I believe that almost anyone can learn to draw, much as almost anyone learns to talk and to write. Drawing is just another method of communication. When folks see a “good drawer” at work they immediately look in awe at the wonderful technique and then almost always say “It must be wonderful to have a gift like that, I wish I could do it.” How many times have you heard that statement? It is said as though you haven’t had to work at becoming skilled and that only folks born with the skill will ever be able to do it. Is this a divine gift? Well my special gift has been worked on and developed over the past fifty odd years.
Although it is said that the teaching of drawing took a backward step in art schools during the 1960’s, I must have been fortunate. As students we were expected to spend about a third of our time working from the model or some set up. We were taught the importance of drawing as a basis for visual communication and its importance to not just we fine artists, but to graphic artists, architects, designers and everyone in the visual communication business. For artists, drawing is the basic tool in which they carry out their research. Their visual ideas are developed through drawing.
Going back to my first sentence, that I believe that anyone can learn to draw in much the same way that folks can learn to write. It is considered normal and important for teachers to teach the construction of sentences and to teach us to communicate in a literary way. Why is it not considered the norm to teach how the visual world can also be analysed and this analysis translated into a form of visual language called “drawing?”
Learning to draw and becoming an artist is not the same thing. In the same way as we can be taught to write we cannot be taught to be a great author or poet. In both cases how great you become is dependent upon what use you make of the visual or verbal language that you are using.