By Tim Suddeth
For the last few months, I’ve been thinking about taking up
sketching. I think it would be fun to be able to draw, either something I’m studying or in my mind, and to draw it well enough that others can tell what it is.
Do you remember the pictures we did school? We would bring them home and our moms would put them on the fridge. They would say, “That’s lovely, honey. What is it?”
I want to do that again, without the “What is it?”
My sweet wife has collected sketchpads, pencils, paints, and how-to books for me. Now, if I were younger, I’d look on YouTube for instruction. But I’m old. I ask folks.
“Do you draw?”
And their answers have all been, “I can’t.”
Why do we label ourselves like that?
I didn’t ask if they had a drawing in a museum, if they majored in drawing, or even if they draw on their job.
Do I draw, or dance, or skydive, or play bridge, or any of the hundreds of things I’ve never tried?
But that doesn’t mean I can’t. Does it?
Almost anything you do, takes practice. Sewing, swimming, writing. Well, maybe not writing. Any moron can do that. But anything that takes talent or skill takes practice.
I should respond, “Have you tried?”
And going to kindergarten doesn’t count. Then again, maybe it should. Back then, weren’t we much more daring to try things without worrying about the results?
Just because no one could recognize your friend’s face, or that it was supposed to be a bear, didn’t mean you could never, ever draw. It just meant you were 0 for 1.
If you were in baseball, you could have been headed to the Hall of Fame. You didn’t have to turn in your uniform.
So, how can we say we can’t, when we’ve never tried? We can say that we’ve never done something. I’ve never drawn a waterfall. That’s legitimate. But that’s a lot different from proclaiming “I can’t”, right?
I’m sure you can see the problem. We are so quick to label ourselves. And once we stick on the label, it’s hard to peel it off. By stating you can’t, you never try, so you never do.
And that could be a shame.
My sketch Monday was supposed to be a clock. Except I can’t draw a circle. Or a straight line. (Hence, my need for more practice.) But it made a sort of realistic human face. The eyes were good. Ears, they’ll have to come later. Hair? Ehh. I added another face and it made a good couple.
It’s not ready for the fridge, yet. But it’s a start.
My goal in learning how to draw isn’t to get in an art show, or even to sell a picture. But wouldn’t it be fun to return from a trip to the mountains or the beach and have a drawing of something I saw; the view from a mountain top, the Angel Oak, or a baby deer with spots.
And, maybe, if I slowed down enough to draw the details, who knows what else I could discover.
‘I can’t’ will never do anything.
So before we say, “I can’t”, let’s stop and think. Maybe the better response would be, “I’ve never done that. Yet.”