The 3 Reasons Why You Can’t Draw, (And What to Do About It)


Sometimes you just can’t figure it out.

It seems no matter how hard you try, how intensely you look at a subject, your drawings look wrong.

You’ve read how to draw books, maybe gone to a few art classes but the art of drawing still seems to elude you.

And you begin to question yourself – What if it’s me? What if I don’t have enough talent?

What if I’m never going to improve?

You are not alone.

Understanding drawing can be the key to both your artistic success and a new, razor sharp creative mind – but it can seem an uphill struggle.

But what if there was a simple solution? Pieces to the puzzle that you didn’t know existed,

3 secrets that could instantly improve your drawing and painting?

Wouldn’t you give it a try?..

1. What if I told you, you talk too much

Talking and drawing don’t mix.

The main problems associated with drawing is when you talk you engage your logical, language dominated left side of the brain. This side of your brain is keen on knowing an objects name, labelling it, and organising it.

Often when learning to draw, you need to temporarily hold off judgment and try not to second guess what you think the object should look like, rather than what the object actually looks like.

When you are trying to learn to draw something realistically, you have to engage your right-hand side of the brain, which is keener on images and spatial perception.

It’s very hard to do both at the same time.


Because it causes mind freeze.

Have you ever been in a creative zone of absorption, a state where time travels quickly and you are in what psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls ‘flow’.

How Does It Feel to Be in Flow?

  1. Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
  2. A sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality.
  3. Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
  4. Knowing that the activity is doable – that skills are adequate to the task.
  5. A sense of serenity – no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
  6. Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present, our sin to pass by in minutes.
  7. Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.

Flow is the mental state when you are fully immersed in an activity, a feeling of full involvement and energy.

You can get to this stage of involvement whilst drawing… until you get interrupted.

The combination of left and right battling against each other makes trying to draw tricky.

You can learn to talk and draw at the same time but it takes practice.

It all starts by understanding how your mind works, and how you can be subconsciously sabotaging your best efforts.

2. You have a harsh inner critic

You can learn to draw, you just might not believe it and this is often the first stumbling block to attaining a new skill.

Drawing is as much a mental game as an observational game.

Sure, you need a basic level of skill to hold a pencil and make a mark but not as much as you may think. It’s about the same level of skill as signing your name or throwing and catching a ball.

However, your subconscious mind is extremely powerful and it can play havoc with your best efforts when learning this new skill.

You see, your subconscious is already telling you this can’t be true.

Changing your internal script

Often successes in our lives stem from our own internal beliefs. And these can be crippling both in your progress as an artist or in any other areas of your life.

“Well-meaning, intelligent people often resort to repeating self-defeating behaviour in their personal and professional lives,”

Robert Brooks PH.D and Sam Goldstein, authors of The Power of Resilience. 

If you keep on thinking you can’t draw, you won’t.

As you try and draw something realistically and it starts to go ‘wrong’ your inner critic starts to rear its head.

Often drawings start off really well and you observe things accurately, it’s only when you get to a perceived ‘tricky’ bit you start to question yourself.

The truth is you have probably started to ‘make up’ the rest of the drawing and have stopped observing, relying on what you think it looks like.

In comes the inner critic and says:

“That doesn’t look like a boat, give up now, it looks like a kid’s done it”

So what we have to do is stop labelling objects, and start to look more abstractly.

3. You label the object too much

Isn’t this correct?

You should be looking and labelling the object, you should be really concentrating on it, that is what you have to do, right?

Well yes and no.

When I’m drawing a bottle, I don’t draw the bottle.

I draw the shapes around the bottle and then the bottle is drawn for me.


Let me explain some more.

All edges in a drawing are shared edges, you cannot draw a line without it sharing two edges.

Imagine drawing the bottom of a boat, one straight horizontal line.

That line now shares an edge with the bottom of the boat and the water.

One line, two edges.

That boat you were having trouble with is just a series of lines and shapes.

How I draw

So if I draw the space around a bottle, it shares an edge with space and the bottle so the bottle is drawn by me not drawing it.

In drawing, you are constantly trying to disassociate from labelling real objects so your logical left brain can’t try to tell you how to draw what it recognises.

It seems wrong, it seems backwards, but this is why you can’t draw.

To see like an artist you have to learn to make a cognitive shift from left brain to right brain.

If you keep on talking to yourself, engaging your inner critic you will be firing up the left brain.

Ever wonder why Jackson Pollack drank a lot of Bourbon, Van Gogh absinthe? Alcohol calms you down, you’re not as self-critical.

So although I’m not suggesting you hit the bar before getting out your pencils, just try to be aware of the internal ‘voice’ that will hinder your progress.

Drawing is a paradox.

To see something as an artist sees it, you have to look at the Abstract elements within it.

Try not to focus solely on the object, try not to label an object but just see it as simple shapes.

Abstract elements once drawn then become real in front of your eyes and the left brain will then fire up to make sense of the shapes and label it.

A brief overview of left brain right brain

A right-brain outlook on life can give you a holistic view, where left brainers are often more detail orientated.

Left-brain thinkers focus on the logical, rational, sequential, and analytical while right-brainers prefer more random, holistic, and free-associated approaches.

Psychologists say that left-brainers focus on words and numbers while right-brain people focus on visual images and patterns.

Right brain thinkers make lateral associations whilst left-brain people make logical deductions from information.

Most people are a mix between the two, do any of these character traits seem familiar?


  • uses logic
  • detail oriented
  • facts rule
  • words and language
  • present and past
  • math and science
  • can comprehend
  • knowing
  • acknowledges
  • order/pattern perception
  • knows object name
  • reality based
  • forms strategies
  • practical
  • safe


  • uses feeling
  • “big picture” oriented
  • imagination rules
  • symbols and images
  • present and future
  • philosophy & religion
  • can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
  • believes
  • appreciates
  • spatial perception
  • knows object function
  • fantasy-based
  • presents possibilities
  • impetuous
  • risk taking

Drawing as a learnable skill


This is an example of one of my students ‘Before’ and ‘After’ on my beginners drawing course – this is the same mug drawn 4 weeks apart!

Just like every other activity, your skills will be improved as you learn basic principles and get some practice.

The key to learning to draw, just like learning to write, is good foundational instruction and then working until you own it.

No one said it would be easy, nothing worth doing is. Yet just because it is challenging does not mean that, with time and hard work, you will be excellent.

How to learn to draw (without years of study)

I believe anyone can learn how to draw accurately and realistically – without years of grueling study.

I’ve developed an easy to follow, 7 Part online downloadable video course, to help frustrated artists really understand how drawing works.

You will go on a creative journey to learn how to ‘see like an artist’.

You will learn how to confidently pick up a pencil and draw any scene in front of you.

Imagine gaining a new perspective on the world, ‘seeing’ drawings and compositions around all you!

I want to give you a clear explanation and logical progression so anyone can learn the concepts and techniques of drawing.

With over 3 hours + of video tuition, I want you to have that ‘a-ha’ moment and really ‘get drawing’.

If you are interested in a simple method of learning how to draw you can join my instant access ‘Absolute Beginner Drawing Course’ by just clicking this link


This Post Has 299 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for the insight. Since I was young I had always been convinced that I would never be able to draw more than stick figures. I had been informed it was a left/right issue. I excel in math, logical problems, coding speed, mechanical inclination, and especially in analysis and engineering of systems. Never before had I thought about stopping the chatter of the left side of my brain. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Micheal,
      Thanks for the comment, yes, drawing is a learnable skill and can really can be very effective in quietening down the chatter from the left side of the brain. In fact it can be key in helping you gain creative insights to problems because it helps to encourage more lateral thinking associations.

      By giving the logical side of the brain some downtime it enables more ‘aha’ moments, that often usually come when we least expect them – going for a walk, working out at the gym, taking a shower.

      It’s like a fast track to your creativity!

      Thanks again,

    2. Thank you for this. Now I can draw with much less frustration. I would love to see more drawings, too! I just love to see other people’s art.

      1. You’re more than welcome Astalynn, really pleased you’re drawing with less frustration, you might enjoy the pen and ink bike sketch tutorial.

  2. This is me

    1. Thanks for the comment Velyneda, it really is a case of just tweaking your approach to drawing and you can make huge leaps forward.


  3. Hey, thanks for this.
    I draw often, and in drawing people I have found I can’t draw a person looking to the right, do you have any idea why this is?


    1. Hey Cooper,

      Pleased you enjoyed it, I have found that students who are right handed often prefer to draw people looking to the left.

      If you are used to writing from left to right it makes sense to place the seemingly most important part of the face (eyes & features) on the left, so when this is reversed it can seem slightly strange.


  4. Yeah, I am right handed :(
    But thanks for the heads up, its going to help!

  5. Fantastic writeup..

    Couldn’t figure out how I’d corner myself during the creative process, But your article shifted a lot into perspective.

    Sincerely… Thankyou

    1. Thanks Sheryl,

      Really pleased it helped.


  6. What i feel when i draw something is exactly what you said!!! but now i have a problem…. my flow is missing, i’m trying to get it back but for a long time i stopped drawing because my life had been very busy but today i tryed to draw something and nothing happened…. i’m very sad right now, something is missing…. my flow…everything that i am…. can you give me a little advice?

    1. Hi Nair,
      Oh dear, no one wants a missing flow! Practice with the technique outlined in this article, although it’s counter intuitive, it’s one of the quickest methods of engaging your creative side.

      Hope this helps,



      1. Thank u very much! I think that was just an overreaction xD today some ideas come to my mind and I will try again! the article helped a lot too, and I will try to do what you said!!!

