Phil McAndrew encourages everyone to Draw Like a Six-Year_Old. That’s easy. As a matter of fact I do draw like a six-year-old. But that’s not quite what he means.
The thing that really struck me, working with a classroom full of six-year-olds, was that kids draw without any reservations or inhibitions. They just have fun and are excited about putting their ideas down on paper, about making something tangible with just a marker and their imagination. And if they’re young enough, it doesn’t matter how primitive or messy their drawings might look. When it comes to drawing, kids are FEARLESS.
But at some point in life most people stop drawing. Once again, I don’t have any official scientific data to back this up, but I’d bet money that something like eight or nine out of ten adults will tell you that they “can’t draw.” Most adults are extremely reluctant to even attempt drawing. At some point in life most people, for some reason, flip from having fun and enjoying the act of drawing to being afraid to even try. They become convinced that drawing is something that they simply aren’t capable of.
I have several issues with this. One, he assumes that just because someone says “I can’t draw,” they are afraid to draw. It really irks me when people make this fear assumption. It’s stupid. Does it never occur to these people that maybe the reason – the only reason – that a person doesn’t do something is that he doesn’t want to? It’s not fun anymore; it’s not rewarding; we have better things to do.
Another thing, is that Mr. Artist Guy makes the same mistake as a great many talented people: thinking that their talent is nothing special and anyone could do what they do if they would just keep practicing. Sorry, that is not true of everyone. Yes it’s true that some people assume they won’t be able to do a thing and never even try. (like sewing or playing an instrument) But everyone has tried drawing and at some point most of us realize, “Hey, no matter how much I practice I’m not going to get any better at this. I’ve reached my limit. Time to move on.”
Another mistake is assuming that for our entire lives we are all going to keep on liking the same things we liked when we were six. I do still like some of the things I liked when I was six. Others, not so much. Most kids really do lose their enthusiasm for drawing as they grow up and become interested in other things. Then later, as adults, we start thinking, “I wish I could draw.” But most people who say that don’t really wish it all that much. Mostly they are just admiring and envying the talents of others and have no desire to actually spend time doing it themselves. A few of us actually try and discover that we’re no better at it than when we were eight and that it’s not even especially fun anymore. Maybe some of us actually do think, “Maybe if I practiced I could get a little better at it. I’ll never be a real artist but I’ll do this for myself, just for fun,” but we find that we actually get bored with drawing pretty quickly. And so we decide it’s just not our thing and we move on.
Having said all that, I will admit that I do wish I could draw. I wish I could paint realistic looking pictures. I wish I could even paint reasonably interesting abstract pictures. A few years ago I bought a sketch pad. It is mostly unused. I just couldn’t really get into drawing. That’s not to say I won’t ever try again. I still have the sketch pad. Maybe someday, when I have nothing to sew and nothing to read and there’s nothing fun on the Internet, maybe then I’ll give it another try.