General Question

knitfroggy's avatar

Is it possible to learn to draw or is that something you're born with?

Asked by knitfroggy (8962points) July 3rd, 2009

I’ve always wanted to be able to draw. Honestly I have trouble with a passable stick figure. Is drawing something you can be taught?

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58 Answers

chelseababyy's avatar

You can most definitely learn to draw. Just like you can learn to play an instrument. I’ve been able to play piano by ear since I was very young, however I know tons of people who are much better than I am, who were taught to play. It just depends on how patient you’re willing to be, and how dedicated you are.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Everyone has a different set of skills.
Some people start off drawing at a higher level than others but there’s no reason you can’t learn. Just don’t get discouraged by people that draw better than you do.

Grisaille's avatar

Yes, you can learn to draw.

Put it this way: to start out, all you’re doing is copying what you see in the real world and recreating it on paper. Creativity comes next, and training your mind’s eye to work with fine motor skills is something that definitely takes practice – no matter how “gifted” you are starting out.

@chelseababyy Lucky! I had to train myself to play guitar by ear.

chelseababyy's avatar

@Grisaille I would love to play guitar. I never met my Dad, everyone says he was amazing at guitar. I really want to try it. Jealous!

augustlan's avatar

I think most people can learn to draw, just as most people can learn an instrument. Now, whether that means one can become a good artist or musician depends on talent, which seems largely inborn.

Grisaille's avatar

If you can play piano, I imagine guitar to be fairly easy to pick up.

As with all musical instruments, chord structure stays the same as do scales. Everything you know as a pianist should carry over to guitar. Only difference is actually playing it and learning finger placement, of course. :P

I picked up piano for a while there and I imagine it to be quite similar if it was switched around. Try it!

chelseababyy's avatar

@Grisaille For sure. Only, I can’t read music _ so that might suck, but I mean, if I can play piano by ear, hopefully I can do it with guitar as well. Unless you wanna teach me :D

bonus's avatar

Drawing is a skill, like any other. Of course, you can learn it. I am an architect now and I never thought I could draw but, I have learned how over the years.

This says nothing of talent. My particular talent is not drawing. I will never be a professional illustrator.

Don’t let natural gifts or perceived talents of others intimidate you. Anything can be learned.

Deepness's avatar

Yes, you can learn almost anything you put your mind to. I travelled alone to Brazil this year and practiced Portuguese for 3 months prior to the trip. Only 30 minutes a day. I managed to get around Brazil on my own with the basic level I taught myself.

Grisaille's avatar

@chelseababyy I’d be more then happy to get you started, websites to go to, advice and what not!

Many guitarists don’t actually use sheet music, they use something called tablature (usually shortened to “tabs”) in which every note/fret corresponds to a number. If the tabs say the number 12, you hit the 12th fret. Really, really easy to learn. Hard to master, of course.

As I said, I welcome new guitarists with open arms. Let me know. :]

Tink's avatar

I think you aren’t “born” with a talent. It somehow becomes a passion in your life and you just learn to be good at it. I wasn’t born able to do the things I can. I just became good at it. I’m learning guitar too and I’m not that good but I know a few songs. So I don’t think you are born with talents, just do what you want

augustlan's avatar

I want to add to my answer. Don’t let fear or lack of natural ability stop you from doing what you’d enjoy! Art classes are fun. :)

chelseababyy's avatar

@Grisaille Thank you. That would be awesome… Now I just need a guitar!

Grisaille's avatar

@chelseababyy gogogogogo, now!


Offer still stands.

chelseababyy's avatar

@Grisaille I need some $$ first. Lols. I shall save!

Grisaille's avatar

Of course.

Or you could steal one.

* ahem *

chelseababyy's avatar

That wouldn’t be hard for me..

Tink's avatar

Delinquents!!!!! ; )

chelseababyy's avatar

Oh you know it ;D

Grisaille's avatar

I’d let you walk out with a guitar.

Just sayin’. It’s easier for girls to get away with these kinda things. :P

chelseababyy's avatar

Hahah, for sure. I bet I could totally do it. :D

Tink's avatar

Can I do it too?, I need a good time, and another guitar

Grisaille's avatar

@Tink1113 You’re too young. You’ll shoot your eye out.

@chelseababyy I don’t doubt it.

Though, if the cops come, it was all Tink’s fault.

Tink's avatar

@Grisaille Dude I’d totally do it. Yeah blame me, they probably won’t believe you though, I’ll just be a sweet innocent 14 year old :P

chelseababyy's avatar

@Griasaille HAHHAHAHA. Wanna drive the getaway car plsandthankyou?

Tink's avatar

Tink is leaving this thread slowly now…

Grisaille's avatar

Fuck that, we’re rollin’ in Segways, like real gangstas.

chelseababyy's avatar

Because cops won’t be able to catch us on those and all…..

Tink's avatar

@Grisaille @chelseababyy
Wow good thing I left, good luck in the slammer

Grisaille's avatar

Listen, no one said this was gonna be pleasant.