        Thanks for the motivation :D

    2. Thanks, I have new hope going forward with my art now :)

  7. I stumbled upon this revealing website of why some people are stagnated — how accurate — I once had a biofeedback specialist stating that I am 100% left brain – which is rare for women in general – no wonder I’ve always felt split-personality —- as a child when I was language-less (Deaf since birth) – I used to draw in order to “communicate” with my family or friends as I didn’t know word existed. When I was forced to wear hearing aids and speech therapy — my brain completely shifted to the left hemisphere — the older I got as I mastered English language, the less I could skillfully draw! It is RARE times if I am extremely emotional – suddenly the flow comes back. Now it’s practically non-existent as I have severe Hashimoto’s that causes ADD-like symptoms – I can’t stick long enough to concentrate and finish art project – my brain actually hurts after half hour. Still I try — lots of images floats around in my head and I hope somehow, someday I will dive deep and the flow will guide my hands to do what my mind wants it to create. Excellent insights – thank you from my heart!

    1. Hi RaVen,

      You’re welcome, really pleased you enjoyed the article,


  8. Amazing article!

    I have little question.
    If i understand it correctly, i should shut down left (logical) side of brain as artist but what if i am almost 100% left brainer? Have i any chances learn drawing one day?

    Thank you for responde.

    1. Hey Bond, thanks for your comment, yes there is hope!
      You just need to practice drawing techniques that quieten the left brain, have a look at this drawing exercise, which initially seems like it would never work (that’s your left brain talking!) but is one of the most highly effective methods of engaging your creative side.


      1. about this left brainer and right brainer….. I think one time the side that always say things like “Give up, this doesn’t look right, you can’t do it” went off and I went with the flow. I ended up drawing something that amazed me for a beginner.

        1. Good one Mar, going with the flow and trusting your right brain is the key!

  9. Thanks a lot for this insightful article. It really puts everything into perspective and I hope you get people to start looking into your classes. I swear I’ve read almost everything there is about drawing and even took 3 years of drawing classes in high school, yet could never keep or look at any drawing I’ve made out of sheer embarrassment. It just never clicked for me, and that critic would always remind me that it’s high time that I’ve given up. I think I’ve realized that I’m thinking/reading too much about the process instead of actually doing it, and that now it’s time to finally pursue my dream of making comics.

    1. Pleased to hear it Good Grief, the internal critic can really hold you back, great to hear the process of drawing has ‘clicked’

  10. Hello,
    This may seem a strange question, but which hand is the best to draw with? I write with both hands comfortably with little difference and my drawings do not change much from hand to hand. Suggestions?


    1. Hi Mia, what a talent! Imagine someone throws a ball at you when you least expect it, which hand do you instinctively use? That’s the hand to go with.

      1. Ok, that helps! Thanks for your time!

  11. Hi. I don’t understand how I am to do that, I mean How do you isolate that part of the brain?.

    I am a Chess player and I use scripting etc but I am constantly thinking and talking to myself and quadruple checking what I am doing over and over its just how my brain works.

    I don’t understand how to isolate that and keep focused without checking over the same thing over and over again.

    Any ideas on how to help?

    1. Hi Joe,

      The irony is, learning to draw will help to quieten your mind. It is a skill that can be developed. Also, I’ve found Yoga and meditation very beneficial in helping to quieten the chatter.

      The exercise I demonstrate in this article shows a technique for engaging the right side of your brain.


      1. See the problem with it is i used to be able to very well then i got distracted and stop’d for so long and now im trying again and it is not going well i have try’d meditation Nothing i have try’d works

        1. Hi Joe, its all about taking things one step at a time and practicing. Just like learning a musical instrument, there is going to be many mistakes when you first start but practice will make practice.

  12. Hi! I find your article very interesting. Thanks for posting it! :)

    I like to draw since I was child, and I was often the best at it amongst people from school, family, etc. I was drawing all the time. However I stopped doing it for many, many years. Now I want to start again, but I lack of ideas, I often say to myself that I’ve lost the creativity I had, and feel so frustrated.

    I relate to your 2nd and 3rd points, not at the 1st one though, cause I’m quite the opposite. Everytime I draw, I see my results ugly, unproportionated, or boring, and always end up throwing my sketches away.

    Since I’m planning to take this serious, I got yesterday a hardbound sketchbook, and I hope it keeps me from ripping the sheets when the things doesn’t go the way I want (a very bad habit I have). I’ve already drawn something on it. I had no idea what to do, so I made a self portrait. Of course, I found endless defects in it, but well, it will stay there.

    I really hope this helps, cause I want to have back what made me special once.

    P.S. I just realize, the person before described almost the same situation as me in his last comment… Hope he can get over the problem :)

    1. Hi Paola,

      Pleased the article resonated with you, the sketchbook will really help, as it acts as a visual diary to your drawing process.

      Although you may feel like throwing ‘bad’ drawings away, looking back over earlier work can really help to see your progress.


  13. Hey! I love this article. I have some drawing skill but I’ve always handled it in a methodical, logical, grids, step by step, this-is-a-straight-line-so-lets-use-a-ruler kind of way and my drawings always look a little bit wrong, bare, or unshaded.

    I would love to buy your videos but as a student…obviously I can’t afford that right now, Hahaha. But thank you for this article. I hope I can tell my left side brain to shush! Thanks again.

    1. Cheers Nicole, pleased you enjoyed the article.


  14. I needed help with expressing my feelings and this really helped me because i love to draw and i really appreciate it.

  15. I always admired art, and always wanted to draw, but I never had motivation becase of school and, when I’m not, I do other things I like. Maybe I don’t draw because I probably never tried and I don’t know, because everytime I draw, it looks so bad and I loose all hope.

    But maybe I should just keep drawing until I can draw what and how I want. I am only 15 years old, I don’t know if that is good or bad, and I usually don’t talk, I’m one of those kids who are at a corner of the classroom which are not cool, but neither a target to be a joke. Thanks for your guide, it gave me an idea of why i should start drawing. I like to share thoughts :)

    1. Hey Mario,
      Thanks for dropping by with your thoughts on drawing. Many students become discouraged early on with drawing and feel they ‘aren’t talented’ but this just isn’t true. As with all skills, practice and perseverance is what will help the most in developing your skills as an artist.


  16. I always loved art and to draw I am 18 and working on going to art college to be a gaming artist/manga artist. I’m finishing my senoir year of highschool. I have drawn since I was young but would always get frustrated watching my brother and other people draw really good with almost no effort. I just recently got back into drawing after a year and am having trouble getting myself to draw. one question I have is what can I do to get myself to draw more? And Ive never really thought i needed to use the right side of my brain, so what would like to know is should I always use my right side when drawing?

    1. Hi Neathin,

      When learning to draw, or learning any new skill, a regular habit is the key to your progress. You don’t have to draw for long, even just 5 minutes a day will make a big difference. Try to match your drawing practice with an already existing habit, that way you will soon start to ‘trigger’ the drawing response. So, for example, if every morning you have a coffee, draw at the same time, just replace a pencil for a biscuit!

      If you’re trying to draw an object from life you will be engaging your right side of the brain, however, if you are drawing from imagination the sides can switch. Don’t try to think of it as ‘am I using my right side of the brain now’ question, or you will be engaging your logical left side of the brain!

      Hope this helps,

  17. Thanks Will your insight is very helpfull, great article too very helpfull keep it up :)

  18. So I’m starting to work on gesture drawing, any tips?
    thanx -Neathin

    1. I’d ‘warm up’ by drawing with your weaker hand. If you’re right handed, start with using your left hand. It will feel very strange and uncomfortable at first, but will help you to loosen up and then be more gestural when you swap to your dominant hand.


  19. Much of what you write makes sense, especially describing objects by name – labeling. I discount all talk about the left brain-right brain mumbo jumbo because it can provide a hiding place for those who make excuses for not going slowly enough to allow the learning process to occur. “Oh, boo hoo, I’m just too left-brained to draw”. Phooey! When one is drawing from observation, “what” something is might be the most irrelevant element, whereas, “what does it do?” (structurally and literally) or more specifically, a series of questions that have a hierarchical order from the large to the smalls elements of forms must be constantly asked (internally) to begin to understand what is seen. Knowing the questions in advance is actually absurd, just like believing that one has already seen something once therefore it will be the same every time, is naive at best and ignorant at its worst. Preconceptions can short-circuit the drawing process faster than stopping before beginning; that’s pretty much what’s happening by thinking that one brings more to a drawing situation than one needs to know/learn. An on-going dialogue of describing vertical and horizontal alignments, spatial distances, proportions, perspective (if you understand how to use horizontal and vertical determinants, perspective can remain a cosmic theory instead of poking its head into one’s head). In foreshortened forms, the perspective theory is trumped by how seeing (and measuring) how little one sees forms behind other forms as they “pile forward”. Most people mistakenly believe that they can’t draw when, in fact, they don’t know what to look for or how to organize their questions. Every question has answers, usually the questions and answers are very literal – e.g. in drawing the figure, “how does the acromian process vertically line up with the right limit of the patella?” Answer: “It’s slightly to the left/outside of, or right on a vertical line drawn to touch that rightmost point of the patella”. Questions and answers have to be literal, but the drawing, a synthesis of information, doesn’t have to be a photographic reproduction and shouldn’t aspire to do so- it’s better, because spaces between forms are considered for their placement, relative sizes, distances, etc. yielding a better illusion of form or forms in space than a flat photograph. Anyone can learn to think; drawing is an intellectual exercise more than it is one of the hand. A drawing is a graphic manifestation of thinking, clear uncluttered thinking, analytical and precise. Forget about “art” and concentrate on the reality of form in space. I have opened up scientists and medical doctors to the ideas of analytical questioning, they do it naturally so that helped, and they have made remarkable drawings as a result, much to their surprise but not to mine. It’s pure joy to learn how to think one’s way through drawings, over and over the course of a lifetime. The “poetry” is in the honesty and humility before nature, not in some ultra sensitive (and often faux) “expression”. There are some rules however: only use one damn pencil, don’t erase anything until you’ve corrected the problem (“Those who choose to ignore history…” and all of that), go nearly into a trance by asking questions, and make sure to have fun! No one dies from making a bad drawing, and everyone makes bad drawings (sometimes). Sorry for the length, but drawing well is hard, drawing is not, and it shouldn’t be portrayed as mysterious or only for those who’ve been sprinkled by fairy dust. It takes hard work, not talent, to be successful in any endeavor.

