Can you draw? When people ask this question, they usually mean: Can you draw realistically?

Hi, my name is Carrie, and here at Artist Strong, I help artists build their skills and develop their unique voice. Today, we are going to talk about the importance of drawing in your art.

While not all art requires realism, developing these skills will give you more opportunities to create skillful and unique art.

Drawing requires training your eye to “see” like an artist. 

Our brain takes in way more stimuli than we can consciously handle. Part of its job is to filter through that stimuli and decide what’s important for us to observe. The kind of detail artists observe isn’t required in everyday life.

We have to train our brain to see this information. We have to tell our brain that it’s worth our time to observe this level of detail. Drawing is the practice of training our eyes to see and our pencil or pen to communicate what we observe.

Drawing is a chance to develop our use of art theory

Drawing can help us understand how we make formal choices with our art. Formal art decisions essentially mean how we use the elements and principles of art. We can use drawing practice to explore the elements and principles of art.

How do we already use them in our art? Which element or principle will best communicate our goals? This is how you begin to develop your unique artist voice.

Self-taught artists have repeatedly shared with me their worry that someone will look at their art and think, “She must be self-taught” 

This comes from a place of fear or insecurity that their art hasn’t reached a certain standard (yet). This can make some feel like impostors and even uncomfortable calling themselves artists.

There is an answer to this problem: ensure your skills are so strong that no one (most importantly, you) will question your decision to make and share your art.

If you can draw anything you want, you can paint, sculpt, etc., anything you desire. Imagine feeling confident enough to create anything you want?!

Choose abstraction from a place of empowerment. 

In my 20 years as a teacher, I’ve found that the most empowered abstract artists confidently choose their genre because they know, without question, that it is what makes their heart sing.

Unfortunately, I’ve also had many confess that they are exploring abstraction because they are scared or insecure about their ability to draw or paint realistically. “What if abstraction is all I can do?!”

First, let’s be clear that exploring abstraction requires skill and a sound knowledge of art theory to do it well. It can also be a wonderful way to start exploring art interests without having to worry about getting it right.

But if you have a fear that you are limiting yourself or not fully embracing your genre because you worry about skill, you can do something about it!

Learn to draw well so you can use the skills you develop to jump back into abstraction, confident that you chose this genre because it’s your passion.

What if learning to draw allows you to become the artist you’ve always wanted to be?

Before we wrap up today, I’d love to know: what’s your take on today’s conversation? Is there something you would add? Please share more in the comments below.

I’m passionate about encouraging all artists to learn how to draw, and today I touched upon more practical reasons for making this choice.

Deep down, my heart cries for everyone to feel permission to show up and make their art, and if helping you learn to draw can do that, then let’s go.

When we all show up for our creative interests, we make this world a better place.

Thanks for reading. Remember: proudly call yourself an artist.

Together, we are Artist Strong.