Ain’t my fault my broke ass don’t got a car.

Well, maybe a little.

* makes little gap with fingers *

Grisaille's avatar

@Tink1113 You’re gonna miss out on all the fun.

Suit yourself :P

Tink's avatar

@Grisaille Im just gonna go back to the usual candy at the market :P

Grisaille's avatar

Kids these days ain’t got no sense of adventure, I tells ya.

chelseababyy's avatar

Although I’m not that much of a kid anymore, my sense of adventure is definitely there. Slammer? Doubtful, we’re much too wise. And if neither of us has a car, how about one of those two people bikes? ^_^

Grisaille's avatar

I wouldn’t be caught dead on one of those.

We’ll just get a single bike, and you can hop on the handlebars!

…though, I might not be able to see with a guitar strapped to your back. Hmm…

Tink's avatar

You guys are hilarious! What about a skateboard? I’ll provide you with those

chelseababyy's avatar

Not even with me? tear How about you just get a basket so I can sit in that? And we’ll strap the guitar to YOUR back.. duh. What are you thinking. And Tink, we might need some.

Tink's avatar

No problem ^_^

Grisaille's avatar


I’m a genius.

I ride the bike with the guitar on my back, we attach a piece of string to the seat, have you stand on two skateboards, and Tink can sit in the basket.


chelseababyy's avatar


Tink's avatar

Yay I get the basket!! But I prefer the skateboard and what about my guitar?!

Grisaille's avatar

@chelseababyy Hey, if I stop short and you go flyin’ into the back of a bus, ain’t my problem.

Just trying to keep you safe.

@Tink1113 Hey, if I make a sharp right turn and you go flyin’ into the back of a bus, ain’t my problem.

Just trying to keep you safe.

Bluefreedom's avatar

You can tune a piano but you can’t tuna fish.

Grisaille's avatar



Tink's avatar

DAMN hope you guys know how to use a board, see ya

Tink's avatar

@knitfroggy – Sorry, back to the question, as I said before you can learn to draw and be an artist, you aren’t born with talent. Well maybe people are but thats just them just follow your dreams : )

susanc's avatar

I taught drawing for a long time, from little tiny kids to older college students. I had one
(1) student – a priest, for what it’s worth – who really couldn’t do it. He had something funny going on with his brain. Otherwise he was smart.

Everyone else I ever tried to teach, learned.

Disagree violently with @grisaille about creativity coming after skills. Creativity doesn’t wait.

Grisaille's avatar

You disagree… violently? eep

Nah, you misunderstand. I didn’t mean that you train your skills first and creativity takes a secondary position, I mean when physically touching a pencil down on the paper (using drawing still-life as an example), we attempt to recreate the object as we see it in our mind’s-eye. Creativity takes hold, and how the tools available are is entirely up to the artist and his… um… creativity and imagination.

Of course, it could be argued that creativity takes place way before then, in terms of choosing a medium, format, object of reference, etc. But you get what I mean.

simpleD's avatar

This book helped me: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. The first challenge it to learn to draw as we see things, with light/shadow/contour, and not as we learned when we were pre-schoolers. The irony is, pre-schoolers draw so much more freely with uninhibited joyful expression. Too bad they don’t let us keep that as we grow older. We have to struggle to get it back.

Look into drawing workshops at your local college or galleries. They’re usually just $5 or $10 per session.

janbb's avatar

There are also “Drawing on the Rigth Side of the Brain” workshops. Google it to find one. It’s a good approach for someone who is a beginner. If you try drawing lessons at a community college, try to find a teacher with whom you are compatible. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t like the first class you try; an encouraging teacher makes all the difference..

Resonantscythe's avatar

You can definitely learn something like that.

I think I have a pretty good example in this webcomic I read.

Compare the first panel of the seiries 1 with one from his 200th page 2 500th 3 number 1001 4 (skipped 1000 because it was so wrong) and finally one from this past week 5

So given enough practice the improvement in your skills can be very impressive.

Bri_L's avatar

You can totally learn to draw. And if one way doesn’t work there are a bunch of others.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@chelseababyy ‘s answer was pretty much all that needed to be said about the original question, summed it up pretty well. :)

gottamakeart's avatar

I have to say from what I saw in all my college art classes, some of the most interesting drawings were not the technically acccurate sketches, but the rougher, out-of-proportion, (some would say “less skilled”) works. Also known as “Art Brut”

For true-to-life accuracy there is photography, which can be composed, lit and manipulated to create a more artistic image. I like to see what could be described as a re-interpretation of reality. In my opinion, far more interesting and creative.

So, if anyone wants to draw, JUST DO IT :D don’t worry about the results and enjoy the process. Art is just another form of communication. It can also be a great emotional outlet. (haven’t you ever heard of “art therapy”?)

bonus's avatar

@gottamakeart Is getting at what it means to bring artistry to drawing.

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