    1. Well, what a full and interesting comment!

      Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to share your knowledge,



  20. So would that be why I can draw best when I’m listening to my music? Because when I do, I don’t focus on /what/ is that I’m drawing. I just draw it to the best of my ability and then in the end it turns out rather well. I label what I’m drawing, put on my music and draw it.

    1. Good one Akira, we just have to ‘zone out’ and look at the shapes in front of us,


  21. I recently sent one of my drawings to a art college and they said it was good but it lacked line quality. So I started looking up ways to improve my line quality and I learned that I’ve been drawing wrong (there words not mine). Seems I’ve been drawing what is called “chicken scratch”. Any incites and exercises on this would be helpful. Its kinda put me in a block on finishing my senior project art portfolio. Thank you


    1. Hey Neathin,

      It sounds like they’re describing a scratchy line rather than a free-flowing line, sometimes this scratchy technique can work really well in drawings but if your trying to gain more confidence with your line, to achieve a continuous flow with a pencil then a good exercise to do is to limit the number of lines you use per drawing.

      For example: limit yourself to 6 lines for drawing a cup.

      It will force you to really look at the subject and be more decisive and definite with your line, because when you do 1 line you’ve only got 5 left to go!

      I hope this helps and practice this technique using different subjects,



  22. Hi.
    I was given a very useful tip from my counsellor last year. It helps during the stuck moments when you want to draw but cant motivate yourself or if you dont know what to do/draw. It actually works with anything, to stop procrastination, or it does with me anyway.
    What you are doing is worrying about what the drawing will look like, technical errors etc and you haven’t even started yet. The best thing to do is simple, just do/just draw… Soooooo, what I do is draw how I feel at any given moment, so if I feel angry, upset, depressed, happy, I draw what I feel. It comes out very weird, very abstract, but you cant judge what you are doing, it isnt about that, it is a stimulation thing. It helps to get the flow back.
    Many Thanks for your very very useful insight above, it strengthens what I have been told by my counsellor. I have printed it off and put it on my wall next to my pc. To give me confidence and support.

    1. Good one Sally, great advice, the very act of drawing is what can kickstart your creative flow, pleased you enjoyed the article.


  23. How sad I should come across this after four years of not drawing. I stagnated in ability and creativity and eventually gave up. I had high expectations that I had failed to meet for so long– since I had turned 16 and enrolled in art oriented high school. My final piece receiving average grades finally killed what little desire there was to create– I was not good at it, I had never been good at it and certainly felt I would never be good at it. I saw people start at my level or even below, and shoot past me and grow.

    No idea why my artistic development came to such a halt and why I never recovered. I tried hard, practiced hard. I am neither a leftie nor a right brainer, as I fail to flourish in general. Are there people born with no talent at all?

    1. Hi Nina,

      Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that you feel like you have come to a halt in your artistic development.

      Talent is grown and not born and just because an art teacher couldn’t see your potential doesn’t mean there wasn’t any!

      Being creative isn’t a competition and everyone learns new skills at a different rate.

      Your confidence has taken a real hit, my advice would be, to introduce drawing purely for your own pleasure a little at a time and give your self permission to enjoy the process, even if the end result isn’t as you planned.

      This article might interest you,

      Good luck and hopefully you’ll be drawing again soon,


  24. Hi, I’ve recently been planning on writing my own book. I’ve figured out the storyline and I’d really like to try and draw some of the images I have in my head for the places/characters in the story. The problem is is that I’m not a great drawer and I’m very ‘left brained’. The only thing I’d say I have that uses the right-hand side of my brain is that I’m quite musical. I also find it really hard to picture detail in the images I am thinking of. Do you think that your idea of drawing objects around me will help me to draw what I’m thinking, or is there a better approach for this? Thanks

    1. Hi Rosie, yes, most defiantly, by observing and drawing objects around you helps to embed them in your memory, this can then aid to a greater understanding of the objects and more realistic drawings when working from the imagination.
      You might be interested in this book by James Gurney – Imaginative Realism – How to paint what doesn’t exist.


  25. Hey, I’m 13 and recently I just broke my right wrist I am right handed. I was scared I wasn’t going to be able to draw again bc my wrist was weak but I actually drew a pretty good rose with my brace on. As my wrist got stronger, my drawing got better, but now I feel like I can’t draw. I have the urge to draw something that inspires me but I feel like it turns out awful, am I being too judgmental? Am I in a rut, have I lost my flow? If so what can do to get back in flow? I have drawing only for a year and haven’t taken any classes but I think I can pretty well. But I want to learn how to draw sophisticated portraits, right now I just copy an image and draw free handed. I am thinking about taking classes but don’t know where to start. Everyone says I’m good at drawing but truth is, people can draw way better than me. How can I get back in my flow? If you have any tips for learning how to draw sophisticated portraits, please let me know. My skill on drawing is a 0 compared to other scenes I can draw. Can you please help me figure this out?

    1. Hi Deanna, sounds like you’re being a little hard on yourself as portraits can take a lifetime to master, and you’ve got many drawing years ahead of you.

      However, the skills needed to draw a portrait are the same as drawing a Rose.

      You just have to keep checking with yourself and ask the question….and I drawing what I see? Or am I drawing what I think I see.

      Try setting up a video camera and film yourself drawing an object.
      Notice how much time you spend looking at the object, and how much time you are looking at the paper.

      The aim is to be looking at the object more than the paper.

      Hope this helps,


  26. Nice article. It reminds me of a time in grade 9 art class. I found art class so difficult. I felt the creative part of my brain was stuck somewhere. Art was my hardest subject. As silly as it sounds I actually dreaded art. Artwork deadlines was something I felt was serious because it clearly reflected me and my ability to be creative. We had to do a culminating artwork that was worth a lot and present it too. I remember I was the last person to start. I just couldn’t get my creative juices flowing. But in the end I had the best one. I still look back at that and love the feeling of satisfaction and achievement I obtained from that one art work I did.

    1. Thanks Maay, pleased it brought back some fond memories of your creativity!


  27. I learned a ton from this article. I plan to sign up for your home class soon. I am an aspiring singer/songwriter and I love to write stories. Problem is that I know I could write stories so much better if I could see what I am writing about. I usually have a concrete idea and can picture what I am thinking about, but I usually forget it a day or 2 later. Thanks for this article, it really is great.

    1. Hi Ian, thanks for your kind comment and really pleased you found the article helpful in your drawing.


  28. This article will help me a lot, as all of it seems to apply to me. I draw manga-style for fun, although making comics has crossed my mind, but I always set myself up for failure. I’ve always been around people who are such great artists, and I end up comparing my art to theirs, even before I begin drawing. I’m always ashamed to show even my best works despite my friends never being harsh with criticism and my best works actually being rather good. This article helped me realize that my greatest enemy in drawing is myself. I never devote the time to actually improve myself and end up worse by the time I feel like drawing again. I’ve improved markedly since I started drawing, but I continue to strive for the ability my friends have even though I want to develop my own style.

    1. Pleased the article helped John,

  29. I always thought it was me, and that I wasn’t born with the talent. I do talk too much when it comes to drawing. My mom says I’m good at drawing, but I don’t think so. I think I could improve a LOT; Nice improvement on the mugs by the way. I bet your student was VERY proud of him/herself.

    1. Cheers Brittany, pleased it’s given you the inspiration to persevere with your drawing.


  30. What an amazing article! I have never been able to draw and I really want to learn how to. I want to create an art journal; just a book where I can put out all my ideas.
    But I never seem to able to draw something that pleases me. Something that, I think, reflects me. And mainly because, I cannot draw. I am a logical person but I love being creative; it is just when I want to be creative, I cannot think of anything to create. I look at a tree and say no I cannot draw that. Or that book, or whatever!
    While your article was absolutely amazing, could you give some additional inspiring tips to a teenager wanting to draw. I feel like my drawing is a hopeless case and I’d really appreciate it if you could give me some good advice.


    P.S. Were you a good drawer when you were younger?
    P.S.S. What defines an art journal and what do you believe an art journal is good for?
    P.S.S.S. If I write with my left hand, but I throw a ball, catch a ball, etc with my right hand, what does that signify? Am I strong in both left and right? I am not sure

    Sorry about the lengthy comment, but I had so much to ask you!

    1. Hey Jade,

      Thanks for dropping by, I’m really pleased you enjoyed the article.

      I think an art journal is a great idea, somewhere to sketch, paint or just create without feeling too precious about it.
      An art journal can be any thing you want or like to work in, from a small notebook to a larger open leaf portfolio, it’s up to you. It can include photography, collage, writing – literally anything creative that you feel express’s your ideas.

      You can then see what’s working and develop that idea into a bigger, finished piece.

      Drawing does take practice, so keep acting on those moments of inspiration!

      P.S.S.S. If I write with my left hand, but I throw a ball, catch a ball, etc with my right hand, what does that signify? Am I strong in both left and right? I am not sure?
      Sounds like you’d be an excellent juggler! also you have a well balanced hemispheres!



  31. How do you shut down the left half your brain?I can’t because I mostly read books and I am a bit crafty but wen I am 90% almost finish with my art I always intend to add more things to it then it just messes up …. My brain always tells me stuff like ” it looks too dull add more things to it, go on” then that’s when it messes up and I get frustrated then my parents have and had to help me ever since I was in 5th grade. I am now in 10th grade.

    1. Hi Melissa, drawing is one of the most effective methods of engaging the right side of your brain, but it can take practice.

