I can’t draw either, but it’s still fun to try

This is a great piece by Roger Ebert on the value of creating art for yourself, no matter how rudimentary. I strongly suggest you read it if you ever feel the urge to draw (or dance or sing or take pictures or play with sidewalk chalk). But in the event that free time is currently lacking, here are some wonderful tidbits which I think present a compelling case for making your own art:

The break in our childish innocence comes the first time we use an eraser. We draw a chin and think it looks nothing like a chin, and in frustration we erase it. That’s it. Our bond of trust with our artistic instinct has been severed. We will be erasing for the rest of our lives. I speak here not of great and accomplished artists, for whom I hold great awe, but for you and me, whose work, let’s face it, will not soon be given a gallery show.

What you draw is an invaluable and unique representation of how you saw at that moment in that place according to your abilities. That’s all we want. We already know what a dog really looks like.

 

In Paris, London, Venice, Cannes, I found corners to establish myself. I published a book about Cannes that was illustrated with my deeply flawed sketches — but they were perfect, you see, because they recorded faithfully whatever I drew at that time and that place. That was the thing no one told me about. By sitting somewhere and sketching something, I was forced to really look at it, again and again, and ask my mind to translate its essence through my fingers onto the paper. The subject of my drawing was fixed permanently in my memory. Oh, I “remember” places I’ve been and things I’ve seen. I could tell you about sitting in a pub on Kings’ Road and seeing a table of spike-haired kids starting a little fire in an ash tray with some lighter fluid. I could tell you, and you would be told, and that would be that. But in sketching it I preserved it. I had observed it.

I found this was a benefit that rendered the quality of my drawings irrelevant. Whether they were good or bad had nothing to do with their most valuable asset: They were a means of experiencing a place or a moment more deeply … Conscious thought was what I had to escape, so I wouldn’t think, Wait! This doesn’t look anything like that tree! or I wish I knew how to draw a tree! I began to understand why Annette said finish every drawing you start. By abandoning perfectionism you liberate yourself to draw your way. And nobody else can draw the way you do.

As I will be the first to admit, I cannot “draw” worth a damn in the conventional sense. But every now and then I find intense delight in picking up my trusty box of 64 Crayolas and just going nuts on a blank piece of paper. The few drawings that I have incorporated into my journal are some of my favorite things to share with others, not because they will impress them, but because they are unique representations of me that could not have been created by anybody but me.

With that in mind, go out and create something for yourself; and most importantly, HAVE FUN!!

 

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