How Do You Art?

I can’t draw. The pencil touches the paper and it’s all downhill from there. What’s the trick? What’s the secret? Why aren’t my sausage people acceptable? So what if all of my four-legged animal drawings look the same?

This post is in response to Aaron’s Sunday Scribblings’ prompt – Art.

I remember in Grade 9, we had to take one Arts elective – drama, music, or art. Oh, how I wish “none of the above” were an option.

I wasn’t going to take drama because that would’ve been too much extroversion for one class. I wasn’t going to take music because I don’t play any instruments. So, I was stuck taking art. Yay.

Surely, though, there’d be other amateurs in the class. I wouldn’t be the only one trying to fake my way through each day.

Wrong.

Everyone was a Vincent Van Gogh and I was a Vincent Van Oh-No.

I can’t remember what I ended up getting in the class, but I think high 70s rings a bell. Thank you, written tests. I love you so much.

One thing I’ve always wanted to know when it comes to drawing a picture is, what is going through your mind when you pick up a pencil and start drawing?

Do you have an image in your head that you try and replicate on the page? Do you imagine you’re tracing the image from your head onto the page in front of you? What is the trick? How do you know how long your lines should be?

The whole concept just feels impossible to me.

Is this the part where I mention that I went to art classes as a kid? The instructor put a bowl of fruit on the table, positioned some lights to add shadows, and told us to draw.

It’s an orange…do I just draw a circle? How do I draw a circle? Does anyone have something circular that I can trace?

WAIT, HOW DO YOU DRAW A BOWL?

No one tells you how to draw, but they tell you how to shade. Yes, I know shading is a part of it. But how do I draw the thing that I later shade?

I just wanted someone to tell me how to link up my brain with my pencil and output it on the sheet in front of me. That’s all.

But I guess you’re either born with the ability to draw, or you’ve got two left hands.

That’s my spin on the “two left feet” phrase. I think it works.

I guess we all have our thing that comes naturally. The thing we make look easy.

Not to toot my own horn, but I think writing comes naturally to me. I sat down with, “I can’t draw” in my head and somehow it spiralled into all of this, without much effort.

Sports also come naturally to me, whether it’s playing, or understanding what I’m watching. I just know.

Is it the same way for people who are good at drawing? It must be. Those freakin’ wizards and wizardettes.

I never understood how any kid could hate gym class, until I took that Grade 9 art class. Oh, so this is what it’s like to not be good at something, but be forced to struggle through it every day.

To be fair, the class wasn’t asking me to paint murals, or do anything too complicated.

But when you can’t draw, everything is complicated.

It’s not just, “I have to do that assignment.” It’s, “what do you mean I only get one piece of paper to work with?” You’re in constant fear of messing up, before you even start.

Anyway, I think I’ve turned over enough bad memories here today.

I can laugh about it now.

EVEN THE PAPER MACHE MUMMY I HAD TO MAKE WAS A DISASTER. AND IT WAS A GROUP EFFORT. WHAT THE HECK.

Sorry, don’t know where that came from.

Well, this was fun.

Can you draw? What’s the secret? Should I start a Paul Draws blog series?

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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33 Responses to How Do You Art?

  1. darthtimon says:

    Give me a template to copy and I’ll be able to give you a reasonable reproduction. Expect me to turn my mind’s eye vision into reality… Nope.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Becky says:

    I hated gym in high school and really enjoyed my art classes. I paint for fun now and sometimes I paint things I’ve seen—like I’ll find examples on Pinterest—or sometimes I just paint things I’ve created in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can draw! Stick figures and “Miss E’s silly shapes” on the board when teaching what a polygon is/isn’t. My students love my art though – they think everything I produce is a masterpiece! So I guess that’s my secret to art: stand in front of a group of 7-year-olds, tell them you can’t draw so don’t make fun, and then draw a stick person with some curly hair and all of a sudden you are Monet. It’s quite life-affirming LOL

    The school that I naturally had to go to because of where I lived was the district’s “art program” school. Like people had to audition to get into the arts program but at the end of it, some of my friends graduated from high school and went straight into Julliard. So we had the option of visual art, drama, dance, music. I had all the same arguments as you did but settled on drama being the lesser of the evil arts classes. I still struggled but it was good. My teacher was certifiably insane (she spent the summer after teaching my class in a psychiatric hospital “balancing out” – not because of my class though!) so I think we all got good grades. I was glad to only have to take one credit and be done with it. Especially when the grade 9 class was half “normal students” and half “drama major” students. Bleh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      That’s awesome that your students love your art! What a confidence boost that must be. Years ago, I drew a picture for the kids at camp and called it “Art – By Paul” and I showed it to one little girl and she made a disgusted face and said I had no future LOL

      Ohhh auditions to get in. Wow. Glad you got through drama class! None of those 4 options sounded appealing, though I feel like if we were older, or had to choose one of those 4 in university, drama wouldn’t have felt so intimidating to me? I don’t know. Let’s not discuss this lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • What a rude little girl! LOL how old was she? I find that students 7 and under are more supportive and those 8 and up are mean haha

        Haha actually I forgot one option: vocal – again not one I would pick because I can’t read music or carry a tune. 🤷‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Vocal?? Oh that’s a no for sure.