      Have a look at this article on a technique to get your creativity flowing by concentrating on very repetitive shapes and marks which the logical left hand side of the brain finds boring, and repetitive, so enables the right hand side to sneak in.

      It might seem counter-intuitive to start with and you feel pretty silly when you first start doing it, but it’s one of the most effective ways of going into that trance-like meditative state.

      Hope this helps,


  32. Hey, thanks for this!
    I really want to be able to draw as I have the idea in my mind.
    I can picture the moment with all the details and yet when I try to put it onto paper it doesn’t seem to work out :(
    I also like writing as it’s a way for me to let my ideas out but I really want to be able to draw.
    I was doing a portrait for art at school and I was instantly able to draw brilliantly, but the next day I went to finish it off and I was back to the same old bad drawing me. Any thoughts on this? Thanks again!


    1. Hi Lana, often when you first finish a drawing or painting you’re really happy with the results, but the next day, with fresh eyes, you start to notice all the mistakes and aren’t as pleased with the picture.

      This happens to everyone and is how your work can progress, just like writing a rough draft and then editing parts out or adding lines in to finish the story, the same approach is used with drawing and painting.

      Hope this helps,


  33. Hello. I’ve always been able to think of amazing things to draw but I give up thinking it looks terrible. I can never draw things the way I see it. The few things I do draw are extremely abstract. I still have problems. I don’t know what to do. But this article has helped a bit.

    1. Hi Brandon, pleased you found the article helpful.

  34. This is really a great article and would love to share to others!

    I need advice/help, I and my bf studies in an art school, and he struggles ‘too’ much to learn how to draw. He’s an aspiring comic artist but the problem is… he’s been practicing for almost 4 years already and there is only a minimal change of his drawing style. He has a slight carpal tunnel syndrome and he can’t draw clean lines. Plus he has some attitude that is difficult to deal when it comes to teaching him (I tried)

    With this kind of attitude plus his with CTS, will he ever learn to draw properly?

    1. Hi Maria, pleased you’ve enjoyed the article, yes, anyone can improve the standard of drawing by learning how to ‘see’ rather than precise pencil control, so your friend could definitely improve his drawing.


  35. What a wonderful article Will and I love so much that you answer all of your posts comments. That is so thoughtful of you. Even though I have met many art professors, you are the first person I feel compel to ask this inquiry I have in me for years. Why is it that I cant be as good as drawing from imagination/my mind, than I am when I draw from observation? I am so good at it, by I cant illustrate from my mind. When I went to art school, I was among the top students in my still life classes and painting classes Will, but I became close from quitting as a design student because when it came down to translate an idea I ‘clearly’ and so creatively and vividly had in my head, I couldnt translate it to the paper, it was so frustrating I would cry so heavily. However, in all my still life courses, I could live there forever, the passion that it involved, was amazing..and I was constantly told I had really great drawing skills, but secretly, I used to do everything and wished from the bottom of my heart to be able to draw ideas, characters and concepts ‘out of my mind’ like my magic illustrator friends did. I dont know how they did it. I felt why would I make it as a designer if I cant draw from my mind. I can draw, but just not from my mind. It is just weird. Yes, something will come out, but not as good as it would from life observation. I am still trying to overcome this and it is very frustrating to the point it makes me wonder if although I have all this natural creativity flying in my head, if I can even be really that good of a designer. Wish it would be easier to turn all my ideas into paper and that’s why its easier for me to ‘ art direct’ as I know I am a complete ‘visionary’, but not knowing to draw from my mind, clearly affects. Even to do story boards!! What do you think? Would there ever be hope for me?

  36. Hello Will,
    Thanks a lot for the very good article.

    I’m trying to learn how to draw, but I keep reading about how I need to use my “right side of the brain”. However, I see myself as a very logical and rational person. My personality can totally be described by the behavior of the left brain. I’m a computer programmer, science enthusiast and math lover. I can’t identify myself with anything you said about the right brain.

    I actually love to play the piano though, and I love music, but I’m not very inclined to visual arts.

    Do you think I can learn to draw? I have a lot of free time and interest, but I somehow can’t turn that into actual learning. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks a lot, again.

    1. Hi Davi,

      Pleased you enjoyed the article, yes , I do think you will be able to learn how to draw. Often it’s a case of learning a few techniques that are aimed to question what would seem a logical way to draw – as in focus on the main object, then you can start to make progress. It might initially be a bit tougher, but practice and perseverance will make the biggest differnce. You mentioned you where a computer programmer so might be interested in this article by Paul Graham (he also has a book called book ‘Hackers and Painters where the Author looks the many similarities between being a successful painter and programmer. You’re closer than you think!

      Hope this helps,


  37. Hi Will
    I’m thinking of joining your art course but just wanted to check something with you, about conflicting views. Some artists say ‘draw what you see, not what you know.’ Yet others will say that you can’t really draw, for example, an eye unless you understand how it fits into the cranial socket — which therefore means a knowledge of anatomy — so wouldn’t you be drawing what you know rather what you see? Some say always draw from light to dark, others say exactly the opposite. Some say that you should never use an eraser, but others (like you) say it’s okay. I’ve bought loads of how to draw books but find it almost impossible to use them because one says one thing, another says the opposite! Will your course be able to clear up some of these confusing views? Cheers. James.

    1. Hi James,

      I always adhere to the ‘draw what you see, not what you know.’ school of thought first.

      Then, as your perceptions and observation skills improve, you can start to learn more anatomical info.

      If you understand how your perceptions work first you can then add refinement from there.

      Sounds like you might have analysis-paralysis, so much conflicting advice, I do appreciate it can seem a little confusing!

      The drawing course goes through the basic principles of drawing, and how to draw a subject in front of you.

      Techniques of working light to dark, using or not using an eraser etc are personal preferences and vary from artist to artist. The best way is to find one book or course and try that method, it might suit you perfectly, or it might not be the approach that suits you, but its best to start one and follow it through to see.

      Its just like learning to paint, from abstracts to photorealism. They are all under the banner of ‘painting’ but vary dramatically in technique and approach. Drawing is much the same.

      Hope this has helps James and hasn’t confused you any more!


  38. Dear Will,

    Thanks very much for your article. I’d like to share a few things I found really helpful with everyone. Whenever I have time, I want to paint.There’s something very rewarding and immediate about slapping colour on a canvas. Paint is also very forgiving – you just paint over any lines you don’t like. Drawing is trickier but is the basis for good observation, expressive lines and it really does enhance painting skills.

    I did your drawing course back in March 2013 and found it extremely helpful. Working through the structured units gave me the discipline I needed and was inspiring when I saw my progress. It also helped me during a subsequent study course where I found out that, although I’m right-handed, I perceive proportions and shapes better when I draw with my left hand. I really would encourage everyone to try drawing with their left hand. I don’t know whether it activates the right-brain but after getting over the initial wobbly attempts, I was pleasantly surprised. Of course my right hand still steps in when I need more control but I study at art schools and academies and all say that a loose line is the thing to aim for, not expressionless diagrams.

    Once the courses were over, my paints were calling again but I was determined to develop my drawing skills further. Thankfully I discovered, how much fun it is to team up with an artist friend in the same boat and go and sketch at the local zoo and botanical garden. Booking the time made us stick to it and we exchanged tips and encouragement. Moreover, drawing became a special way to observe and appreciate the beautiful animals and plants. We forgot about “correctness” as it became a race to portray a quick impression before the animal moved! We discovered too that certain animals e.g. elephants were -surprisingly- not so good to draw because they sway a lot. But the camels proudly posed for us and enjoyed looking at their resulting portraits too! The result? Loose lines, as we didn’t have time to think too much!

    Would you consider doing a follow-up to your drawing course? I’d love to work through another one of these and develop further.

    On a related issue, could you also tell me the best way to display drawings intended for sale without spending a fortune on frames and mounts? My local art supplier wanted to send me down this route. I’ve seen some at a local college where it looks as though they’ve stuck paper to cardboard, maybe using masking tape and used a simple white wooden frame. But is this a big no-no?

    Any guidance would be gratefully received!

    Best wishes,


    1. Hi Judy,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences of your drawing journey, and its relationship to your painting. I do have a future drawing course planned which will probably focus of drawing portraits. Apart from the mount/frame route the only other way is, as you mentioned, actually gluing the drawings to a surface, or drawing onto a surface that has been designed to hang on its own, without a frame – a board prepared with a drawing ground for example. I’m hoping to add an article on framing in the New Year.

      Thanks again Judy.


      1. Hi Will,
        Great news about the portrait drawing course! I’m looking forward to it, also to the article on framing. Thanks for your advice about displaying drawings. Perhaps I should have explained, these are drawings on sheets of paper from a life drawing course. I can’t say which ones are going to work out and be worth displaying in advance, so the board with the drawing ground is unfortunately not an option here. Gluing them to cardboard would be the better route but which glue is the best – a clear one like UHU or am I better off with Prittstick? Thanks for your help in advance.
        Best wishes,

        1. Hi Judy,

          Spray mount from 3M’s can work very well and give you a good even finish. You can spray to cardboard or thin MDF board.
          It can also work well for watercolour paper to prevent it warping.


          1. Great suggestion, I’ll give it a go. Thanks very much Will.

  39. Hmm… I guess I should try this, I do tend to talk when I draw, but I also have bad hand writing… You think that affects my drawing? I have always written the same way since a very young age, if you have any tips to help me draw or write better that would be a big help…

    Thanks for the article anyway! :)

    1. Thanks Tyler, trying to draw without talking can make a big change in the accuracy of your observation with your drawing.



  40. One of the biggest hidden gems I discovered is to get the lowest level of detail right, before attempting to add another level of detail. Line drawings are notoriously hard to get right the first time and takes so many attempts to master. I’ve fallen into the trap many times, thinking my line work is good enough, but it isn’t and then no amount of detailing in helps rescue it. I think it’s what frustrates many beginners. However, the good thing is that once your base shapes are right, drawing in the details become ridiculously easy, almost fun.

