So you want to draw but think you can’t…
I have often heard people comment that they wished they could draw, or paint, or whatever, and then follow that up with the statement that they know they can’t. Well guess what? Neither can I. I have no innate ability or skill for drawing, but what I do have is the desire to draw and the ability to not let the fact that I’m not particularly gifted get in the way. You may have to accept that you’ll never be as good as Turner, Leonardo, or Picasso but so what – the pleasure you will get from creating something that did not exist until you started it is immeasurable.
The trick is to do it for pleasure and not what you hope the end result will be. Try not to have a too distinctly defined idea of what it is you’re aiming for. It’s the process that’s fun, not the looking at the picture once it’s finished. Though that’s not to imply that you wont get great pleasure from seeing what you’ve created.
At best I have a slightly above average hand / eye coordination but that is not essential either. If you can feed yourself with a spoon you can draw. And the simple truth is that the more you draw the better you will get, and it is always surprising the speed at which we improve in anything we do so long as we make a commitment to it no matter how small that commitment. Ten minutes practice every day is infinitely more beneficial than an hour’s practice once a week! And no matter how little skill you start off with (including no skill at all) if you stick at it you will end up producing work that you are both pleased with and happy to show to others. You may even end up selling some of your work because those people that have never made the commitment of learning this particular skill will often admire what you’ve produce, even though you’ll be aware of all it’s flaws.
Tip one is to not try and be different, or unique, or special. You are all those things and you couldn’t not be those things even if you tried. The less you try to be original the more original you will be. Try not to be precious about your work, especially your first attempts – accept that you’re probably not going to be happy with them and move on; You’ll soon find yourself getting engrossed in the process when you least expect it.
After that it’s all up to you and how much time you want to give it. There is no substitute for putting in the hours. Practice makes perfect as they say, and it really does too, as in all things. Practice is more rewarding than any amount of innate talent.
Tip two is more of a rule than a tip, and that is: Don’t spend ages trying to think of what to draw; If it is not immediately apparent what it is you want to draw just draw. Draw the first thing that comes into your head, or the first thing you see in front of you, or even just let your hand move across the surface and see what it leads to – it will almost certainly lead to something if you just relax and don’t worry or panic. And don’t ever stare at a blank page wondering what to fill it with – that could go on for hours! Making a few random marks is a tried and trusted method of getting yourself started.
Good luck and most of all… Enjoy!