You learn most of your basic skills when you're young, so you're largely unaware of the time you put in to learn and practice those skills. Some of you may remember learning to read, especially if it was difficult for you, but most people don't remember the learning itself, once a skill is acquired.
On the other hand, you might remember the learning involved for skills you learned later, such as learning to ride a bike or learning to write, or you may remember when you learned to drive a car. If you ever learned to ski or play the piano, you probably remember some of those lessons (and may have some pretty funny stories to tell, too—we know we do!). What all of these later skills have in common is that you accepted the necessity of practice and learning in stages.
For some reason, many seem to think that the skills needed to draw are more difficult to acquire, especially when they take into consideration our need as adults to accomplish things quickly. Maybe the fact that we desire such immediate gratification is precisely the reason we think we can't learn to draw. But it's really no more difficult than any new skill, and it's certainly easier—and safer—than learning to drive a car!
Creativity research suggests that the reason adults are so afraid of their creativity is that they're literally afraid of "making a mess." By the time you've reached adulthood, you're carrying many more voices in your head than merely your own; you've got your parents, your teachers, your friends, and possibly even your bosses, all telling you what you've done wrong. No wonder you censor yourself before you even try! In this book, we're going to help you go out and play again without those voices telling you there's a right and wrong way to do so.
Back to the Drawing Board
Children are more immersed in the moment, or the now, than adults, and so it's easy for them to draw. Children are less concerned with judgmental responses to their efforts, a concern that seems to develop as we try for greater accuracy and specificity as we mature. In fact, the more we develop our largely analytical skills, the more trouble we have drawing. We lose the spontaneity and joy that simply making a mess can bring.
Anyone can draw! This simple line drawing was done by a 7-year-old boy who managed to really look and draw the contours and shapes of a sleeping dog very accurately, because he was following what he could see.
The ability to draw is really the ability to see something and then transfer it to paper. It's as simple as that!
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