    Also the early mistake of trying to “draw in” every detail you think should be in the picture, rather than what you actually see. I don’t know much about the left/right brain issue, but at least here’s some inspiration for people who think drawing is hard:
    My first serious attempt at portrait drawing:
    My current level:

    Your feedback would be much appreciated too. :)

    Portrait drawing is actually a fun way to get into art, because it gives measurable results and you know where you improve; all while increasing your observation and skills.

    1. Hi Hari, thanks for sharing your experiences of your drawing methods, you’ve made a massive jump forward in your skill levels.

      Thanks again Hari.


      1. You’re welcome. And I have to say your insights in this essay are brilliant. I’m always inspired by pro artists who encourage beginners like us to improve and give a clear path to do so.

  41. I am very good with music, and I try to draw some things that I would really like to be able to and they come out as contorted, weird figures. I compose my own music because I can get into that “zone” but with drawing, I have a problem with entering it. I have no clue why.

    1. Hi Matthew, different mediums can take different times to get ‘in the flow’, this is normal.

  42. Is it bad that your site came up opon a search query of ” I can’t draw worth a crap”? I guess I am not the only one to have difficulty with drawing things.

    I can sort of draw something, when it is in front of me (or in a photo). But does this apply with things you are trying to draw “out of mind”? That is, just making it up as you are going along? That for me is the challenge.

    Thanks! And I’ll be back!

  43. Hi Will!
    Your article really helped me! But sometimes when I draw, it still seems like I can’t get the drawing to look like I want it to. Insee the image in my mind, but I can’t get that picture on paper the right way. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Virginia, if you’re after a realistic effect it is always best to work directly from observation, as soon as you start to ‘see the image in your mind’ it can distract from observing the actual object in-front of you.



  44. hi. I found your article very interesting. I just wanted to share and get your opinion or advice in my case. here’s the deal I’ve always been really good at sketching and drawing things I see in front of me especially cartoons (even the very detailed comic book characters) however whenever I try to draw the same thing from my imagination it always turns out to be a total disaster.

    1. Hi Kamal, it’s a case of practicing the shapes and understanding the forms to make a shape, have you seen any of Mark Crilley’s excellent tutorials?



  45. I never thought that it’s all about how the the left and right brain works. Thanks to your tip, I managed to shut my left side of the brain shut up coz of music and noticed that my drawing got slightly better. I’ll never forget this tip of yours.

    1. Pleased you found it helpful Noel,

  46. i really want to learn how to draw so i can be a tattoo artist when i get older but im a very bad drawer but i want to no if i keep tracing will my hand get used to the movement and will i start to draw good? also is drawing pictures and drawing a tattoo different ?

    1. Hi Shana, to draw an effective tattoo you need an eye for detail, design and a steady hand, but the principles of drawing remain the same.

  47. This is a fantastic article! I’ve shared it with friends, artist-friends and fellow elementary teachers who “teach” art but aren’t comfortable in it themselves.

    When I draw, I find my inclination is to simplify to a cartoon-like state. I don’t necessarily want to do this or like to do this. Is this just a case of needing to continue drawing, drawing, drawing, or should I be “copying” styles I am drawn to instead of just sketching from imagination? (Or both? Or something else? I am very frustrated with my sketch book lately.)

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Patrick, pleased you found the drawing article of interest. For developing your observational skills then drawing from life is always the best way to progress. ‘Copying’ styles that you like can be a fantastic way to understand how an artist approached a drawing (Master copies are an excellent way to develop classical painting skills)

      So it depends on what your end goal is, if it’s more concept art, working from your imagination can be a great skill to practice, if it’s a more realist approach studying from life will be the best method.

      Hope this helps,


  48. Ive referred back to this several times but I can never get it right… still

    1. Hi Spencer, have you tried the latest article on light and shade? drawing tutorial part 2 coming out next week.

  49. Hello Will!
    I’ve so much to say, I’m not sure where to begin!
    I’m a software developer from southeast United States. While seemingly irrelevant, this gives me a deep appreciation for the amazingly plentiful and richly informative plethora of tutorials(FREE EVEN! Wow =0 ) and posts, blogs and articles you have available on your wonderfully organized, professional website. I develop websites on a daily basis this is no small chore! Not to mention, the sheer quality of information (and so much of it!) that you provide here free of charge that covers such a broad range of drawing and painting essentials far exceed any other available resources, even those with subscription-only paid access. Your site is truly the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow! If someone had told me such an astonishing amount of professional teaching and guidance were freely available, I would have assumed they were a pathological liar. =P
    With all that said, your time, effort and passion for your work and devotion and responsiveness to all of your students is greatly appreciated and unparalleled. You truly are a gem and have inspired so many people and so many more to come!

    I have created a folder on my phone especially for links to your various tutorials and articles because I just can’t seem to stop reading them. I’ve also even created an email account especially for your newsletters and updates, so as to not have to look at any other mail in my inbox and be able to go directly to your newsletters. =D

    I’m a self-taught artist and musician. My father, rest his soul, was my biggest creative influence. He taught me music and not how to draw but how to see from a very young age. Thankfully, I inherited his artists eye and musicians ear. I know that to an extent, artists are not born, but are trained, but I like to think that my grandfathers beautiful creative woodworking and my fathers unique artistic abilities have been genetically passed to me and are what fuel my need for creative outlet and understanding for artistic concepts. This is why, I felt compelled to attempt to express my gratitude to you for this priceless growing resource that you have provided to the world.

    I’ve yet to barely scratch the surface of this mountain of knowledge and acquired wisdom. I feel confident that I can use your site for years to come to grow as an artist from beginner concepts and techniques to mastery.

    I’ve even reviewed some of your available paid online courses and I am in awe of the affordability of such in depth and interactive “why’s and how’s” (as you put it) of so many topics in such a broad range from beginner to advanced for drawing as well as painting. This is a glorious dream come true for me.

    It’s even worth mentioning, (you may have not thought of it this way) that since you have such a massive amount of free tutorials and guides available for a beginning artist to work through, that this is a great help in allowing the new artist to use their extra funds that would have been used for art classes or workshops, rather in purchasing higher quality drawing and painting supplies while initially building their artistic “tool box”, as I call it, which in turn allows for them to have greater level of progress and better results. I had personally began painting using cheap, low quality paints and had less than desirable results, not knowing how much of a profound impact the quality of my materials would have on my work. It was only after investing in a higher quality grade of paint products that I was astounded by the difference these things made in my finished product.

    Finally, I wanted to express my appreciation for the level of effort that I see you put forth in interacting with your students. Your speediness in responding to comments to your articles and tutorials. I’ve seen questions remain unanswered in public forums for far too long on all sorts of websites. Only here, have I seen the founder of such a site respond to not only a few but every single posted comment by visitors and students. It is an honor to even have stumbled upon your site and I will henceforth direct any and every inquisitive artist that I cross paths with to your lovely art school.

    I am sincerely sorry to take up so much space here with such a long post, but not even these numerous words can accurately convey how thankful I am for your work and effort. One final compliment ~ I thoroughly enjoy viewing your video tutorials, in particular because I love your accent! =P

    Keep up the fabulous work Will! You are one of a kind and deeply inspirational.

    Lex =)

    1. Hi Lex,

      Lovely to hear from you, and thanks so much for your more than kind comments on the art school site. So pleased that you have been enjoying the tutorials (and accent!) have a great weekend.


      1. This may not be the appropriate area, but I have a question regarding preparing the surface upon which I will be painting. Before I ask, a pinch of info:
        I use liquitex acrylic paints to paint landscape type scenes on to flower pots. This may not be the best paint for this task, but I like the versatility of acrylics. Anyway, since traditional flower pots come in reddish orange from the store, they already have somewhat of a ground. I was considering “preparing the pot” surface with a more neutral, perhaps even dirt or dust color to show through as earth behind leaves, trees and grass that I paint on the pot. Are there any no-nos as to what color is used for the under painting? Would a dual tone initial layer be ok with earth tone below the horizon and sky tone above? Any input is appreciated, I know clay pots may not be your forte.

        1. Hi Lex,

          Acrylics will be great for this sort of project.

          Have a look at this video on coloured grounds, you can use any colour that you like that will most complement the scene.

          Hope this helps,



  50. Hi Will,
    I have struggled for years to get my left brain to quiet down, and have discovered that listening to music, especially jazz,especially piano, non-vocal, is my fast track into the flow. There is a lot of research to support music as a right -brain function (although it is comlex) so it makes sense to me that it aids in the creative process of art. I would encourage others to find music that might help to deliver them to the “flow”!

    1. Thanks for sharing Susan, so pleased you’ve found music as a great way to get into the flow!



  51. i have a problem that is i cant draw though i dont speak while im talking i draw when im all alone and things are calm but still i dont see better results of my drawings at all can you help me out with it?

    1. Hi Mariam, if you’re drawing in silence that’s a great start! I’m releasing an updated version on my absolute beginners drawing course in the next few days (with a launch week offer), that would be the best way to discover some of the blocks that might be holding your drawings back.


  52. Hi Will.
    This is a really interesting topic, and all you said here really makes sense.
    I’m going to explain my situation right now. Lately, I’ve been thinking that I’m too impatient when I’m drawing. I want to see the finished drawing, but I want it quickly and I want it to look good, and at the end I get frustrated because it doesn’t look like I wanted it to be.
    I’ve been to a few art classes in the past. I think I pretty much know how to look at an object and draw it, so right now what I want to do is, for example, draw an apple that it’s not even there. However, I can’t completely visualize what I’m going to draw and then reproduce it on a paper. So when I copy a drawing, it looks good, but when I’m creating my own, it looks terrible.

