The Most Common Comment/Question

When I tell someone that I teach art, the most common comment that I hear is “I’d love to, but I just can’t draw.” This is usually a plea or challenge based on the the next comment: “I guess that I just have no talent.”

I fact, I have taught a couple of well attended classes comprised solely of people who had, at one time, told me that they could not learn to draw. Several people in these classes learned to enjoy practicing drawing and even went so far as to begin carrying a sketchbook to capture interesting ideas or just to hone their skills in odd moments.

Most people are convinced of “talent – you either have it or you don’t.” After years of teaching  foundation art skills to freshman college students, I have seen ample proof that desire and willingness to “try something new” counts more towards developing and enjoying graphic art skills than a perception of “talent” Frequently, in fact, students who are convinced of their talent make the least progress and enjoy the classes the least.

So, as I see it, “talent” is simply a propensity to learn a skill. Developing skills that will allow you to enjoy creating graphic art is similar to learning to dance, read, or ride a bicycle. Basically, it comes down to desire, a bit of courage, willingness to make a “mistake” (you don’t know what you don’t know), and a little guidance as to how to see the drawing in the reality or the painting in the emotion (that’s where a good teacher comes in).

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