Friday, January 27, 2012

Don't give up! Draw!

The main reason artists get good at making art is that they keep doing it. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is and it isn't. Staying in shape is simple too - just work out and eat right every day and in time you'll be in amazing shape! We know how that usually turns out.

As very young children we spend inordinate amounts of time listening, speaking, making pictures, singing and dancing. In preschool we still make pictures a lot, and start to focus more on words. By the time kids hit fourth grade or so they're spending most of their formal education time (maybe half their day) reading, speaking and formally working on language skills, plus math, and maybe an hour or less a week making pictures. Eventually the so-called "academic" subjects entirely eclipse picture-making for most people. The average person draws at a fourth grade level, but communicates fluently verbally.  Having fluid verbal skills doesn't make you Robert Frost or J.R.R. Tolkien - but it certainly gives you the necessary toolkit.

It would be ridiculous to think that the majority of people (let's say everyone) can't learn to read and write -  but this is what many people think about the ability to draw well and make pictures. We really take for granted the massive amounts of time we spend learning to do other things - well, learning to make pictures takes a lot of work too.  The good news is, YOU CAN DO IT. I don't know who you are, but if you've learned to read this, then you can learn to draw as well as anyone else.

I can't say what your ART will be like - that's something else - but I can promise that you can learn to draw as well as you want to.

Imagine if all those hours reading and writing had been spent seeing and drawing. This is not a pitch to transform our education system (I've tried), but simply to convince you that competent picture making is not reserved for the few who are gifted - and its usefulness is not reserved for art-making alone. It is reserved for a select few, though, namely those who have enough self-motivation and perseverance to stick with it. You have to try really hard to learn to draw (you'd have to try really hard NOT to learn how to read).

I say "learning" but really acquiring drawing skills is more like TRAINING.  The great thing about great pictures are they look easy, inevitable. The "secret" is there is an immeasurable amount of effort and sometimes struggle to train yourself to make them look that way.

No comments:

Post a Comment