You Don't Actually Suck At Drawing
I think there’s a really big misconception about artists and talent. Often when I draw, people will approach me and say, “Whoa, how’d you do that? That’s so amazing! I can’t even draw a stick figure!”
The first thing I want people to realize is that at one point, I sucked. A lot. My skill level consisted of doodling with crayons in kindergarten just like everyone else. I added whiskers to human faces and hair loopies on their heads because I liked cats. My drawings of horses and whales were rather questionable in body proportions as well (I'll make another blog post showcasing the glorious starting stage of my art-making). So how’d I get here? This brings me to the second thing I want people to understand, which is that the reason I’m at the skill level I have now (which isn’t even that high compared to professional artists) is 2 things:
1- I liked drawing.
2- I practiced. A lot.
I saw this comic by Sarah Anderson and it really resonated with me:
I was glad to know that I wasn’t the only artist who went through this. It seems that most people really do believe that creating art is a talent that you’re either born with or not. Whenever I do a livestream of me drawing, I also get many comments from beginner artists and people in general who seem adamant in letting me know that they can’t draw well or can’t draw at all.
The thing is, you can.
If you’re up to it, I’m also going to drop a link for one of my favorite TED Talks I saw months ago about the misconception of drawing. Feel free to grab a pen and paper and follow along with the speaker:
If you’ve watched and followed along with the TED Talk, I hope that you’ve been somewhat inspired to doodle a little more and have an open mind about drawing. For beginner artists who want to increase their skills, here’s also a list of advice to get you started:
1- Understand the principles of art
The truth is, if you want to actually get good, you need to know the basics. The same way there’s scientific theories out there, there’s also art theories and principles, like color, line, space, value, etc. There’s so much information out there about this, so go ahead and do a few google searches to familiarize yourself on the topic.
2- Watch YouTube tutorials
As a middle schooler/early high schooler, I can’t stress how grateful I am to have had YouTube with me. Anytime I needed help figuring out how to draw a portrait, or an anime character (because I was such a nerd back then, oh god… ok I know I still am, thank you) or even when I was learning to paint things. With the presence of technology, there’s no excuse for us to not to teach ourselves what we can with YouTube tutorials.
3- Read art books
You’ve got a local library near you. Go check out books about art.
4- Copy copy copy
If there’s anything you’re inspired by or that you like, draw it. Copy pictures. Sketch what’s around you. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but trust me when I say that practice makes you better. Don’t even worry about finding your art style; that comes with thousands of sketches and doodles and drawings.
5- Understand that in order to get good, you need to draw a thousand times.
A thousand is just a random number I’m throwing out here, but art is not something you’re naturally talented in (although yes, there are talented artists out there who are better than others). I haven’t kept track of how many drawings I’ve created, but I can definitely tell you about the all-nighters I’ve pulled off as a kid just sketching over and over again because I was so driven to get good at drawing.
Even now, there’s no way I can tell you that I’m magnificent at art. It’s a continuous journey, and the biggest source of energy for it is passion. If you want to learn how to draw, it is 100% possible, even if you’re “bad” at drawing stick figures. Just make sure that your intentions are in the right place and start.
So here’s to a thousand ugly doodles, in hopes of realizing that you don't actually suck.