This spring I was invited to write a guest post about the importance of drawing in everyday life for the Roundhouse Community Centre blog in relation to the Vancouver Draw Down. A post I wrote on this subject in 2009, The importance of drawing, has long been one of the most widely read posts on this blog.
As someone who draws almost every day, teaches drawing and presents drawing workshops to folks who don’t normally draw, I’ve thought a lot about why drawing is so important. Here’s a revised version my latest consideration of this topic:
It’s so easy to become overly focused on the practical aspects of our daily lives. In doing so, we forget the importance of activities that allow us to reconstitute ourselves as individuals within a world of possibilities. The act of drawing is a ready opportunity to attend to our psyches. Drawing can and should be for everyone.
When someone says, “I can’t draw,” I refuse to believe them. There are so many ways to draw: based on observation, memories, the imagination or the random movement of a tool across a surface. We drew as children and chances are you still draw—when you doodle, make maps, sign your name…
Contrary to popular belief it’s not hard to draw. It doesn’t require special tools or knowledge. Drawing doesn’t need a purpose or agenda. It’s about creating marks and communicating with ourselves and others. No drawing is ever perfect, in fact, a drawing’s failure may be its greatest strength.
Drawing is a practice. The best way to learn to draw is to do it over and over again. The process of drawing, the pleasure of creating a mark on a surface, is as important as the outcome.
Drawing is about noticing relationships between things and making comparisons. It’s about recognizing the possibility for improvement, while appreciating what has already been accomplished. It’s about handling materials and working with and against the tendencies of those materials. It’s about noticing something new about the subject or the process every time you draw.
Drawing is a form of meditation. It’s about being committed to the here-and-now, staying attentive to the hand as it moves across the page.
Drawing isn’t necessarily a solitary activity. Great pleasure can be found in drawing side-by-side with others as well was through collaborative drawing. Shared drawing can help overcome outcome anxiety through the process of creative exchange. Our individual creativity is both generated and celebrated as it interacts with the creativity of others.
The act of drawing is an opportunity to create and recreate ourselves every day.
(Image is a detail from a 2011 daily drawing project, discussed here.)