Contributed by Lucy Wyndham
Pictures by Margaret Johnson
World-renowned writer and illustrator Beatrix Potter, who was best known for her series of children’s books such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit once said: “I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.” While learning to draw is not a skill that is acquired overnight, there really is no age limit to attaining new artistic skills. In truth, it is never too late to start drawing. A long as you have the passion and willingness to learn, nothing is ever completely outside your reach.
A lot of the barriers faced in terms of age are merely mental barriers which can easily be overcome once you start believing in yourself and your ability to succeed in whatever you put your mind to. Adults are prone to making excuses when they doubt their own abilities and it is no different where drawing is concerned. You don’t need to be able to compete with the best artists in the world in order to enjoy drawing. You simply need to make the decision to start, and enjoy the process of learning and developing.
Reasons to start drawing as an adult
Apart from the sheer pleasure obtained from drawing, it also holds numerous benefits to those who engage in it on a regular basis. While the development of fine motor skills is especially prevalent in young children who draw, adults can expect to enjoy a variety of benefits themselves which includes being distracted by difficult problems and situations. Drawing furthermore provides us with a positive outlet for our unspoken thoughts and feelings, completely relaxing while creating beautiful pieces of art.
How to start drawing as an adult
Children have very few expectations when it comes to drawing which is why they do it with so much ease. When you first start drawing as an adult you may be horrified by even your best efforts – this is perfectly normal. In order to draw well, you need to practice in a similar manner as to practicing a musical instrument. don’t be ashamed if your drawings resemble those of a very young child – they draw in a certain manner, not because of their age but rather their level of skill, and so do you. The sooner you pick up a pencil or pen and start drawing human features, animals, fruit or anything else you can imagine, the sooner you will improve, resulting in boosted confidence in your own abilities.
Don’t feel obliged to spend a small fortune on drawing supplies when just starting out. You can pick up a few pads of paper, together with a variety of pens and pencils from your nearest department store to begin with. Assign a small space in your home to yourself where you will be able to draw undisturbed and kit it out in a way that will make you feel both comfortable and inspired. Consider sticking up a few prints by your favorite artists and even have a radio or music player on standby to supply additional inspiration in a time of need. Start small, you can always purchase more supplies as your confidence and skill levels increase.
When learning to draw as an adult it is important to try and compensate for what might feel like ‘lost years’. Set goals for yourself and hone your newly-acquired skills to the best of your ability. Each goal you reach is a reason to celebrate and you are encouraged to do so. The art of drawing is a wondrous journey to embark on, cherish every moment on it and be proud of every drawing you pour your heart and soul into, regardless of how technically good, or it may be.
Consider jump starting your love of drawing through James Dean Erickson’s summer workshop “Draw Without Fear”.