Learning How to See
Self

Learning How to See

I’ve started trying to learn how to draw. It’s one of those things that I’ve always thought I was terrible at. I’ve been getting artier with my bullet journal and enjoying it immensely. My hand lettering is getting better, even my handwriting is getting better! So drawing seemed like the next step. I don’t ever expect to be super skilled or anything. I’d mostly just like to be able to doodle things and have them be recognizable for what they are.

I found a really great tutorial that starts with building your manual motor skills and builds from there. It’s been useful for me in one way: my motor skills are much better than I thought they were. I’m generally pretty good at making my writing utensil go where I want it to go, most of the time. My problem is that I haven’t figured out how to translate what I see into something I can put on paper. This is, apparently, a common problem.

That strikes me as kind of funny. The reason I can’t draw is because I don’t know how to look at things the right way. Which I already knew was part of the problem. My friend Sarah, who’s an incredible artist, tried to show me a few things once, and she mentioned that she looks at things and is able to break them down into component shapes, and that she draws what she sees, not what her brain tells her is there. Which for 3D objects, makes so much sense–you’re used to interpreting what you see. That coffee cup sitting next to me is a collection of ovals and cylinders and rectangles, but I see the 3D shape itself. It’s a different way of looking at things.

I’m sure there’s some sort of metaphor there, right? You have to learn the right way to look at things, and to see what’s there instead of how you interpret it.

The more I think about it, the more I’ve realized that I do have some artistic skills, but I never thought of them as artistic skills. I have a really good eye for color. When I’ve gone house decorating with people, they’re startled at how I can match things even without a swatch.”No, the couch is a different shade of red from that.” And more often than not, I’ll be right.

And I mean, I’ve designed webpages and book covers, and I think most of them turned out pretty well. I got paid for them, anyway. 🙂

The more I think about it, the more I’ve realized that I don’t give myself enough credit. Again.

One benefit to having spent so much time working on my writing skills, I already know that I’m going to suck at this for a long, long time. Fortunately, so far it’s fun just to do on its own, so hopefully that will keep me motivated.

I feel like I should start a list of all the things I was always told I was bad at, and see if I can’t learn how to do them.