Can You Learn To Draw?

Can you learn to draw?

Can you actually teach yourself to draw and paint?

Is drawing a talent or a skill?

Can anyone learn to create fine art or are some people just hopelessly lost and will never be able to draw or paint as well as the amazing artists they admire?

You’re about to find out!


Is Drawing A Talent Or A Skill?

Drawing is a skill, but talent can make it easier to improve that skill.

Someone who is called “naturally talented” in drawing generally just has better visual/spatial intelligence than other people.

That means he or she is inherently good at grasping things visually, measuring distances, observing colors and more.

(There are actually 9 types of intelligence with visual/spatial intelligence being just one of them.)

This inherent ability is useful, but nobody gets born being able to draw picture-perfect artworks with correct proportions, perspective and beautiful colors.

Drawing is still a skill that can be learned and improved. Talent makes it easier to improve that skill, but anyone can do it with enough time and dedication.

Getting really good at drawing and painting requires a lot of time and repetition.

“Repetition is the mother of skill.”
-Tony Robbins

Even if you’re not naturally talented, you can become very proficient.

All great artists have put years and years into their craft. It’s not just talent but mileage.

“You are what you do repeatedly.”
-Aristotle

Can You Learn Drawing And Painting At Any Age?

Can you learn drawing at any age?

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can learn drawing and painting at any age.

Of course, it’s easier to learn anything at a young age, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Research has shown that motivation is a key factor in our ability to learn new things even at an old age.

On the one hand, your mind maybe isn’t as sharp as it once was anymore.

But on the other hand, things like discipline and work ethic might actually be much better than when you were younger.

It all depends on your drive and your perseverance. If you really want to learn drawing, you can do it.

Sure, the older you are, the less time you have to learn how to draw and paint. As a working adult, you have many more responsibilities than a kid that goes to school and can dedicate the whole afternoon to practicing drawing.

If you use the time you have effectively though, you can still become an awesome artist in the later years of your life.

A very inspiring example is that of Grandma Moses.

She was an American woman who took up painting at the ripe age of 78 (!) years. She was quite successful up until she died at 101 years of age.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Drawing?

There is no clear answer to the question of how long it takes to learn drawing.

Learning to draw something can take anywhere from a few minutes or hours to a couple of years.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to master anything.

It’s called the “10,000 hours rule”. It was made famous by the bestselling book “Outliers” of Malcom Gladwell. (It’s pretty cheap on Amazon right here.)

But this is a very vague guideline.

It may apply to one specific skill like hitting a baseball with a bat. If you hit a baseball 10,000 times over a few years, you ought to be pretty good at it.

But drawing is much more than that.

For example, even if you spent 10,000 hours learning how to draw cars, you wouldn’t be able to draw humans convincingly.

It’s a matter of prioritization and also the complexity of what you want to draw.

If you take a measured approach, you can learn quickly though.

All this means though is this:

The Learning Process Never Ends

never stop learning

In the end every stroke you make on a surface will make you better at drawing in general.

But no matter how far you get in your journey as an artist, the learning never ends!

Becoming a great artist requires you to push yourself and try new things all the time.

Even if you are a master portrait artist, you may still struggle to draw animals or landscapes.

You will have a good base, for sure, but you will still have to learn new things and fail a few times.

That’s a good thing though.

The possibilities are endless and even after years of creating fine art you can still keep things fresh by learning to draw or paint new things or trying out new mediums.

(If you’ve been at it for a few years and you’re out of ideas, check out my 15 Drawing And Painting Ideas To Spark Your Creativity.)

Just don’t try to be a jack of all trades – and master of none.

To a certain degree, you have to narrow down the list of things you want to draw to become proficient at it.

Just like I prefer to draw mainly superhero-related stuff.

Proof That You Can Learn To Draw

anyone can learn to draw

If you need proof that you can learn to draw, I’ve got you covered. Let this be the motivation to start today.

1. Max Deutsch Learned Portrait Drawing in 30 Days

In his project called “Month to Master” writer Max Deutsch improved his portrait drawing skills immensely in just 30 days.

2. Progress Of 72 Different Artists

This article clearly shows that consistent practice leads to a marked improvement in your skills.

A lot of them went from “okay” to “amazing” in a few years. You can do it, too!

3. Me – Daniel Büsken

The Batman drawings above are both from me.

The left one is from 1999 and the right one from the beginning of 2019. I’m not the best artist in the world by a long shot, but I do have made some progress since I was a child.

If you’re interested, check out more of my early drawings and my progress in my bio.

4. TED Talk by Graham Shaw

Why You Should Start Learning To Draw Today

I’m not writing this post to discourage you, but to motivate you to start – today!

You can learn to draw, as long as you can hold a pencil. Even without natural talent, you will learn drawing, if you practice often. With enough motivation and dedication, anyone will learn drawing, if he/she believes in himself/herself.

Taking the first steps is never easy. It’s hard to start at square one.

But you must have the right mindset about it.

Try to see it this way:

The closer you are to the beginning of your journey, the greater the potential for improvement is.

Which essentially means:

You may be very bad at drawing right now, but you can improve more quickly than someone who has been drawing for years.

Take me for example again.

I’ve been drawing since I was a child and while I still have a long way to go, I can’t improve as quickly anymore as I could a few years ago.

LEARN DRAWING ON BLACK PAPER:
How To Draw On Black Paper: A Complete Guide

If you’re thinking about starting to learn drawing right now, realize that you will improve at the fastest rate at the beginning!

And seeing this rapid progress can be very motivating.

You might be able to go from “What the hell am I doing?” to “This actually looks pretty good!” in a relatively short amount of time, which in turn will push you to practice even more.

It’s a snowball effect of positive drawing energy if you will.

Think of a baby that’s learning how to walk:

In the beginning, it fails quite some times, but by getting up and trying again, it makes fast progress and can walk before you know it.

While moving more elegantly takes longer to learn, the basics can be acquired in a short amount of time.

It’s the same with creating art.

So, don’t put it off any longer and start drawing right now!

How Do You Start To Learn Drawing?

how to start drawing

If you’ve finally decided to start to learn drawing… where exactly do you start?

First, I suggest you just START and get your feet wet. Just doodle around with a pencil and HAVE FUN.

After all, that’s what drawing should be about. Switch off your perfectionism and just sketch something.

If you’ve done that and are serious, I highly recommend my guide on How To Draw Anything.

It sets the stage for how you should approach creating artwork in general and lists several important topics you have to concern yourself with.

It’s also important that you learn how to practice effectively:

You can’t just create finished artworks, you also need to do some dedicated practice from time to time. For this, read my article What Is The Best Way To Improve Your Art?.

Furthermore, drawing and painting are a visual thing, so YouTube is actually a great resource to learn drawing.

If you like this article, check out my YouTube channel.

Here are some other good videos for beginners to check out:

Look around on YouTube, there’s a lot of great tutorials for beginners there.

A great professional channel for beginners, as well as more experienced artists, is Proko.

Finally, I want to leave you with a special trick:

If you want to get better faster, flip your images horizontally every now and then. You will be amazed by the results. Read my article Why Does My Art Look Weird When I Flip It? to learn how it can help you to see your own mistakes and improve much more quickly.

I’d love to see some of your first drawings posted in the comments!

Good luck and have fun!

P.S.: Just to let you know: I’m also on Instagram and Facebook. I’d appreciate it, if you check it out!

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