Can’t draw

Give a little child paints or crayons and tell them to draw something they nearly always willingly do so and are really pleased with the result. They enjoy making their picture and are proud of what they have produced… but somehow, at some point, most of these little artists decide they can’t draw or paint, they’re no good at it, and their pictures aren’t any good either… How does this happen? Why does it happen?

Did someone, at some point, tell them they weren’t any good – maybe another classmate, a friend, a teacher, or maybe they themselves looked what they had done and compared it to someone else’s work (maybe a quite unrealistic comparison, for example their art teacher, or a famous artist…)

I’m not suggesting that everyone is a brilliant artist, of course they are not; but everyone should be able to draw something, paint something, make something, and enjoy doing it and be pleased with the result, even if it isn’t what they intended, or doesn’t look how they imagined it!

My husband teaches an art class of adults and the most common thing they say is that they can’t draw or paint – they say they love doing it and really enjoy the activity… but they can’t do it and what they produce isn’t any good… They come to his class and he tries to prove them wrong, and bring out the eight year-old who was pleased with the work s/he produced.

It’s the same with writing… I’m never going to be a great writer like my favourite author, John le Carré, but I enjoy what I do and I’m pleased on the whole with what I do. In my writing classes, as my husband does in his art classes, I want to help people produce something, and enjoy doing that, and then feel pleased with what they have at the end… even if it isn’t quite as they intended!


  1. anne54

    There’s a great book “Drawing in the right side of the brain” that addresses this issue of internal criticism. It has a range of activities that turns the more dominant, rational left brain off and allows the right, creative side to flourish. May be worth a peek for your husband.

    Liked by 1 person

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