    Reading your post made me think that I’m really a left-brained, and that I’m better at writing than drawing. When I’m writing, I feel the state of “flow” that you describe, and I’m not in a hurry to finish a chapter or anything, I just enjoy it and write until I run out of ideas. I want to feel the same way when I draw as well.

    Another thing that I think that makes me impatient is my deviantArt account. When I just finish a drawing I automatically upload it there. I’ve been thinking that I should just draw and cease my account activity for a few months, so I might be able to focus more. Do you think this will help?

    Anyway, I want to get rid of my impatience and actually enjoy the process of drawing. And I want to be able to visualize something on my mind and draw it like I see it. Any tips?

    Thank you, and good job on this site, all of your posts seem to be really interesting and helpful! :)

    1. Hi Arcaine,

      Pleased you found the article of interest, drawing can take time.

      Especially if you’re trying to achieve a realistic effect. Some of these cast drawing studies from the Angel Academy of art take over a month, per drawing.

      So it sounds like you’re trying to achieve an end result that would be very hard for anyone to achieve within the time constraints you’re placing on yourself.

      Take it easy on yourself, as the inner critic can be quick to judge on a drawing that just needs a little more time.

      Hope this helps,


      1. Hm, I see. Thanks for your reply.

        By the way, do you have any advice on how to practise drawing something I see on my mind? Because, as I said, I can’t draw anything I’m not looking at, and I want to have my own creations at least once.

          1. It seems to be, I’ll read it right now. Thank you!

  53. Dude your a genius. This puts so much into perspectiveand is truely motivating! Thanks a ton.

    1. You’re welcome Blake, pleased you found it helpful.

  54. Getting into car design. The thing is I’ve never drawn anything this in depth or really anything in depth. My biggest accomplishment could possibly be stick figures. I have the ideas and awesome concepts of cars in my mind but putting it on paper is an issue I cannot overcome at this momment. Since I’m a huge beginner do you recommend this video set for me?

    1. Hi Dan, the course teaches how to learn how to draw by observation, it doesn’t cover concept drawings or 3D design principles which would be more beneficial for car design, so wouldn’t be the best course for you.

      Hope this helps,

  55. Hey, I loved this truly. I’m at a part where I really want to start drawing and break away from my comfort zone. As I was reading I was nodding at all the things I catch myself doing. Talking a lot in my head or to a friend, or drawing a eye or mouth not to perfection and then saying that it’ll never be good. This gave me hope that I will get better!

    1. Great to hear it William, pleased you found it helpful to keep strong on your drawings!

  56. I’d like to add my 2 cents :P
    I went from drawing pretty badly to drawing well after changing 2 things:
    1. Be more patient: if something doesn’t look right, erase and try again. and again, and again.
    2. Don’t edit: the nose might look huge, the eyes look small, or the neck looks fat, ignore the urge to edit. Stay true to the subject material and don’t try to beautify as you go. You’ll end up with a half cartoon version of your subject.

  57. I read this page twice because I enjoyed the informative contents! I like most the part of “3 reasons why you can’t draw” and they are absolutely right! I noted that I talk I can’t even color the paint! , and when I start a paint (alone) I would suffer from the internal critics and would stop drawing. I have a friend , who is a painter, to follow up , encourage me, and try to kill myself criticism. Actually I couldn’t imagine that I can produce a single paint, thanks God ! I have 4 now!
    So, for those who have severe self criticism (as I had) I advise to find a painter or a trusted friend to support them and try to kill the negative thoughts and judgement on their drawings/ paints.

    Many thanks for this informative website! I learned a lot and yet many things to be tried and learned! Really thanks!


    1. Great to hear you enjoyed it Fatima, and pleased your paintings are going well!

  58. This has been pretty helpful, since I am not not too old, I am somewhat young. I have two really good drawers in my class, and I don’t like asking for them to draw me a picture. I can finally draw one myself :D

  59. Great article, but I am bit confused. When you say to draw the shape around the object, lets say a lamp, am I to look at the outer part of object? Like if the base of the lamp has a curve, should I be looking at the outer part of curve and go from there?

    1. Hi Talish, I’m looking at this shape around the object, so if the base of the lamp has a curve I’m looking at that curve and the space it creates next to the lamp.

  60. I’m an aspiring comicbook artist and the only real problem I have is learning to repetitively draw my comicbook character,trying to make her look the same each time. Please help me
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Jerry, you might find this website, more focused towards drawing comics of benefit.
      Hope this helps,


  61. Thanks a lot,this advice have been very useful to me.

  62. definitely No.2 for me.
    Comparing my attempts with the decades worth of work(and study/training) of my heroes like Durer, Bierstadt, Beaugereau, Ingres etc gives me much self doubt and frustration. Trying to become more happy with the process and the fact I actually got something down on paper should be the goal.

    1. So true Phil, comparing yourself with the past Old Masters is a sure fire way of self-doubt with your drawing. just try and compare yourself to you, and the drawing improvements you make.

  63. I have never truly tried to do art on my off time since I am so bad at it. This article gives me a little bit of motivation to perhaps give it more of a chance.

  64. i’ve just read this article and i believe that it motivates the reader , Honestly i’ve always tried to learn how to draw yet i always end up with the same result … 0 , and for that i decide that i’m not good enough to draw , yet this article gave me the ansewrs about ” why i’m i terrible at this !!??? ” . thank you so much about these valuable information and i’ll start to follow them to achive what i want .

  65. What you wrote was simply amazing as it was fascinating!

  66. Sorry I sent a question I wasn’t done with but anyways to sum it up how do I train myself to see life and art more realistic then just some crazy shapes and colors? I usually paint more abstract crazy objects and animals but I want to go more into drawing the human more realistic so do you have any tips on how to do that or is that more of something I have to just practice and let it come naturally? Btw your website helped me a lot. I love it! :)

    1. Hi Megan, it’s the same process for drawing portraits and figures, looking for the abstract shapes within the face to draw it more accurately. Pleased you’ve been enjoying the site.

  67. I’m saving my pennies so I can get the materials for this course and then the course itself….. I’m so looking forward to getting better as an artist. My inner critic is alive and well fed.

  68. I must say that the advice to start a drawing lesson with your non-dominant hand (for me, my left) has been some of the best advice I’ve had. My problem is that some days, I draw from my shoulder… and some days I just attempt to draw without warming up or putting my shoulder into it at all. Forcing (terrible) drawings with my wobbly left hand seems to wake up my shoulders, when I switch to the proper (right) hand suddenly I’m drawing from the shoulder again and all is well.

    I also have tried putting the pencil in my left hand, grabbing my left wrist with my right hand, and letting my right shoulder draw, with the left hand doing nothing but holding the pencil. It works!

  69. i really like drawing but i have a problem of sketching.if i can sketch an object it would be like i’m not going to do it well,so anyone can help how to make sketching be easy

    1. Hi Cortez, you just need to give yourself permission to create a sketch that doesn’t look finished or 100% accurate, a sketch is exactly that, a way of getting your ideas down quickly. Try setting yourself a challenge of filling a sketchbook in a day. It will force you to work quick, and not be as precious about the process.
      Hope this helps,


  70. Since new years is right around the corner i wanted to do something i thought i never could before, and one of the is drawling. i always have fantasies that i want to draw out and make a story out of them, but i’ve never had the skills to be able to make that come to life. After reading this its giving me hope that i can get to where i need to be.

    1. Great to hear you’re feeling inspired to start drawing,

  71. Hi, I found this article really interesting. I’m 14 and feel that I can draw quite well but I have no Idea how to do like, you know when there’s like a few strands of white hairs in black hair in pencil portraits from lighting if you get what I mean? I don’t know how you do them and it looks scruffy. I know it’s not completely relating to this but I’ve never talked to an actual good artist before and I’d love to know how you think you should do it. I’ve looked everywhere

    1. Hi Emma, all you need to do it take a plastic eraser and very carefully cut it to a sharp point, then you can use this thin edge of the eraser to pull back the highlights, if you find the eraser too tricky to hold you can also use a perfection eraser like this one from Faber Castell.
      Hope this helps,


      1. Ah thank you so so much! Been struggling for ages:)

  72. Hello There. I am starting out drawing and my question is if being fifteen years old (nearly sixteen) is too late to start drawing? I’ve drawn in the past, but it wasn’t very consistent and I can’t draw anatomy very well. But when i did a realism picture, I was surprised at how well I did! I draw as much as I can each day… but I keep wondering if it is too late for me to start or if I would be able to catch up to people who have been drawing since they were young…

    From Amely :)

    1. Hi Amely, I think the oldest student I currently have who is starting drawing from scratch is 93, so it is definitely not too late for you to start, sounds like perfect timing.

      1. Thanks for replying Will. Your comment is greatly appreciated :)
        And wow! 93 year old beginner! That person has alot of spirit!

        1. You’re welcome Amely, hope it helped.

  73. hello this is very usefull artical for artist.
    im searching for internet for some answers for art questions of mine but i couldent find. if you can answer them as a proffesional artist im so glad about it.
    im a bigginer and i need to be a realistic portrait artist. im using only pencil. here is my quizes…
    1. how to get the correct shape of faces or objects. im not talking about imagine drawing. when i copy some photograph i have to erace many time untill get the correct shape.
    2. how to rezise to draw some photograph?
    3. how to do still life drawings?
    if you can help me with answring those quiz i will never forget you as my teacher. thank you.

    1. Hi Tikiri, to answer your questions:

      1. how to get the correct shape of faces or objects. im not talking about imagine drawing. when i copy some photograph i have to trace many time until get the correct shape.

      This is all about developing your observational skills

      2. how to resize to draw some photograph?

      You need to ‘scale up’ the drawing using units of measurement

      3. how to do still life drawings?

      Start with a single object in a strong directional light source and build from that starting point.