        Haha I think she was about 8, so you hit the age thing right on the head.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lol samesies for me dude! Like obviously I’m going to be an international super star bigger than Taylor Swift in just a few short weeks, but no thank you 😂😂

        Yeah grade 3 is when they change into mean girls. Although they are getting mean girl-ish younger and younger. Last year I had a bunch of mean girls. Thankfully this year all my girls are lovely angels.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Hey she’s T Swift, you can be T Swifter? Already have the first initial down.

        I like to tell myself that the girl wasn’t being outright mean and that I had just created a persona within the camp where all the campers knew they could joke with me, or say mean things but not mean it. Haha I don’t know.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 😂 I’m not gonna say that’s a horrible name but maybe we just set it to the side for now and I can decide later?

        Awww I’m sure your drawing was adorable and she was just jealous!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sabrina B says:

    Visual Art seems to take so much skill and detail and patience, so I’m always so impressed by people who it just seems to come naturally to?? I would be there in elementary school art class using a ruler to try and draw evenly segmented ant body parts while other people were just…doing it?? But how?? And why did art class just assume we all had skills beyond colouring and pouring glitter on things and making collages out of cut out magazine pictures?? (to this day, these are my top art skills)
    The joys of going to a school with an art program is I never had to take a visual art class once in high school. occasionally in the arts religion/gym classes they would throw in an artistic component to an assignment because “you’re arts students!” even though half of us were performing arts kids with zero drawing ability. There were many collages done instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Yes! Why did they assume that we knew what we were doing and then go ahead and give us a mark on it! How do you mark something we’re not only bad at, but can never improve. At least with gym, the teacher gave a mark out of 10 every day for effort.

      I was always amazed by the kids who could sit down and just start sketching and in 2 minutes they had a picture and were just like “Ho hum, I could do this with my eyes closed.” HOW.

      I applaud you for going the collage route whenever you could! What a lifesaver those were.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sabrina B says:

        I remember having to draw a self portrait pretty early on but all they taught you was like proportions…like whats the use of knowing how far my eyes are supposed to be from my nose if I can’t draw eyes OR a nose!! (I also think that was weird because we don’t all have same eye shape or distance between eyes or face shape so like..who were we drawing here)

        Thank you thank you, I appreciate the collage support.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Exactly! How do you draw a nose and eyes without looking like a snowman??

        I think in Grade 8 for graduation we had to draw a self-portrait of a younger version of us. They photocopied our photo (or something) and traced a grid over it, so then we just had to copy what was in each box onto a large paper. I remember that being easy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sabrina B says:

        oh tracing is not that bad. I feel like I wasn’t super great at that either, but not too bad! I feel like I spent a lot of time in elementary school making dioramas?? Which tended to have mixed results. But elementary school did make me worried that dioramas would be a bigger part of life than they were

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        I still have a Rugrats diorama in my closet from Grade 3. Those things were so complicated to do, they must’ve known our parents did 98% of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sabrina B says:

        Rugrats! That at least probably involved a lot of printed out pictures. I vividly remember making one about meerkats for some kind of science thing and being very proud of it but who knows where that is.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. peckapalooza says:

    I can draw something if I’m looking at it. I’m fairly confident that if I spent enough time practice, I could be a decent artist to the point that I could visualize something in my mind and get it on paper. As a kid, I thought the coolest job in the world would be to be a writer/artist for DC Comics. I never really got there. I’d be more likely to be a writer at this point, but even that’s a long shot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      You’re so lucky. This is exactly what I’m jealous of! I’m staring at a water bottle right now and if I had to draw it, I wouldn’t even know what line to draw first. Who knows, maybe it’s not too late for you to write for them. Just create a new world they can’t say no to!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Art | The Confusing Middle

  7. Bill says:

    I can’t draw, either, but the one that really gets me is songwriting. I listen to some wonderful song and wonder “How did they figure … that … out?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      That’s a good point! The thing with music that I’ve always wondered is how artists constantly create a new sound that we’ve never heard of, for each song. I find that to be so impressive.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t draw either…..unless you count stick figures. I can sing, I sang in Jr. High school and in my first two grades in high school. But what good is singing when you can’t sing in front of people? Stage fright isn’t something I learned to overcome. I’d rather have had talent to draw, alas stick-figures are the extent of my drawing talent, lol. 🤣😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Imagine if “stick figures” weren’t a thing. What on earth would we have done??

      Hey, at least you can brag to people that you can sing! Though they’d probably ask you to sing, and then that’s just uncomfortable. Hmm…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. First of all.. where is the drawing? I expected there to be an upload of something you have created! Also yes, you should start a Paul’s art blog LOL

    It’s okay to be bad.. I will forever be drawing stick people. My noses however have upgraded from a dot to an acute angle🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Ha! I was waiting for someone to call me out on why there wasn’t a photo. Maybe in the future?

      I learned about the acute angle nose trick too late! Haha always did dots in school

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Dutch Lion says:

    I’m the same as you Paul. I can’t draw worth a lick. (What does that mean…..worth a lick?) Anyway, my daughter is extremely talented at art. She can just get out her pencils and paintbrushes and draw stuff like people and mountains, etc. She’s amazing and I JUST DON’T GET IT. It’s unexplainable I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

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