Does the thought of drawing scare you? What makes adults so afraid to draw? Why do we stop drawing?
Many of us became afraid in about the fourth or fifth grade; before that, we were UNSTOPPABLE DRAWING MACHINES!
According to LYNDA BARRY, artist and writer of What it Is and its companion Picture This, “One of the reasons why we stop drawing, at least with kids, is a piece of paper is a place for something to happen. And for adults, it’s a thing. And it’s either a good thing or a bad thing.”
When did it go from having fun to being afraid to even try?
Maybe when you were younger you were drawing your favorite mermaid with little fishies swimming all around her. You thought your drawing was ‘bad’ (not the bad bad, but the good bad). You look across to your friend’s drawing of a mermaid and fishies, and it looks just like an actual mermaid and fishies!
Suddenly yours looks like Drizella with a tail. You were shuckin’ and a jivin’ – but, meh, not so much anymore. You give up. You think, ‘I HATE DRAWING!’You’re going to have to go with Plan B and become a Mathematician (voted best job for 2014 by USA Today) where you know there is no drawing requirement.
Am I describing YOU? As the founder of Artkin, I hear it all the time — ‘Oh, I can’t draw.’
Self-consciousness takes over. Self-doubt. Stress.
I find it an exciting challenge to get those very people to put oil pastel (because that’s what we use at Artkin) to paper. It’s my personal mission, I tell you! Click here for some tips!
Sometimes I’m asked to facilitate at an Artkin party. And, when I do, I automatically gravitate to those that I hear fretting about drawing. They’ve been telling themselves ‘No!’ for so many years, it’s habit. It’s also a habit that they don’t even try.
So, I sit down right next to them, real close. I quietly remind them —
‘It’s like filling in a coloring page when you were six.
You have an Artkin template under your art paper to use as your guide. It’s only paper. There’s MORE of it.’ I gently tell them, ‘Pick a color and fill in that shape. Now layer another color over it and blend. Now go to the next shape. It’s all just shapes.’
What’s the worst that can happen? Art jail?
You’ll start choking, throw yourself on the floor, shaking all over? I guarantee you’ll survive. Best of all, you’ll be proud of yourself—you will challenge yourself and conquer your fear. You will learn and grow.
Draw like an eight year old — it’s okay. Praise yourself for not giving up — HOORAY for YOU!
Challenge yourself just once this week. Use the back of your gas company envelope and draw something in the room. Anything. It’s just a shape—and there are some other smaller shapes inside of it. This is just for you. You never have to show anybody. Please let me know in the box below that you survived. If you don’t let me know, I’ll worry. Good for you!
— Barbara Balkin, founder and ARTkinIST