Why learning to Draw is so hard!

Many of us wish that we could just pick up a pencil and begin drawing what we see in front of us, from family pets to portraits, from imaginary beasts to beautiful women! Our minds are full of high resolution images that we wish could just ‘fall-out’ on to the paper, right?

Drawing Simple Objects Daily is Key

So why is it so hard? Why cant we just ‘do-it’? Well, there are three fundamental reasons, and none of them relate to a special gift or natural ability.

Reason number 1

Our brains are capable of absorbing the world around us in all of its spendid high-definition glory. Millions of colours, textures, forms, shapes and contours help describe this rich and vibrant universe in which we live out our lives. All of this high-resolution data is stored inside our heads, available at a moments notice to play its part in recreating the world around us into our dreams. Unfortunately, getting it back out again onto paper is really hard.

As artists, we need to simplify, to reduce all of this information into its essence. To distill it into a few simple lines or values that can be expressed unsing pencil and paper. For example, we have to take everything that we know about how trees grow, how the branches twist and turn, how water is absorbed and expired through osmosis and transpiration and describe it all using just a few dots, dashes, lines and squiggles!

The primary reason many people are unable to draw, is that they are trying too hard to draw everything that they ‘think’ should be included in the drawing. Rather than only drawing just-enough to convey the essence of a tree. Sometimes we try so hard to look at a subject that we rarely actually see it!

Reason Number 2

The second reason why people find it hard to learn how to draw has to do with setting realistic goals. Drawing is as much about muscle memory and the phsyical act of getting lead onto the paper as it is about the cognitive process of designing a pleasing composition and adding a back-story to your images.

Take for example the drawing of a spoon shown above. We all know what a spoon looks like, right? We can describe it in words very simply. A spoon is typically a metal object, about 5 inches long. With a flattened bowl at one end and a taper shaft at the other. Simple right? Now try and describe how the light is interacting with the spoon, or how the shadows are helping to describe the form, or how the reflections appear to change the form of the metal. Now things get a little more complicated.

When learning to draw, is it vitally important that you are realistic in setting your goals. Tell yourself, “Right. today I am going to draw a spoon and focus on getting my proportions correct” instead of setting the near impossible goal of “Today, I will draw a photo-realisitc spoon reflecting the artist in the shiny metal”. Can you see how much more challenging and more likely you are to fail with the second approach?

Begin your learning journey by getting the fundamentals under your belt. Learn how to make different kinds of marks with the pencil. Learn how to judge different measurements and create a proportionally correct drawing. Set yourself a realistic goal and you will learn how to draw much faster.

Reason Number 3

The third major reason why people struggle to learn the basics of drawing is self-doubt. Being overly critical of your early works is a sure fire way to kill that creative spark and remove all of the fun from the process. Drawing is about learning to express yourself using a pencil. It is not about being the best, or creating a drawing just like your favourite artist. Sure these things will come.

But start small. quite literally, begin by drawing small everday objects over and over again. With each new drawing try to focus one single aspect and make the next image much better than the last.

Drawing takes time, but it is not some special gift. It is simply a logical process that you learn and get better at with practice.

If you are interested in learning more about how to get started learning to draw, why not check out my online course. I have included a special link (here) that will give you 50% off, for the next few days. So don’t let this opportunity slip you by.

In the meantime, happy drawing.

Kind regards, Robin.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Robin Slee’s story.