Learning to Draw

A couple of times each year I teach a drawing course.  Drawing has brought me much joy and understanding over the years and “facilitating” that activity is a pleasant and challenging repayment opportunity for me.  It helps me collect and organize my thoughts, but you’re stuck with reading this…

Drawing.  We relate to our world visually but many lack the ability to see and understand a lot of what is all around us.  Drawing is as essential as language and mathematics.  We dream largely in images, less so in words and numbers.  Drawing is a visual ability, analytical process and communication skill.  In the end it is the one final human activity that may not be mechanized or automated (I wonder…)

The first half of drawing is seeing.  Seeing is really a doorway to greater empathy.  We think we see just fine, we don’t.  As you learn to see better your drawing and writing skills will grow.  Perhaps there’s also a similar relationship with listening and music.

I believe anyone can learn to draw a reasonable picture, but only if they enjoy the process (that’s a big if, because it’s a little work at first.)  It’s easy and natural with children because it’s not a competive activity.   With some basic skills, a bit of practice and a little coaching, it’s definitely possible to create interesting even beautiful pictures.  Teaching other folks to see and draw is a pleasant challenge.  Helping folks to enjoy the process may be impossible.  Just one of those things – some like it, some don’t…  So I concentrate on trying to make it easy – but just north of boring – and fun.  

Diluting the taste of the inevitable (and necessary) mistakes, running alongside, hoping they can get going fast enough on their drawing bicycle to stay upright and start to pedal on their own before I let go. I’m still learning how to do that.   So far I’ve found that only a few students (seniors) who enjoy the process enough to willingly displace other enjoyable activities in their lives with drawing.  I hope I can improve those odds.  

We’ll see.

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