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Why You Can't Draw

Updated on August 28, 2016

Why can’t you draw? I’m not talking about drawing the next Mona Lisa, but when you can’t draw a simple cartoon character, it is safe to assume that you cannot draw, which brings us back to the question: why can’t you draw? One of the most used excuse for not being able to draw is not having the skill or talent required. In reality, you do not need much skill in order to draw simple compositions, most of the time, only three major skills are used:

  1. Sufficient manipulation of one’s hands
  2. Accurate color depiction
  3. Accurate depiction of depth

Once you can write legibly and have a somewhat good handwriting, you have a proper manipulation of your hands. Although a lot of grown-ups lack the skill of depth depiction, color depiction is not a problem for most, meaning that you should have at least two of these three requirements, enabling you to draw simple, 2-D characters. Yet why does the majority fail at doing so? It all comes down to visual deceptions or illusions. Visual illusions manipulate the mind into a state of confusion as it overcompensates or substitutes its own assumptions for the image show, which results in these illusions.

We can tell what comes first in these images, because the shadows enable the mind to assume from its previous experiences which comes first.

Visual illusions usually play the part of aiding drawing, but they are a severe hindrance to beginners because they fail to see past these illusions and successfully translate the image they see into a drawing. One of the most usual mistakes one can make due to illusions is a distortion of proportions or ratios. This causes the failure of many drawings when people had seemingly followed the steps or instructions. Many people cannot follow the ratios of the drawings correctly either because they drew the drawing in a different size or were tricked by some of the drawing’s features.

The pictures show how one can become confused with the length of the line. The red lines are actually of equal length.

Another reason for the unsuccessful drawings may be that we assume too much according to our common sense. Over-reliance on our logic makes many determining details of a drawing seem off, since assumptions do not usually correspond to most drawings. One quick tip I have to offer is that you should follow the original picture no matter what if you wish for the best results, and do not make any alterations.

he person assumed here that the lashes all grown in the same direction when in fact, they are not.

How do you use all the information given above to make your drawings better? Here’s a simple method.

  1. Shut down your logical senses
  2. Translate the image into a 2-D picture
  3. Follow this picture exactly as it is.

Drawing itself is never that hard, it is rather, the brain that is constantly making it confusing for us. Hopefully by now you can draw with ease simple sketches and perhaps even some portraits. Here are several simple practice exercises and a Youtube tutorial to help you on your way to becoming an artist!


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