  74. hey, just got one question.. I personaly never had drawing lessons and I like drawing, I always have. Is there a difference with a person who has never had drawing lessons but naturaly has a talent in drawing and a person who learns by training with a teacher? (like who is the most experienced?)


    1. Hi Oliver, drawing lessons and practice will always give you much more experience to create realistic drawing.

  75. Hi im isabelle
    Im 16 and i love art and drawing, its one of my absolute favorite things to do. I am very creative. I love drawing on myself and other people, i want to be a tattoo artist when i get older (or anything with art if that doesnt work out). Anyways, when i draw its always patterns and flowers. Its different shapes and colors and patterns and designs. But i never actually draw objects, im not near as good. It really bothers me because its so limiting. I see other people drawing amazing scenes and whatnot, and i just dont know how. Another thing is that i know i am very creative, but i dont know how to express it. Like, ill get in the mood to draw or paint and make something, but i have no idea what to draw. And its frustrating. What can i do? It makes me feel like im losing my creativness, and thats the last thing i want. I know that i wanna create something amazing but i never can think of anything. I dont know if you have any suggestions or not, but anything would help. :)

    1. Hi Isabelle, it’s often just a case of starting to draw or paint anything to start with. It doesn’t have to be the final subject or even a piece of work that you keep, it’s just to start you creating. Some of the most interesting works can come from mistakes that happen when you’re painting. The process of just making will be the best source of inspiration for your work.
      Hope this helps,


  76. Wow before I read this article I didn’t try as much now I know that it is all about focus thank you very much

  77. Hello Will, I understand it now, (well mostly) I think I’m a left-brainer, so becoming right-brainer eh…? I love to draw and this is how I came to this website, and I would love to learn it. By the way, is digital drawing with mouse different than hand drawing? I mean, if I learn hand drawing will I be great digital artist as well?

    1. Hi Jan, nice to hear from you, yes drawing with a mouse is much different than drawing with a pen, but drawing with a stylus such as on a Wacom tablet will give you the closest feel to hand drawing with a pencil or pen.

  78. Thanks very much that helps a lot. I always judge myself to hard and I need to take control of that because unwanted to be successful in art/life. Thanks again

    1. You’re welcome Mason, pleased you found it helpful.

  79. Thanks you so much Will. First of all you made me realize i really love painting and looks like i have a natural aptness and passion to hardwork about it, also your article give me psyhcological boost to make my dreams happen about painting. It’s look like most of the people (including me) have to pass same hard way to achieve their objectives. I believe your online stuff will help me from the thousands miles away. Thanks for everything!

    1. Great to hear it Ozan, pleased you’ve been finding the articles helpful.

  80. Wow, this is me. I constantly tell myself ‘I can’t do it’ cause of a few failures. But i applied this left side/ right side solution. I could draw! *Mind blown*

  81. Hi Will,
    I came over to your site for a little positivity after watching a lecture on how to become successful in an art career. Afterwards I felt defeated. What I took away from it is that one can never produce anything worthwhile, much less successful unless they invested 15 plus years in intense atelier study (at a “reasonable” cost of nearly $600 per month!) I’ve been a graphic designer for my whole life but the artistic part was pretty much non-existent in that field or at least in my experience. Now that I’m retired I have time to invest into painting and drawing but I don’t know that I have a couple of decades left to get to the point of producing something “worthwhile.” This article helped a lot to keep me from just throwing in the towel. So thank you for being so encouraging and positive!

    1. Hi Cherryse, nice to hear from you and really pleased you’re feeling encouraged from the article.

  82. do realistic artists use a photo to make their drawings? or they are doing their arts on imaginations? I can do realistic drawings using simple measuring instrument, pencil and eraser. but its hard to draw something without that measuring instrument. also its super hard to draw something or someone i see and on my memory? (you may know dj hillberry.. is he using photos to make his drawings or always from his mind?) finally three of your reasons are very helpful. im lucky to found this artical.

    1. It depends, some work from photos, other from life, realistic drawings are a constant method of measuring and comparing with your eye.

  83. Thank you for the interesting article. I don’t know what parts of my brain I’m using-
    I am 46 and just realized that I am not able to visualize images in my head the same way most everyone else can- all I see is blackness. If asked to picture something in my mind I see nothing- no shape, no colors, no lines, no letters, no numbers, no images at all! I thought everyone was this way until I was trying to do a creative visualization exercise in a psychic/empath class and realized that everyone else actually saw the pictures in their minds, I just “feel” them intensely. I can draw well, and have great spacial sense, love design and art, but am unsure how to progress with painting my thoughts and emotions without a “minds eye”. Just wondered if you have ever come across someone like me in your teaching and if you have any ideas that may help me in my creative pursuits.

    1. Hi Anne, the best test to try is to ‘think of your front door’ can you visualize your front door? the colours, the shapes?

      1. Well, I tried- I can not see anything, but I “know” my front door, I can sense it’s qualities.

  84. Hello Will, I have a question that you may not have answered before and this might be a bit long winded but it will only have one point I promise!, so here goes. I was always relatively good at art when I was in school and sketched and drew regularly up until I started work at seventeen, then I more or less stopped for drawing for 15 years (ironically my main jobs in-between were an engraver and leaded glass designer) I now have more time on my hands and have found myself compelled to sketch and draw at any opportunity. The only place I can do this is at the computer desk in the living room very late at night with some music. The thing is I have a young family as well and I can rarely commit anything to paper when the kids are in full flow(at least they have some flow!!) in the room which I don’t mind and encourage. And now for my point, I feel like I could really progress in my art if I moved my desk to another room and sketched in peace and quiet for an hour or so. What are your views on where someone practices their art and is a little isolation artistically a good thing? Your advice/opinion would be most valued as I’m in turmoil over moving or not. Ramble over!

    1. Hi Shane, nice to hear from you, I think creating in a variety of spaces to find what works best is the best way to trial it. I know some artists who can only work in complete silence, or others that love being in a shared studio space. I would just try initially starting with a small sketchpad and get urban sketching. Sounds like there is some great inspiration between your main jobs, and this way there won’t be as much pressure to move everything, and then miss the flow of the kids. I’d start small and then you can enjoy the best of both worlds.


  85. Thank you so much for this, Will. I was so inspired! I am a creative person. I know I am an artist since I’ve become aware of my existence. I do anything under the word ‘art’. And I love to paint. But that passion of mine has eluded me. I did not pursue honing my craft. I succumb from the opinions of others that it’s just a hobby and it won’t do me any good. And to make it worse, I’ve become my own worst critic. But after reading your article, it gets my creative juices flowing again. Learn to shutdown my left brain and feed my subconscious mind positively. Now learning again the basics of drawing. And will fill the canvas with oils and acrylics after. :) Thanks again, more success to you, Will, and a life of significance.

    Nel :)

    1. Hi Nel, so pleased you found the article helpful, thanks for letting me know, much appreciated.

  86. Hi, this is a very interesting article!

    I am like that talking to myself, I am extremely self critical.
    I started drawing at home about 1 year ago, and should have made progress, BUT I have real difficulties to close the critical half of my brain.

    I have a lot of ideas in my head beautiful pictures, but the line between the brain and my hand seems to not function.

    I can see in my head how to draw both object like a tv or a mug and imagine, BUT I can’t get it down to the piece of paper in front of me. What do I do wrong?

    1. Hi Terese, this is a common issue so don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re not doing anything wrong, it’s just a process of focusing on the shapes you’re looking at rather than labelling the objects and practicing on simple objects to start with.

  87. Your website is extremely motivating, i am one of those folks who turn to drawing when i get bored from the daily routine. I love the experience of being in the flow which i usually call as something out of this world, but thats rare these days. I need to get back to drawing :(

    Your explanation of the concepts is easy. My promise to myself is to check all your videos this week. :)


    1. Thanks Rupa, really pleased you’ve found the website helpful.

  88. This article is really helpful! I am amadexterious, so both sides of my brain are usually active at the same time. When I’m drawing, that can be a huge issue. Realism is a huge challenge for me. I can never seem to get the proportions or lines just right. Portraits especially are difficult when facing the front. My left side brain always gets in the way. So much so, that in a few years, I didn’t improve because my left brain said I didn’t have a chance. It’s so frustrating because my right brain always has all these cool pictures that I could never seem to replicate. Didn’t help that my brother is a natural artist, so any kind of art form comes naturally to him and looks amazing. Another thing that was discouraging was my mother’s amazing painting skills. Even the person I taught the basics of drawing has far surpassed me. I’m stuck in a rut, and I’m slowly starting to climb out, creating my own style, improving little by little, but never once did I think about drawing the space, not the object. I guess my left brain continued getting in the way, even when I was following my flow. I’m striving to improve within the year so I can create my portfolio for college. I want to be well versed, not just have art and the style of what I wish to major in. This article really helps letting me see things from another angle. Instead of listening to my critic saying “something is wrong” I should listen to my inner feelings saying “everything is right.” In a sense, I should draw the space, not the object ;3

    1. Hey Auria, really pleased you found the article helpful, your quote ‘In a sense, I should draw the space, not the object’ is absolutely spot on. That is the essence of drawing, draw the space and the object will appear.

      1. Thank you again Will! I will definitely work on not labeling objects. Doing so may save me a lot of frustration.

  89. First of all, amazing article. It really helped me to gain some insight into the issues I’ve been having. But there’s another issue I have that I just can’t figure out- whenever I draw, I have this strange thing where even if nobody’s near me I hide my art. Like, I have to sit in corners or other closed off spaces to draw and I can’t draw near windows or anything because I just always feel like something or someone is watching and judging my artwork. It’s a weird psychological thing and I haven’t the faintest clue why it happens or how to correct it. I’ve been trying to slowly work myself out of that closed-off comfort zone but it’s yielding a limited degree of success. Do you have any advice that could help to explain or fix this? Anything helps, thank you so much!

