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Can Anyone Draw?

I remember the day clearly.  The day I thought, “I’ll never draw like that”.

It was the fourth grade, and another boy in my class drew a tree.  Gnarled and knotted, with a rotted gap one expected an owl or squirrel to pop out of any second, this mass of squiggles and strokes looked so real I could almost feel the texture of the bark under my fingers as I looked at it.

That tree from 4th grade-or at least my drawing from memory. A part of me thinks, "4th grade?! It couldn't have looked as good as this-but I did remember the bent trunk, gaps and branches in the leaves, the textured trunk and the hole in the trunk. Shows you how much I drew it-I remembered it more than two decades later! (how much more than two decades will remain a secret...)

That tree from 4th grade-or at least my drawing from memory. A part of me thinks, “4th grade?! It couldn’t have looked like this!” But I so clearly remembered the bent trunk, the gaps and branches threading through the leaves, the textured bark and the hole in the trunk. Shows you how often I drew it back then-I remembered it more than two decades later! (how many more than two decades will remain a secret…)

My teacher didn’t make him show it off, but she did pin it to that collapsible pushpin wall in class, where I stared at it every spare moment I could. For forever.  Or so it seemed to me.

I loved to draw, and I wanted to draw well. I tried and tried to draw that tree, studying how he used the squiggles to show the texture of the bark, the shadows of a bent branch.

All I could manage was a giant scribble, with a smaller scribble below.  I. Could. Not. Do. It.

Apparently, no matter how much I wanted to draw, I just couldn’t.  I would never be the artist I dreamed of.

I told myself, “I’ll never be able to draw.  Not like that.  Not well.”

Yet today, I’m a professional artist (and author).  I’ve designed exhibits for archives and museums, created logos for companies, illustrated a children’s book (with three more on the way), created book covers, and some in-class graphics for the homeschool group I tutor.  My creativity and the resulting images is an integral part of me.

But I well remember the frustration of trying to draw realistically, and believing I was a failure.  It took time and practice, and some teachers (Hi Mrs. McDermott, Mrs. Paganelli, Mrs. Culver, Mrs. Allan, and the entire art department of Taylor University!) to help me find my way.

Now, if you’re trying to find your way, and believe you can’t do it, I’d love to show you some ways to break through like I did.

Because even if you don’t want to pursue art as a career, it can enrich your life in so many ways.

As for that fellow student of mine who once inspired me to frustration?  We remained classmates until high school graduation.  I’m an artist; he works in the medical field.

 

 

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