint/write/whatever here is the advice I give:
1. Pick one thing to do over and over. I kept drawing bunnies for several months and you know what? I got better. My bunnies started to look less stupid. They took on little personalities and they made me laugh. I didn’t have to waste time deciding what to draw. I just did it and with limited time in the evenings I was still able to make headway. Liz Steel warms up by drawing her coffee and tea. What would you draw every day?
2. Don’t get hung up on the materials. One day I’ll take my own advice. Use what you have. You don’t need the perfect art supplies. In fact less is probably better.
3. Share with others. You are going to need encouragement and advice. My husband will look at my stuff, but the 6 year old will give me more feedback. I enjoy the network of Urban Sketchers around the world. Also participating in a class will give you the support you need too. There is always social media.
4. Try to listen to only one voice at a time. I am always checking out 3 cookbooks at a time or 3 how-to-draw books at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Pick one teacher or one guidebook to start with. When you’re done with that then look for a new perspective. Remember that this is supposed to be fun. Actually practicing the art is more important that learning from a book how to do it the “right” way.
5. What went well? This is a great phrase to ingrain in your thoughts. Always look for the things you like about your work. Don't dwell on all the things you did wrong.
I’ve got below 131 bunnies I drew and characterized before I started on the bunny clipart I made this spring. I had a blast and it was a great way to spend my winter. My family, while supportive, weren't quite sure why I was just painting another bunny.
I think #4 applies to about any endeavor. I have just started thinking about this with regards to teaching our little homeschool. I've been trying to focus on one (new) thing at a time instead of trying to add everything I think is useful. I've just now (yes, it took me to the age of 45) realized that I cannot possibly read every book I want to in my life. But I can't let the reality of missing some discourage me from missing all. I'm not explaining well, but I completely agree with #4.
Jody you are so right! It is so challenging to turn down the "noise" in your life. If life were a cake, I would do better to take nice small bites and consider the interesting flavors. The reality is that I gobble down half a piece at a time and realize after the fact that I shouldn't have done that because now I don't feel good.
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