I have a pet peeve. I hear something a lot when I speak to people about art. And it’s always the same. They’ll say the line, laugh and shake their head. Then smile at me like they came up with a great joke. The line is:
“I can’t even draw a stick figure!”
This has really started to bother me in recent years. I have a part-time job as a painting instructor. Every so often there will be an open house for classes and I’ll stand there doing a demo and ask people if they want to sign up for a class. I can’t tell you the amount of times people will tell me they can’t draw a stick figure. It’s their immediate reaction to my question and seeing my paintings. It’s either “I can’t even draw a stick figure” or “Oh, I could never do that.”
Of course it’s completely facetious. Anyone can draw a stick figure (barring some physical disability). The quality of the stick figure depends on:
- your experience
- your knowledge
- the effort you put into it
People always ask artists how long it took them to paint something. One of my illustration professors answered that question with: “Around 20 hours…and 35 years.” (I’m paraphrasing. It was over four years ago.) That’s a great answer. A piece of art isn’t just the number of hours spent working on it. It is also the result of the time spent learning and practicing.
I’m not saying it’ll take you decades to see results. No. But you’re not going to improve if you don’t even start. So please don’t tell me you can’t draw a stick figure. You can. I have the utmost faith in you.
Thus endeth the rant.
If you’re curious about some of my process then check out my Little Red video.