You Say You Can’t Draw—Let’s Find Out

Gulf Coast CW Super Fan

Here’s a little something from a post I did for the Inscribables for anyone who doesn’t draw, but would like to see if they can.

Just a few days ago I had someone say it to me again—”I can’t even draw a stick person”. If you’ve ever made a similar comment, I challenge you to see if it’s true. Are you unable to draw? Let’s find out.

If you’re interested in discovering if you have the ability to develop drawing skills, I’ve put together a little exercise for you to do. I won’t call it a simple exercise because it’ll take some work and will probably require you to spend a few hours doing. But—when you’re done—you’ll have a better idea of how much inner artist is hiding in you. You might even find yourself inspired to learn more.

I borrowed this section from my book The How-To Book for Artists Who Can’t Draw . I’ve modified it a bit and removed a few steps because we’re not really trying to teach you to draw, but to see if you can draw.

First, save the three images on this page (the Elvin archer and the two images with grids on them) by right clicking on each image and choosing “Save image as…” Save the images somewhere you can find them easily. You’ll need all three images for this exercise.

Print out all three of the images. One should be just the Archer. The next will be two grids—one with the archer and the other with parts of the picture removed. The third will have the same grids; only the second grid is empty.

Using tracing paper (or tracing vellum), trace the picture of the archer. You may wish to tape the picture to the tracing paper to keep it from moving around. Take your time and do the best you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be your best. When you’re finished, separate the picture from the tracing and see how you’ve done. Trace the picture several more times (at least two more). Compare your last tracing to the first. They may be the same—you may already be improving.

Now, using the two grids (one with the archer and the other with parts of the archer) try copying the picture. We’ve all played games where you use letters and numbers to find coordinates (“A-1, G-17, etc.)—well, this is just like that. Locate the place on the second grid that matches the first grid and finish out the picture I’ve started for you. Feel free to print out several copies of this grid-set and copy the elf several times.

Finally, do exactly what you did with the previous grid-set using the second grid-set. This doesn’t give you anything to start from, but it should work exactly the same for you.

How did you do? Even if you struggled but were able to do a fair job of copying the picture— and you’re willing to put the time into it—you may wish to find a nice beginners book on illustrating and see what you’re capable of.

Good luck. I have faith in you.

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