“Do you think you can draw?” “No, I can’t draw.” You can draw when you don’t think you can. Really you can. Drawing takes learning how to see. Learning how to see what is in front of you and drawing it.
I am not sure when you started to believe you can’t draw. Maybe it was in grade school when your teacher said, “You can’t draw.” Or maybe it was when your drawing didn’t come out the way you wanted it to. Or maybe you stopped believing you could draw when you compared yourself to someone else.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
― Pablo Picasso
It is hard to feel confident about your ability to draw when you are in a grade school classroom, and everyone’s art is put on display and graded. Your teacher might have made a comment about your friends drawing, “This is brilliant,” and not said anything about your drawing. You might even be tempted to imitate the style of drawing that your teacher praised.
You might have forgotten how to use your imagination; you might have stopped observing and practicing because of self-doubt.
However, you are never too old to learn how to draw.
Drawing is a learned skill
A drawing does not have to look exactly like the object you are drawing. Art is not meant to copy life, but to interpret it.
A drawing may look exactly like the object; the drawing might look so real it looks like a photograph of the object. Or the drawing might be abstract, not look like a photograph, and be an interpretation of the object.
Both drawings are drawings. Both people can draw.Art is not meant to copy life, but to interpret it. Click To Tweet
Draw every day
The more you draw, the more time you spend observing, your drawings will change as your eye coordinates with your hand.
Before you buy your supplies, before you draw your first drawing, I want you to think about who you are. I want you to give yourself permission to learn and to give yourself grace when your drawing might not look the way you imagined it would.
This is a drawing from my third-grade paper when I was eight. My teacher gave me a 25/25 and said, “Good.”
(p.s. I went by Pam in tenth grade, now my friends
call me Pamela)
Essential art supplies
You only need two items to draw.
Something to make a mark with.
Something to make a mark on.
You can draw on the sidewalk with chalk, on the back of an envelope with a crayon, or the standard, 2HB Ticonderoga pencil on a single sheet of 8.5×11 paper.
Frequently asked questions
1. Does my pencil have to be sharp? No, your pencil doesn’t have to be sharp to draw. You can sharpen your pencil if you want to, but you don’t have to.
2. Do you need an erasure? You can draw without an erasure, but having one is helpful to add highlights or take away lines you don’t need anymore.
An erasure is not to correct “mistakes”; as in erasing a line that is “wrong.” There are no wrong lines. Lines can be adjusted with an erasure, and an erasure can add highlights to a drawing by taking off graphite in certain areas of the drawing.
1.Sketchbook, 65 lb paper
2. Stick of graphite
3. Erasure – gum, kneaded and vinyl
A sketchbook. You can draw on single sheets of paper, but having a sketchbook is helpful to keep all your drawings in one place, and it gives a solid hard surface to draw on.
Find a size of a sketchbook that is convenient to carry with you. Too big, and you might not want to fit in your bag. You can get spiral bound, or cloth bound. Buy a sketchbook that is not so pretty you hesitate to make a mark in it.
Paper has different thicknesses, I suggest a sketchbook with paper that is 65 pounds. Thicker paper is more expensive, and you want to be able to experiment and learn without worrying about how much you spent on each piece of paper. Sketchbooks for dry media, and not a watercolor sketchbook. (Tip: The higher the number the thicker the paper.)
A stick of graphite, which is the same material as the lead in a pencil. You can use a standard 2HB Ticonderoga pencil as well, but I want you to get away from the”my pencil must be sharp” way of thinking about drawing. You can use the side of a stick of graphite as well and not just the tip of it.
There are several kinds of erasures. A gum erasure, a kneaded erasure, and a vinyl erasure. I suggest you buy these three and use all of them. Experiment with them, and see which one you like best.
Find a simple object you want to draw, and draw the same object every day for a week. I suggest a coffee mug.
Draw it with thick fat lines, with skinny lines, make bold marks, draw fast and draw slow.
Draw the same object in different places and lighting situations: in front of a window or under a desk lamp.
Draw the object from different viewpoints or perspectives: place the object on the floor and draw it looking down at it. Place the mug on a shelf above you and draw it from that angle.
Draw the object huge on the page, and draw it small.
Draw the same object every day for a week.
How do you draw when you don’t think you can? You start believing and you start drawing.
I believe in you.
Believe in yourself and draw.
Do you think you can draw?
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Create the art you have dreamed about. Let me encourage you with my weekly articles on art and creativity. I would love to welcome you to a community of artists.
p.s. Tribe Writers, the on-line writing course by Jeff Goins is open this week for registration. Click here to find out more.
p.s.s I am an affiliate for the Tribe Writer course. I wouldn’t recommend anything I don’t love and think is amazing. I was in the first class.