How important is drawing?
Can an artist be an artist without good drawing skills?
The answer is yes, as long as we can accept the idea that a perfectly rendered work may not be artistic. It may simply be a really good copy of what we see. There's nothing wrong with that, but you can do accurate drawings for the rest of your life and end up with a stack of dull and dead pieces of paper.
Facts about drawing
- Anyone can learn to draw (barring a disability that prevents it).
- Some people draw better than others, just as some people are better at basketball or singing.
- Drawing requires psychomotor skills. That's a link between the brain and the hand. You can read more about it here.
- Part of drawing ability is genetic and part is a acquired skill. Some people are born with it, doggone it. Others must learn.
- Drawing requires an ability to see and interpret things not as they really are, but as they appear to be. This is an eye-brain connection that must override the powerful mental idea of what we think we should be drawing.
Paying your dues
Artists seem to have a real need to prove to themselves and others that they can draw, so they spend a lot of time trying to draw the perfect flower or dog or tree or face. I know. I've been there.
Get out of the rut
But how much time do you want to spend? For my money, I'd rather have fun. I'd rather produce work that evokes a bit of emotion and gets people's attention. Give it your best shot and slap some color on it. Grab some charcoal and make some lines jump off the page. Draw with your eyes closed and notice how much more interesting your work has suddenly become.
You want some perfect dogs and flowers and trees and faces? Just go to any high school art class and look around at the accurate drawings. Dull as dirt.
On the other hand, a rather primitive drawing like this one can show some character.
By the way, this is by Vincent van Gogh. You know him, don't you?
Change your drawings and change your life
If you can make the mental adjustment to at least try for art instead of accuracy, you can change your artistic life. Here are some books that will help--two by Betty Edwards and the old standard by Kimon Nicolaides. Go ahead and buy at least one of them and help me pay for this Website.
Copyright James H. Stephens
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