“I wish I could draw …. ” Part 6 Guilt?

Last February I wrote a Post partly prompted by a question that interested me; why do so many people say “oh I wish I could draw…” but never or very rarely even pick up a pen to doodle?  Is it perhaps the safest thing to say whilst negotiating around an artist who is busy sketching the entrance to your favourite cafe?  Whereas – “Looks a bit wonky to me”…. or …”are we both looking at the same thing here?”….or ..”aren’t  you the clever one”… might be deemed inappropriate?

If even a small percentage of those who say they would love to be able to draw really meant it – then why is drawing, sketching, painting and even doodling considered the activity of a few people rather than a general pastime enjoyed by so many like reading, keep-fit, baking or watching the TV? 

After my initial Post I started a sort of series looking at ways to encourage involvement in art activities, such as tips on impromptu sketching, and on joining a friend or a sketch club, or keeping an art journal, or suggesting enrolling on an art class.

Before embroidery, a little sketching ...

Before embroidery, a little sketching …

I do like to take my own advice occasionally (hum!) however I find that I still experience difficulty sitting down and just doing even very quick sketches.  Of course it is because I am busy doing other things  – which is true – however is that an excuse and why?  For me drawing is my no.1 priority at the moment so why this hesitation?

I remember a friend telling me that she rarely sat down and read a novel, and when she did she felt guilty.  Why?  It turned out that her family considered reading as something one did when there was absolutely nothing else to do, basically an activity relegated to pool-side holidays when it didn’t matter that you were ‘wasting’ time. Unlike my friend I was always encouraged to read as it was considered ‘educational’ however doodling or sketching was considered ‘messing about’.  Art classes at school were often viewed as ‘fun’ sessions compared to double History or even PE and going to art college was seen by many as the ‘easy’ option compared to taking a course at a technical college or university. 

So is it guilt that is discouraging me from sketching morning, noon and night?  Is there a little voice in the back of my head that is asking me if there isn’t something more useful or sensible I could be doing such as reading (educational, keep-fit (healthy), baking (practical) or watching TV (relaxing).

Pen and watercolour by KnitNell

Guilty pleasures?

As well as the sheer enjoyment and satisfaction to be had, there is plenty of talk in the media regarding the health benefits experienced when participating in art activities, art therapy being one of them. Of course scribbling, doodling and sketching can enhance and help other craft activities such as textiles and ceramics and so the list of benefits go on.

Am I alone in this feeling of guilt or do others feel similar?

cheers KnitNell

6 thoughts on ““I wish I could draw …. ” Part 6 Guilt?

  1. I really like this KnitNell. I think I always feel guilty if I pick up a pencil or pen, which I never do, but I often read. Once when I was ill, I participated in painting classes and was surprised by how I enjoyed it and how good I was!! I’m going to do it again. Thanks. x

  2. I feel guilty sometimes if I’m just doodling, because it feels like I should be drawing something more productive/ challenging/ blog-worthy, rather than *just* having loads of fun haha! I feel a bit like I’m regenerating when I paint, though, so I definitely regard it as healthy : )
    Very best of wishes for 2014, looking forward to more creative posts, thoughts, sketches and all other kinds of artworks!

    • Hi Beastlyworlds – thank you for your comment. I think the reason I love your illustrations so much is the fact that the viewer can tell you have so much fun doing them. They are always a delight. Definitely no guilt needed!

  3. I think there’s a bias in schools and maybe society as a whole towards the practical and logical, the creative side of things often gets left behind. So much so that most people stop drawing sometime in high school. Personally I find that I have to draw, to stay happy and productive. Have you read, ‘Drawing on the right side of the brain’ by Betty Edwards? It’s a very enlightening book full of great drawing exercises that challenge the way you think.
    Thank you for starting this discussion Eleanor, fellow sketcher Russell.

  4. Hi Russell, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I do in fact have a rather yellowing copy of Drawing on the right side of the brain that I bought in the early 80’s. You are so right to recommend it – I still dip in and out of it for inspiration and it is amazing how often her illustrated hints and tips come to mind while I am drawing.

    Prompted by your comment I have just this minute pulled the book off the shelf – now is a very good time to re-read it more thoroughly! An inspirational book to kick off the new year.
    Cheers Eleanor

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