August 4, 2011

Of Pencils and Possibilities

There's always a lot of noise in the art world about the definition of art, and who deserves to wear the Artist title and who doesn't -- admittedly a gray area. And it's a title I've been very reluctant to take for myself.

Most of the reluctance stems from the fact that I can't draw well. Even as a 4th grader that was painfully clear. It kept me from entertaining any thoughts of going to art school. And even though I know that drawing is a skill that can be taught (and that there's so much more to art than drawing), so firmly had I affixed the label "non-artist" to myself that it superseded my knowledge of those facts.

So I came to art via a long and winding path on which I studiously avoided picking up a pencil whenever I could. However, this year I decided to face my drawing demons and took on a 365 day Creativity Challenge to do a drawing every day for a year. It took me two years to work up to even thinking I could possibly do it (and so far I remain truly draw-o-phobic.)

So I count it as a great victory that this week I bought a case for my pencils and erasers. Sure, it was only 69 cents, but that was 69 cents I wouldn't have invested in drawing 3 months ago. It has polka dots! So I couldn't resist it . . .and it represents a step.

day 46 of the drawing challenge

I will never be able to draw with photo-realism. I don't even want to. I mostly just hope to improve my ability to see, and increase my artistic self-esteem by slaying the drawing dragon.

I know that practice does not make perfect. But I am also learning that practice does introduce possibilities.

And in art, it's the pursuit of the possibility that keeps us creating.

Susan M. Hinckley
Small Works in Wool


  1. That absolutely blows my mind! How can you think that you cannot draw? Your work is all based on your drawings! Or, do you make a distinction between cartoon-type line drawings and the realistic stuff? I am totally confused and baffled because I wish I could draw like YOU!

  2. Susan, your art is imaginative, fun and beautiful. You can draw, but just with different tools! I too am just beginning to draw -- taking my first class ever (despite the fact that I've been creating art for a bunch of years now). And it really is all about developing your ability to see, which you've probably been doing intuitively all along...

  3. Thanks, friends -- I guess it's not being able to draw in any kind of realistic manner that makes me feel like a second class citizen in the art world. I specialize in "charmingly naive" which is fine for what I do, but I've wanted to grow my skill base for a long time. So even though I'm still drawing in my own style, I'm trying to sharpen up a bit on things like perspective, add a little dimension to my drawings, and make sure that when I draw a horse you can tell it isn't a cat.

  4. Good for you for facing your fear. I have some drawing ability but I admit that I don't sketch often because I'm easily intimidated by the blank page. For some reason, that doesn't happen to me with fabric and thread.

    For what it's worth, a friend recently told me that fear stands for

    I believe there is evidence in this post that you can draw and have come a long way. Thx for sharing.:)


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