Why People Who “Can’t Draw” Are Wrong | Why Do Art, Part 1
I’ve heard it a million times.
I can’t draw.
I’m not artistic.
I could never do that.
And to that I say…
What people don’t realize is that the world isn’t divided into artistic people and non-artistic people. It’s divided into people who do art and people who don’t.
But it’s not your fault. The world is constructed in a way that makes it look like there’s a huge gap between the creatives and the not-creatives.
Even I contribute to this myth.
One, the art that I let you see is only the good stuff, or the good-enough-to-show-someone art. I have artistic failures all the time, but it’s unlikely that you’ll ever get to see them (and honestly, I doubt you’d want to).
Two, the art that you see isn’t a standalone piece. I didn’t just one day just will it into being. My art actually takes a lot of planning. And it’s the result of over twenty years of practice. I don’t remember at what age I started drawing, but trust me when I say it was pretty early on.
Kids like to draw.
The difference is that some kids receive validation of their so-called artistic talents, while others don’t. Unfortunately, these others might even be laughed at, mocked, or relentlessly compared to their more “artistic” peers.
When someone else is really amazing at something, and you’re not, you probably get a little bit discouraged. And when someone who is an ultimate authority in your life (say, a parent or teacher), reinforces this belief, well you might decide to just abandon that thing you’re not very good at anyway.
Who needs art, right?
By the time we become adults (I’m not sure exactly when that is, to be honest), most people’s artistic dreams have been smushed. Or their artistic interests have been smushed before they’ve had a chance to turn into dreams.
But guess what?
People actually like doing art.
Not just looking at it, or pretending to be cultured
And I’ll prove it.
To best illustrate this point, I need you to get up. Get out of bed. Go to any hipstery part of town. The people who frequent this area should be mostly white, in the middle to upper-class income bracket.
Take a walk.
And time how long it takes you to come across one of those “canvas and cocktails” places. You know, the ones where you take a painting class and drink wine.
Painting with a Twist.
Paint and Sip.
Cork and Canvas.
Sipping and Painting.
I could go on and on.
Why are these painting classes are so popular?
Well, people like wine, you’re probably thinking. Okay sure. I won’t argue with that. But people must also like to paint. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they just drink their wine at home or with a nice steak?
Photo by Prawny licensed under CC0.
Before you go home, I need you to make a detour.
Go to a bookstore. Maybe not a used one, but any other bookstore.
Check out the arts or crafts or miscellaneous items section. Tell me how many adult coloring books you see.
Photo by the3cats licensed under CC0.
These books have blown up. They’re everywhere.
But I actually hate them.
Aren’t these coloring books supposed to help you relax and de-stress? And yet, just because they’re for adults, the creators make them so intricately detailed that it takes an eternity to finish one page.
I have one of these books.
I’ve never completed a single page. There are just too many tiny leaves and flowers for me.
I hope publishers rectify this situation soon.
Even though I don’t like these coloring books, other people do. So apparently, there’s something about coloring that people like.
Coloring and painting. Can I make the leap and say that adults, even non-artistic adults, seem to like doing art?
Not just going to museums and galleries to feel fancy, but actually doing art themselves?
So what’s that you say?
You can’t do art because you’re “not artistic”?
If we’ve been taught that we’re “not good” at something, it’s frightening to go and do that thing. We’re not good at it, right? So we’ll probably just fail. Why even bother?
The thing is now that you’re an adult, you’re free!
It doesn’t actually matter what anyone thinks of your art. It doesn’t matter if you fail.
Technical skill is irrelevant.
No one needs to judge your art or even see it.
But if you’re still not convinced, you can hold off for two more weeks, using the excuse that you’re waiting for my upcoming posts to procrastinate.
Other Posts in this Series:
Part 2: 5 Non-Artists Who Do Art (And It’s awesome)
Part 3: Why People Who “Can’t Draw” Should Do art
Bonus: 7 Easy Art Tutorials to Help Anyone Get Into Art