When I was a kid, I was always drawing or coloring in those cheap yellow-paged, blue-lined notebooks. Surprisingly, there wasn’t anyone in my family that was particularly artistic that could teach me techniques or give me advice, so I learned by drawing what was in front of me. It was the perfect way for me to learn and it became somewhat of an addiction. Now, I realize that not everyone thinks they have the ability draw, and maybe you think I’m naive for thinking anybody can. But drawing is just like singing, or dancing, or cooking, you get better if you work at it. I continued to sketch because I had the motivation to get it right, but the lessons I’ve learned along the way have been amazing.
You learn so much from drawing
Ask anyone who knows me… I am SO impatient. It’s amazing that I can sit still long enough to draw something for an hour. Believe it or not, I used to be a lot worse in the patience department. My dad always told me “patience is a virtue”, at least once a day. He still reminds me of it sometimes. But it’s true. And drawing anything for any amount of time makes you realize that you will eventually get it right. It just takes time.
Every artist develops a new level of dedication through their work. There’s always motivation to learn to draw what I can’t draw, and the dedication that evolves carries over into other aspects of life.
One of my favorite lessons learned from drawing is understanding reality. You start developing a greater awareness of what is going on around you, how things really look, and how they behave. The best advice ever given to me on the subject was from my junior high art teacher. He said “draw what you see, not what you know”. That sounds pretty obvious, but when you start drawing something that you’re familiar with, like your best friend or your dog, then you think you know what it looks like. So you just draw and you don’t really look at your subject. But when you take a good look at your work in comparison to your subject, you realize that you brain just starts to fill in the details and they usually aren’t accurate.
When I have bad days I doodle in my sketchbook because it helps to ground me. It sounds silly because, when I doodle, I draw abstract lines and unworldly things, but those oddities get all of that emotion out and always brings me back to reality.
When you draw what’s in front of you, whether it be a person, a pet, or nature, it gives you a greater appreciation of your subject and the evolution of your skills. When you observe your subject, it makes you appreciate every line, the way the colors blend, the way the light hits the surface… everything. You start to recognize the beauty in the world. Then, when you look back at your work, even over the course of a few days, and you see the improvement in your skill, you can’t help but smile.
Your turn to draw
So, even if you don’t draw, and don’t think you can, give it a shot. Set a small goal to draw in the evening for 15 minutes every Tuesday, or when you’ve had a bad day. You might surprise yourself.
Here’s some inspiration to get you started:
Michelle Curiel: An artist who uses bright colors in all of her drawings. Her style is feminine and unique. She’s the ultimate doodler. Moleskin sketchbook artists: A compilation of some really awesome sketches and artists I found while searching #moleskin on Twitter. Twisted tree sketch: One of my many sketchbook views. Charlie Layton: This guy draws on his freezer instead of in a sketchbook.