Can you draw? Can you take your pencil right now and draw a boy in a ball cap? No? Okay.
Can you take your pencil right now and write the words “boy in a ball cap”? Yes? Great.
Why can you do one but not the other? Well, according to online drawing tutor Shoo Rayner, you have been taught since elementary school to write with a pencil, and you have practiced it for many years. How many letter o’s do you estimate you have written in your life? No wonder you are so good at it.
But hardly anyone exclaims in astonishment or slaps you on the back for writing the letter o on the paper. Not like they would if you could draw a boy in a ball cap. They might even call you “gifted,” “magic,” or a “genius” for drawing the boy, whereas they would not award you such praise for the letter o. People think drawing is much more than a skill.
But Shoo Rayner begs to differ. He claims that if we were taught drawing and practiced it as much as we do writing, we could all be skilled at drawing.
Apparently, our society values printed or cursive writing more highly than drawing. In fact, all kinds of art training has been cut from public education. I think we are starting to see the effects of the loss of art, music, and technical training in our young people. Some of them seem lost, incompetent, and fearful of taking a risk. Perhaps they have lost confidence because their skills are limited to academics. Can they draw? Cook? Build anything? Play a tune?
Skills can be taught if we value them enough to teach them. Drawing, like writing, is one such skill. Humor me. Take your pencil and draw a boy in a ball cap. You may surprise yourself with your latent skill.