(I’ll be updating this page and the Creativity Myths as questions come in, so feel free to ask something!)
Isn’t Art expensive to start?
Art is like anything-it can be expensive, and it doesn’t have to be.
If you have a slip of paper and a pen or pencil, you can draw, and practice drawing.
If you want to graduate to a ‘real artist’ pencil set, that helps, but it isn’t necessary.
If you want the high-pigment wax-based colored pencils, that’s fantastic, but they’re not necessary either.
To start, all you need is something to draw on and something to draw with. That’s all. It can be printer paper, sketchbook, or junk mail and spent envelopes. You can draw with a pencil, a pen, a marker or crayon.
When you find your zone in art, you may find you want to graduate to certain mediums of art, like watercolors, colored pencils, pastels, ink or more. The list can be nearly endless. But to start with, you don’t need more than a pencil and paper.
If you really want to work well, I’d suggest a sketchbook you can easily fit into your briefcase, purse, backpack or such, and a pencil and eraser. That’s it. You can build up from there. And the sketchbook’s purpose is, firstly, to keep all your drawings in one spot!
“An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached.” – Irwin Greenberg, painter
How much time to I need to devote to drawing in order to become good?
One of the legends in the art world involves Picasso (a number do, but I digress…).
One day, he is sketching in the park, when a woman spots him and begs for her portrait. Eventually, Picasso agrees.
In moments, (and some say with just a single line) Picasso finishes with a flourish, and hands it to the woman. She’s ecstatic, and asks him how much she owes him.
“5,000 francs, madam.” Picasso replied.
“What?! Why? It took you just a few moments to create!”
“No madam,” he replied, “it took me my entire lifetime.”
The point Picasso was making was, drawing can consume one’s lifetime, and each time you draw, you learn something that will help you the next time you draw.
Art isn’t something like memorizing a multiplication table, where, once you’ve done it, you’re done. There’s always something new to learn and try and work on.
That being said, you can become a much-improved draftsman/woman (that’s a person who draws) with just hours of practice. Betty Edwards, who wrote the long-running program and book “Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain” shows what concentrated efforts over a 40-hour class (8 hours a day for a five day work week) did. Some of the transformations are near-miraculous. And all these people had was pencil, paper, erasers, instruction, and concentrated practice. 40 hours, that’s all.
Find your level of “good” that makes you happy, and know there’s always room for better in the future.
Even for the Picassos of the world.