A friend asks: “Can you teach me to draw?”

400-more-485The most truthful answer is a simple “No.”
I can show you how I draw. I can explain my process, discuss my tools and describe the space I tend to find the most conducive: the time of day I find the most stimulating; the circumstances most likely to allow my ideas to flow from wherever it is they come down my arm and out my pencil. But I can’t teach myself to draw let alone anyone else.

All I, or anyone else, can do is practice. Practice putting marks on tablets. Practice being patient with ourselves as our own process evolves. Practice building on what we like and moving away from results we’d rather not get. Then find the balance which will become our artistic voice within these multiple factors and try to repeat it adding and subtracting variables as we go. (400 examples of my practice drawings available in this HUGE book of sketches! “400 Mornings“)

The reason I try to draw every day is because I need the practice. I’m on my 486th drawing in a row and what I can tell you for certain is only this: I’ve gotten a little bit better accepting what I get. Some days I like the results a lot more than others. Some days I almost wonder why I bothered. Often I have to be content with kind of a crumby drawing knowing somewhere in the effort something good was begun or some old habit moved away from. In this way I’m often certain I’ve learned something. Sometimes all I’ve learned though is to be nice to myself for at least trying even when I wasn’t much n the mood, or devoid of any original idea or solution.

Black Cat Dancer

Black Cat Dancer

The days when I create a little vignette that otherwise wouldn’t have existed had I not made the effort that ends up delighting some viewers when I post it somewhere – those are the exception and those days give me just the boost I need to make it through the tougher more typical ones.