I Draw Because… Why I Do Things I Don’t Feel Good At and You Should Too

I love writing. Like, love, love, love it. Sometimes I crave it to the point it almost hurts. I think I’m literally addicted. Having said that, I also really enjoy drawing. I’ve said before, I don’t consider myself an artist by any means, but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying sketching. I do it, not because my drawings are awesome, but because I like it. I’ve heard lots of people say, “Oh, I wish I could draw.” I always want to answer, “You can!” It doesn’t have to look perfect or be realistic, or anything like that. Stick figures totally count, and pretty much anybody can draw a stick figure. And guess what. The more I’ve drawn just because I like to, the better I’ve gotten. I’m still not all that spectacular, but I have learned things, and I have improved, just because I’ve done it.

sketch-book
One of my favorite things to draw are the people and scenes from my stories. Sometimes I try to make them look awesome, and sometimes I don’t do anything more extravagant than stick figures. It almost doesn’t matter. Here is why I draw, even when I don’t feel good at it.

1) It helps me visualize. If I can get a scene or a character down on paper, I can describe them better when it comes down to putting it into words.

2) It helps me hold on to details when I can’t write them down. Sometimes you can draw when you can’t write, like when you’re listening to something. In college, eight and a half years ago, I got a sketch book. I would draw a picture on one side while taking notes on lectures and devotionals on the opposite side. While thinking in words would have distracted me from what the person talking was saying, I could sketch out a visual and still comprehend the important things going on around me.

3) Sometimes words aren’t enough. As much as I love writing, I will admit, when you try to describe what is in your head, it still won’t be exactly the same in somebody else’s head. When you show them a picture, they suddenly see exactly what you do.

4) It helps me concentrate. Sometimes giving my hands something to do while I listened actually helped me pay better attention.

5) It makes me use different parts of my brain. It keeps my brain a little more well-rounded as I think in terms of images rather than words.

6) It is satisfying. When I start with a completely blank piece of paper and then watch as something emerges, it gives me a sense of satisfaction. Something that was not there before now exists because of me. It’s kind of a cool thought.

7) Because I like it. When all is said and done, I don’t really need another reason. I don’t have to be good at something in order to do it. If I like to do it, I should just do it. I’m not all that great at archery, but I do it. My thumb is about every color but green, but I still grow a garden each year because I love the feel and smell of the dirt, and the feeling I get as I watch the plants grow (despite my lack of gardening talent), and the satisfaction of picking the first fruits of my labor. It doesn’t matter if I’m not as good as somebody else. If I used that standard, I would never do anything, because I’ve learned no matter how good I am, or how hard I try, there will always be somebody who does it better. That’s okay. I draw because I like to draw.

To all those people out there who wish they could draw, but believe they can’t, it’s not true! You can draw! If you are putting a pencil (or pen, or crayon, or whatever) to paper and making marks that form even some sort of design or picture, you are drawing. Do it because you want to. Do it because it’s fun. Just do it! The same applies to anything else you want to do but hesitate because you don’t feel adequate. Stop worrying about it, and just do it!

What kind of things to you do just because you like it, and not necessarily because you are great at it?

P.S. I’m posting some of my pictures I’ve drawn here, because first of all, I’m hoping they will motivate somebody to say, “If she can do it, I can too,” and second, because I’m kind of hoping that they will make you wonder what is going on enough that you will want to read the book when it comes out (Yes, these ones are all scenes from my book. That’s not all I draw, but that’s what I’m putting here). None of these were drawn specifically for this post. In fact, I think they are all several years old.

 

stick-figures

A lovely example of stick figures. See, it doesn’t have to be gorgeous. It’s still drawing.

walking-in-the-river

I’ve got better, I’ve got worse.

ashlynn-climbing

This is one I’m actually kind of proud of. I promise, most of my drawings don’t turn out like this one. I got lucky.

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