What If I Can’t Draw?–My Merry Art Story

“I would love to have that talent, but I can’t even draw a stick figure.”

For very good reasons, I believe that everyone is born an artist, everyone has art within them that can be drawn out with time and patience. I hope you won’t wait any longer to share your art with the world!

How I became an Artist

Image by JL G from Pixabay

Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted to learn to draw, so she attended a summer art class, where she was instructed to “draw something so we can paint it.” The little girl didn’t feel as if she could draw–that was, after all, the reason she had come to the class. Unfortunately, she was a very shy child and not able to communicate her hesitance to the teacher. In the end, while the other children were busy drawing things on their canvases, the frustrated teacher simply drew a teddy bear on the little girl’s canvas for her.

That little girl was me, and from that one, insignificant event, I created for myself an elaborate myth about drawing.The myth went something like this: 

  • All the other children can draw. 
  • The teacher did not have to teach them to draw.
  • I cannot draw. 
  • The teacher doesn’t know how to teach me to draw. 
  • Therefore, most children are born knowing how to draw; but not me.
  • I wasn’t born knowing how to draw. 
  • I will never be able to draw.

As time went on I learned that there were plenty of things I could learn that didn’t depend on being born knowing how. I learned to cook and to sew, to play the piano and sing, to care for animals and to dance. I didn’t miss not being born able to draw. Much.

That Tiny, Merry Voice

Over time I kept learning. I learned how to be a wife, then a mother. I learned to decorate cakes, to make pottery, and to be a widow and a single mom. Sometime during these years I checked out a beautiful coffee table book of pastel paintings from the library. I enjoyed it so much I checked it out multiple times. In the back of my mind a tiny, merry voice whispered “isn’t that beautiful? It’s just color. You wouldn’t have to be able to draw to do that.”

Finally, I learned to be a student again and went back to college to finish my degree.

Part of the requirement for getting my degree was to take a science class. I settled on an introduction to astronomy class, which I enjoyed so much that I began stargazing as a hobby. (hang in there, we’re almost to the part about drawing!) In time I found myself wanting to share with others what I saw through the eye piece of my telescope, and also wanted to record it in detail, so that I really, really saw it and appreciated it. I began to sketch what I saw during my nights at the telescope eyepiece. As I did so, I found myself slightly disappointed in my simple pencil and paper.

In Which I Discover Pastels

This was when I discovered pastels–while searching for art supplies to create the effects I wanted in my astronomy sketching. Once I saw the gorgeous colors lined up next to each other in boxes, I was hooked. That little merry voice whispered ever louder, and in a short period of time I was purchasing pastels and paper and watching all the YouTube videos I could find, and reading as many articles and books as I could get my hands on.

I discovered that pastels were wonderful because there was no liquid or brushes needed: it was direct and immediate. No drying time, no canvas preparation. And no drawing (at least at first). Simply place shapes of delicious color next to one another, and if you got it right, why, it looked like something! Swish! Scritch! Swipe! It was like magic to me. And it still is.The brilliance achievable with pastels captured my heart.

How I Learned to Draw

I’m still learning. Remember that myth I told myself when I was a little girl? Well, I’m happy to tell you that she did learn to draw, and so can you! I learned that drawing is just a skill set–not something you have to be born with, and it inevitably gets better with practice. I’m happy to report that I am just about to fill up my very first sketch book.

And I’ve learned this: Everyone is born an artist. Everyone can become one, with time and patience. We are all human, humans make art, therefore we are all born artists, and only need encouragement and education to bring our art into the world. You, dear reader, have the ability to make the world more beautiful with your art. The only thing standing in your way is the myth you are telling yourself. I hope my story has helped to debunk that myth!

Everyone is born an artist, everyone has art within them that can be drawn out with time and patience. I hope you won’t wait any longer to share your art with the world!

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