These are my top ten drawing assumptions that can hinder your ability to want to learn to draw!
“You use a glass mirror to see your face. You use works of art to see your soul.” – George Bernard Shaw
It amazes me how our assumptions shape our creative success.
It also challenges me at the same time too. There are hundreds of people who cannot and do not realise their creative potential because they labour beneath a set of common assumptions when it comes to getting creative.
If this is you please stop, hold up that proverbially glass mirror George Bernard Shaw speaks about, and ask yourself….
If I challenged my misconceptions what could I create as a result?
It was this question back in 2019 as I sat scribbling at a kitchen table and loving it, that prompted me to get curious about the misconstrued assumptions that I had carried up until my 40s about drawing and being creative.
More importantly…how do you seek to overcome these pesky mindset invaders? After all assumptions are not a qualified truth whatsoever!
If drawing is a beautiful form of expression that has captivated humans for centuries, has allowed us to communicate ideas, emotions, and visions through the strokes of a pencil or brush, why do we allow several assumptions to hinder our progress and discourage us from pursuing this creative endeavour?
So here goes!
Which ones can you relate to?
- “You must be born with artistic talent”
Contrary to popular belief, artistic talent is not solely determined by genetics. While some individuals may have a natural inclination towards art, drawing is a skill that can be learned and improved upon through practice and dedication. Research has shown that talent is not the greatest qualifier for success. In her book on “Grit: Why Passion and resilience are the secrets to success,” Duckworth has researched people who have tenaciously stuck to, persevered and kept going in comparison to those naturally gifted. It is this notion of grit and determination that outstrips talent any day of the week! How much grit and perseverance are you willing to put in? Do you have enough of a desire to want to improve your drawing?
- “Drawing is only for the gifted”
Drawing is not limited to a select few. It is a skill that can be cultivated by anyone willing to invest time and effort. With proper guidance and a willingness to learn, anyone can develop their artistic abilities. Have you ever been sat down and shown how to draw? Most of us were handed a pencil in infancy and a primary school art class and told to get on with it. Drawing is a skill that can be learned. But how many of us were even ever shown HOW? I wasn’t. I went away and did the research and embedded all the drawing principles I needed!
- “You need expensive art supplies”
For all my community challenges within my membership I simply use a pencil, good quality paper in my sketchbook and a putty / kneaded eraser or rubber. While high-quality art supplies can enhance the drawing experience, they are not essential for learning and practicing. They can also lead to overwhelm if you build a stash and not know where to start. Keep it super simple and build momentum. The focus should be on honing fundamental skills rather than relying solely on expensive tools.
- “Copying is not creative”
Many aspiring artists begin by copying existing artworks or photographs. This practice helps develop observation skills and understanding of form, proportions, and shading. Copying is an essential step in the learning process and acts as a foundation for creating original work. Everything we ever draw is a copy! Even when drawing from real life we have to copy the object we draw. Swap out the word copy for translate. What amazes me about this concept is how through the art of translating an image onto your page you produce your own interpretation of it. Even more striking was when I ran my 30 Day Challenge. Everyone drew the same object. No 2 drawings were the same even though “copied” in the same step by step process.
- “Drawing is a solitary activity”
While drawing can be a solitary pursuit, it is also a social one. Participating in art communities, attending workshops, or joining drawing classes can provide valuable feedback, motivation, and inspiration. Engaging with other artists can broaden perspectives and nurture growth. I love blending the interaction with others alongside my own personal practice. Others can hold you accountable and support you maintain momentum as well as provide rich inspiration for your next drawing activities.
- “Realistic drawing is the only measure of skill”
Realism is just one aspect of drawing. Artistic skill encompasses a wide range of styles and techniques. The ability to convey emotions, experiment with abstraction, or express personal interpretations is equally important. Developing a unique style is a journey that goes beyond realism. We do tie ourselves in knots with this one. Expectation is sometimes our biggest downfall. We fail to spot how creative we can sometimes be based on the high aspiration we set for ourselves. Go beyond realism. Embrace the process of learning to draw for your own means and ends.
- “Mistakes ruin the drawing”
The first words out of mouth for people learning to draw with me is “give yourself permission to make as many mistakes as you like.” Grab a sketchbook that you dedicate to the mistake making process. Mistakes are an integral part of the learning process. They provide valuable lessons and opportunities for growth. Embracing mistakes and using them as learning experiences can lead to unexpected discoveries and creative breakthroughs. And let me tell you too….you’ll learn far faster making mistakes, assessing where you have gone wrong and knowing how to auto correct what you do. Banish that eraser and get drawing!
- “You need formal art education to excel”:
While formal art education can offer valuable instruction, it is not the only path to artistic success. Many renowned artists are self-taught or have learned through alternative means such as online tutorials, books, and mentorships. Passion, dedication, and a willingness to learn are more important than formal qualifications. I’m self taught. I’m curious. The ability to love to learn is not defined by a formal qualification. The majority of the community that learns with me simply want to learn the basic fundamentals to drawing.
- “You must start drawing at a young age”
It is never too late to start drawing. Whether you are a child, a teenager, or an adult, the benefits of drawing are accessible to all ages. The key lies in consistent practice and a willingness to explore and learn. My oldest learner is in her 80s.
- “Drawing is a talent, not a skill”
Drawing is both a talent and a skill. While some individuals may have an inherent aptitude for drawing, skill development plays a significant role in an artist’s growth. Talent can provide a head start, but without practice and dedication, it remains untapped potential. Skills are learned. Creative style is cultivated from a baseline of curiosity and influence.
I have saved the final misconception for last because it is the one I most commonly hear from the community.
- “You’re not very good at this are you?”
We can all recall that art teacher, friend, or family member that shot us down in the flames of their negative words. We carry people’s words with us for years. We tend to value these words because they come out of the mouths of people we tend to respect. We have wasted precious years taking them to heart as a result.
How do you empower yourself to move out from under these comments?
First of all you are still allowing these false beliefs based on others’ words effect you. Only you can change this! Your empowering the negative words spoken to you.
It can only be your responsibility to change them.
Change them by starting to draw and get empowered in a new way.
Secondly remind yourself that this is a work in progress. You’re not automatically born into being good at drawing. This does not mean you won’t be! Think. What do you need to go and learn, study, immerse yourself in to be given a chance to progress on your creative journey? You’re no longer in an art class! You’re integrating a new skill into a daily creative habit! Start to operate in this way setting small steps out in front of you as you re-educate and affirm your drawing practice!
Thirdly. Think for a moment what a different person you have likely become in comparison to the person you were when you heard those comments. What would you say to that person if they stood in front of you today and said the same things? If you are a different person today why do you labour beneath words spoken over you when you were a different individual? Why do we so readily accept people’s words as gospel? What might that say about your self image in light of your creativity?
Drawing is a journey of self-discovery, creativity, and personal expression.
Get debunking so that you can readily pick up a pencil in order to draw. Be inspired to embrace drawing as a joyful and rewarding endeavour. Remember, anyone can learn to draw with patience, perseverance, and a genuine passion for the art form.
So pick up that pencil, let go of assumptions, and embark on your artistic journey with confidence!
And if you need some help doing so I want you to join me in my Scratch to Sketch Hub today!