June 28, 2012


I love to draw. That's a lie. I loved to draw. That's a lie too, at least part of it, most of it is a lie. I love the idea of drawing. I draw like I do most things--not very well, but I refuse to admit that I cannot do it. I refuse to be the type of person who says, I can't draw, I can't sing, I can't, I can't, because the truth is that I can. You can. We all can do anything-- all we have to do is do it. I don't mean that in the cliche way, "You can do anything you put your mind to." I just mean, although you might not do something well, that doesn't mean that you can't simply sit down and do it.

When people say they can't draw or sing or dance or whatever, what they really mean to say is, "I can't draw to the level that most people consider good, and because I am afraid and embarrassed that you will judge and mock my lack of talent, I simply won't even try." This is attitude is harmful to our creativity and self-esteem, because most of us will never feel we are good enough to create art, the result being that most people miss out on the benefits of creating art, because they don't feel they have talent. I enjoy the feeling of creation, regardless the quality of the product.

When I was younger, I drew often. I often had a sketch book and would spend hours sketching faces, bodies, whatever I could see. I loved the time I spent chiseling a drawing trying to get it right. The thing about drawing is that it forces you to really see. Whether you are going for a realistic interpretation of a person or an object, or if you want capture the Picassoian essence of something, you have to spend time seeing it.

I haven't drawn anything in years, so I knew I had to act when I saw this poster the other night, while on the Interwebz.

I went to the store and bought a little blank journal, a few pens and committed myself to this thirty-day challenge. 

Not sure where to start, I grabbed a pencil and began drawing myself.  I had no intention to make it look like me, I immediately began to tense up and went down the path of realism. As soon as I committed to make it look like me, I began to criticize and guess my work--looks too fat, the face is too long, the eyes are uneven--it's not very good. For better or for worse, I spent about 30 minutes on it.

The irony is that all I see when I look at this portrait are the flaws, the parts I didn't get right.  I hope that I can get over this self-criticism at the end of thirty days. I want to lose myself in a few drawings and simply let the drawings escape my fingertip and ignite on the page. This project is not meant to prove whether or not I can draw. I am not concerned whether my thirty sketches are good or not. I hope to seldom attempt realism. I just want to spend a few hours a week with a pen or pencil in hand and scribble on the page. I want to see. I want to look. I want to feel and try and draw.

I will post all 30 of the pics in a set called  Daily Drawing on Flickr, if you want to stay tuned. I encourage you to join me and please add a link to where you are sharing your work in the comments below.

Do you draw? Why or why not? Why do you think so many adults doubt their artistic abilities? When do we learn that we are not good enough to even try?


  1. You bring this home so well Jabiz, I'm more and more interested in the ways to nudge people who say "U can't do X" to just try X.

    My first reaction is exactly that "I can't draw" which is silly since the mechanics tools are not the challenge

    Thanks for the challenges, I'm going to borrow some for the da106 daily create (can you send me the source where this is from?).

    I'm curious about what you describe as "flaws" in your drawing... that in itself has some measured level of achievement you are comparing it too. What is right about it? I would clearly see it as you, not the photographic representation but a suggestion of your characteristics. Or an exaggeration.

    Good on you as always for jumping in withe full force

  2. Anonymous8:59 PM

    You are so right about the inner voice that criticizes. Where does that come from? From being a child who is told to "stay inside the lines", the sky needs to be blue not green, dogs have four legs, your picture must look like mine and so on... Often a child' ability to imagine and create is slowly replaced with crafts, where all pictures look like the model provided. So, draw .. Doodle .. Dabble.. Sketch.. Scratch .. You will soon find the rythm of your own pencil. Get creative, be bold and turn off the voice that says"what will others think". Embrace the inner child that paints a sky green and draws 2 tails on a puppy and then puts it on the fridge. All the best, Sherry, chair of the department of Childhood Studies,