Why You Can't Draw & What To Do About It
Have you ever thought to yourself "I can't draw" or "I'm not good at drawing"? And have you ever wondered why that is? If you are like most people there are some common reasons why that is the case. And the good news is there are simple steps you can take to do something about it.
By the way don't feel bad. On a regular basis we see some very accomplished students in painting (and dare I say some professional artists) struggle with the notion that they cannot draw or draw well. This mindset often constrains them in achieving more in their broader of artistic achievements than what they could otherwise accomplish.
There are no magic wands here but it all boils down to mindset, knowledge and practice ...
The first reason you can't draw is the mindset that you THINK you can't draw. Don't worry, this article is not going to be a Dr. Phil therpay session seeking some past childhood trauma that stopped you from developing your drawing skills.
Of course you can draw and everyone has the ability to draw. Just like playing a musical instrument, or learning how to swim, or ride a bike, drawing is a skill that can be taught and learnt.
The second reason is that you have never been taught how to see and draw properly. In the traditional schooling system skill at drawing has never been important. During your years at school how much time was spent time on developing drawing skills and technique? How much guidance was given to concepts like proportion, perspective and foreshortening, tone?
Lastly, even if you understand the principles and techniques, you need to invest some time developing your skills. Of course if you weren't taught how to draw properly in the first place chances are you would quickly lose interest if your attempts at drawing did not show progress. Or worse still bad habits would reinfoce themselves if you did not receive active feedback on what you were doing well and how to do things better.
So what to do about it?
The first thing you need to do is get some knowledge on the process of drawing. There are many books out there that provide a good starting point. (One of the better ones is "How to Draw What You See" by Rudy de Reyna.)
Take some time practicing. The good thing about drawing is that you need very little equipment. A pencil and some paper and your good to go! You might want to invest in a small sketchbook or visual diary as a place to keep a record of your improvement. And if you put your mind to it there are plenty of opportunities to practice during the day. Try to schedule just 15 or 20 minutes a few times a week - you will find that it gives your brain a relaxing break.
If you want to fast track your development consider enrolling in a class. This gives you an environment where a tutor can observe your techique, give you competent instruction, and show you first hand how to improve. Also a class can give you the opportunity to explore other mediums like charcoal, ink and pastels that can give your drawings an "artist" like quality that can be difficult to achieve with pencil.
So remember you can draw. It just takes a little adjustment to your mindset, gaining some knowledge, and like any other skill - some practice.