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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!
Can You Learn To Draw? Or Is It A Natural Talent?
You can learn how to draw. Drawing is a skill that can be learned and improved. Talent makes it easier to improve that skill, but anyone can learn to draw with enough time and dedication.
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.
Getting really good at drawing and painting requires a lot of time and repetition.
“Repetition is the mother of skill.”
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.”
Can You Learn To Draw At Any Age?
It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can learn to draw at any age. It’s easier to learn drawing at a young age, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it when you’re older.
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.
After all, contrary to what some people think, drawing isn’t just for kids.
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” by Malcolm 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.
CHECK OUT: What Actually Makes A Drawing “Good”?
All this means though is this:
The learning process never ends.
Can You Keep Improving At Drawing?
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. (Check out all the mediums I use here.)
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.
Can Anyone Learn To Draw? Yes, Here’s The Proof!
Anyone can learn to draw, as long as he/she 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.
If you need proof that anyone 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.
If you want to get into drawing faces, check out my beginner face drawing tutorial.
After that, I recommend my article on drawing shadows on a face.
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!
Check out my 30 best art tips to improve faster than ever!
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
Is It Easy To Learn How To Draw?
Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to learn to draw. Becoming a great artist requires experience you can only gain through years of deliberate practice. Luckily, the rate of progress is fastest at the beginning of your drawing journey.
See, I’m not writing this post to discourage you, but to motivate you to start – today!
Taking your first steps as an artist becomes much easier if you 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.
This 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!
Improve Faster With My FREE e-Book!
Learn how to MASTER drawing in 5 easy steps with my FREE PDF guide!
Discover a methodical way to learn drawing effectively!
Can You Teach Yourself To Draw? And Where Do You Start?
Yes, you can absolutely teach yourself to draw. Two examples of famous artists who are entirely self-taught are Vincent van Gogh and Henri Rousseau. Especially with today’s possibilities of online courses and YouTube videos, it’s entirely possible to learn drawing by yourself.
So, if you’ve finally decided to start to learn drawing… where exactly do you begin?
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.
Then I recommend you to read my following beginner articles:
Articles To Teach Yourself To Draw
If you’re a rank beginner, this article will show you where to start. It guides you through your first steps and offers some helpful advice any beginner must know.
This article is all about practicing. It explains the reasons why your art isn’t improving as fast as you would like – and it shows you the right way to practice, so that you can learn drawing fast.
This piece sets the stage for how you should approach creating artwork in general and lists several important topics you have to concern yourself with.
These articles should already help you a lot when trying to teach yourself to draw.
A Great Digital Drawing Course For Beginners
If you don’t want to spend hours browsing through different articles and videos, you can get it all at once: Matt Fussel’s course The Secrets To Drawing is a complete drawing course that teaches you everything from A to Z.
For just 30$ it offers over 5 hours of video and 26 ebooks with detailed pictures.
YouTube Channels To Learn Drawing
Drawing and painting are visual things, so YouTube is actually a great resource to learn to draw.
Here are some good YouTube channels for that matter:
Shameless plug – I’d be really happy if you checked out my little channel. There’s some stuff I put a lot of effort into. It might help you. 🙂
A cool channel with short (as well as long) videos for beginners. Some of them are beautifully animated and pretty funny!
3. Marc Brunet
One of my inspirations! Marc has a great YouTube channel for beginners, as well as advanced artists. He breaks down many drawing concepts effectively and gives a lot of digital art tips. And those intros!
If you want to learn figure drawing or portrait drawing, you must check out Stan Prokopenko’s channel. Sort the videos by “most popular” and you will find those old anatomy drawing gems.
5. Marco Bucci
Your go-to channel for all things painting. Marco offers a lot of great tutorials with in-depth tips on digital painting. His videos never cease to amaze and are a must for every artist.
With these articles and videos, you can definitely teach yourself to draw!
If you’re still unsure where to begin, just start with these two videos:
I’d love to see some of your first drawings posted in the comments!
Good luck and have fun!