    1. Hi Marley, being conscious of your drawing is 100% natural and happens to us all, you can feel like everyone is looking over your shoulder and judging you, they’re not, they’re just intrigued. Putting yourself and your work out there is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding aspects of creating anything. As long as you’re learning with each drawing you’re having success, so be proud of your work and show it.

  90. you are right you telling the truth

    you friend ,asjha wakefield

  91. ever since i was a child I’ve always wanted to draw.i aspire to be an illustrator for comic books.i want always the school type, so i guess in improving my grades my left side of the brain has been dominant. during school i draw less, with which hinders my artistic ability..i guess. i tried to draw last night but i failed, it wasn’t as good as i wanted it to be. i need to find a way to revive my right brain and get it running…

    1. Hi Danny, drawing is a case of practising, making mistakes and then drawing again, just like learning any skill. You’ll often find the best inspiration and ideas come from ‘within the process’ so when you’re drawing, when you’re painting, when you’re taking photos. So keep up the habit and your inspiration will flow.

  92. I used to be able to draw people just fine, without making a grid or anything but i can’t do it any more :/
    I can get the features right and the person can resemble the picture im drawing from, but it’s always off
    my drawing looks nice, but it’s not accurate, idk if that makes sense?
    like it looks nice but it doesnt look how it’s supposed to and idk if it means i just need to practice drawing more cause i haven’t drawn in over a year ?

    1. Hi Palvisha, it sounds just like a case of getting back into the drawing habit with your drawings.
      ‘If I miss a day of practice, I know it. If I miss two days, my manager knows it. If I miss three days, my audience knows it.’ – Andre Previn (winner of 4 academy awards and 10 Grammy awards)

  93. Hey, thanks for the insight I have for a while now been trying to draw a single character that I made up but I could only draw him looking to the side but I can’t draw his back or front views and I know almost exactly what he looks like but I can’t seem to translate it to paper and when I pick up my drawing pad and pencil I just seem to stare at it and draw nothing and then just put it down again, and I still have to draw his freinds and aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrggggg!!!!! Just so much going on and it’s all drawing-block-stuff sorry that was such a mouthfull

    1. Good luck with your character drawings Starminer, pleased you found the insights helpful.

  94. My ultimate take away from this is “draw what you see(aka copy)” until you see it without looking. So it seems like drawing things infront of your eyes is really where to start, not to draw exclusively from within the mind’s eye of how something is imagined, until you’ve done it enough that you can do the later?

    No wonder the best artists copy copy copy until they finally create? (to paraphrase one of the most accomplished I’ve ever seen, and so technically skilled. He traced and copied all his favorite artists till something clicked one day and everything fell into place. And i think that finally makes sense now thanks to this article, I had vehemently avoided it as everyone seems to taught tracing and plagerism as “bad.” And i wanted to do it completely on my own with no outside help….but now I think I get how it actually works…and what I need to do to finally start improving again! )

    1. Great to hear it Montana, yes, drawing what you actually see rather that what you think you see is the key to drawing realistically from life.

  95. Hi I really enjoyed this
    I never thought you could get inspired by the Internet
    But I don’t understand how to not discourage myself
    You are absolutely right about starting perfect then stop observing
    I don’t know how to get to the other side of my brain o.O

    1. Hi Josalyn, so pleased you found the article inspiring, getting going on the practice of drawing, yet still being aware of your inner critic, will help you to develop your practical drawing skills and then the brain will slowly start to quieten down.


  96. Thank you ever so much for this. I came looking for support, all my friends are incredible artists, some have been working for their entire lives, and one has worked for so much less time than I have, but is a purely incredible artist, while I was still only mediocre. What if I didn’t have enough talent? What if i never got as far as they, even though my hard work was so invisible in my drawings. I was upset by this fact, of course, anyone would.
    But now I’ve made another decision, I’m going to work hard at this, and I’m going to make it
    Thank you so much sir for the motivation, a good day to you

    1. Great to hear it Ellen, so pleased you’re feeling inspired with your drawing practice.

  97. Thankyou so much! I love painting. But when I start painting an apple it becomes an Orange. :( but your article really helped me a lot! :D thank you so much! I live in India. My friend told me about you. She said your article helped her so much, well it helped me too. You don’t know you’re kinda famous here!

    1. So pleased you’ve been enjoying the site Seetha, and glad the article has helped your approach to drawing.

  98. Hi, :))
    I’m 13 and I go to a very prestigious and academic school and the majority of my class are amazing artists.I’ve basically spent the previous decade of my life believing that I had zero artistic talent and doing everything in my power to avoid drawing etc. One day recently I decided to randomly draw a picture of a wolf and it turned out really well and I was very proud (looking back its pretty shit but I was happy at the time) and I decided to try and get into drawing. However, I’m constantly becoming extremely de-motivated by my talented classmates and I feel like I’m years and years behind everyone else as it feels like I basically just picked up a pencil for the fist time compared to their unbelievable pieces of art. Also, to draw something well, you need to invest a lot of time and effort and sometimes I just can’t bring myself to do it, especially with my GCSEs a few years away, I’m starting to really lack motivation and passion, but I still really want to get better. The main reason I’m feeling negative about my art is the incredible quality of my peers :(

    What do you think? Should I just stop art and accept my fate as a non arty person? Or should I keep battling to improve?

    Thanks so much,
    Elena :)))

    1. Hi Elena, lovely to hear from you, I think your answer is in your question : ‘Also, to draw something well, you need to invest a lot of time and effort and sometimes I just can’t bring myself to do it’

      If you think of learning to draw like learning anything for the first time, it takes time, energy and practice. Also, you need to compare your progress to you, not to the other students around you.

      Draw an object, label it and date it.

      Draw that same object for the next 10 days, 10 x 10 minutes drawings. Like practicing scales in music.

      Will it be a little bit boring at times? yes, will you want to stop because it feels too hard? maybe. But at the end of 10 days will your drawing has improved? definitely.

      Hope this helps,


  99. thanks for the tip Will. I just checked out this website today so from here I’m going to try it out. After reading this I really feel I can do it. thanks once again.

    1. Good one Aycee, pleased you’re feeling inspired.

  100. This was highly fascinating. I am a highschool student and work on manga and cartoon style drawing. I had heard some of this before, but most of this I had not heard. This was a great inspiration to keep drawing.
    Any advice or recommendations?
    Thank you

  101. I’ve always wanted to do Visual Development, but I fail to focus on my drawing skills, my motivation rarely comes and that’s when I sit down and draw. Thanks a lot, half of what I read was actually what my mentality was running on. I just hope this insight will help me want to start motivating myself again. Thanks again

    1. Good one Annie, really pleased you found it motivating.

  102. Really started enjoying this content!! I paint just for fun and love of it, but thought of learning the art of painting professionally..and found this website.. Excited and can’t wait to dive more into the details of painting :) :)

    1. Good one Sruthi, really pleased you’re enjoying the tutorials.

  103. Wow, this helps a lot. I’ve formed a lot of hobbies that I didn’t even realize were detrimental (watching a video or movie in the background or listening to music while drawing, for example). Perhaps I should try more instrumental music instead.

    I didn’t even catch myself starting to identify and categorize objects, either. I didn’t used to do it, but I think I got into the habit somewhere along the line, and here I am today, no longer able to draw eyes. That’s definitely a habit I need to break.

    Anyway, thank you so much for making this; I think it’ll help a lot in my progression as an artist (this comment was a bit long, whoops).

    1. Really pleased you found it helpful, hope you enjoy experimenting with the techniques.

  104. Thank you so much!! Now I feel that I can make myself think that i can try to start drawing. I am going to practice drawing every day and keep all of my drawings and look back on them and see how much I have improved and then i’ll think about writing a book or two. Thank you so much once again.

    1. Good one Amanda, pleased you found it helpful.

  105. that is me every time i draw. I start of and think its okay then i get to a part i think is tricky and then i can never get it right! I really need to watch those videos.

  106. I have always wanted yo learn to draw and feel I have it in me. I am a very creative person but not artistic. Perhaps I do think too much. I have decided to make learning to let go and draw as one of my goals for 2017. I will use your drawing for absolute beginners as my guide through this process. I will let you know how it goes!!

    1. Good one Meg, really pleased you’re feeling inspired to get drawing.

      1. Lol. 5 years and you are still answering comments. However that is a good thing. Anyway great article very inspiring.

  107. Hey Will!

    Thank you so much for this article. I started learning to draw last May (2016) so this is my first full year of drawing and improving. It’s mostly my observational skills I am working on and it’s getting better! I don’t feel as if there is a block whenever I look at something. I know I will get better with time and patience. The key is to never ever give up. Learning to draw has helped me deal with my anxiety and because of that I feel so much better. My hand is slowly starting to catch up with drawing what I see, but I won’t rush the process.

    1. That’s great to hear Nadia, so pleased you’re seeing improvements in your drawing, here’s to a great year of drawing!

  108. I feel as though I lost my creative touch. I never “learned” how to draw, I just knew. The most frustrating thing is I used to look at a sheet of paper and knew what was supposed to be there. Drawing or painting was almost like tracing, I already saw the image, hardly ever using anything as a guide. My mind just knew. It really bothers me now because I have lost that. I feel as though the picture is gone, I have a problem with writing also. I guess I lost it after I had children. I could no longer dream and be creative; I had to be organized. Almost like I switched sides of my brain that I was using. How do I get it back??

    1. Hi Amanda, just by practising simple drawings will start to bring your skills back. If you draw quick 2 minutes sketches first and then slowly increase the time of the sketches you’ll find your drawing muscle memory will start to reignited.


  109. Thank you so much. I kept on thinking I was a artist and thinking is wasn’t for me because all my friends draw so well and my drawings looked like someone out of kindergarten drew it but after reading this I feel at ease knowing I was looking at it wrong. So thank you for the insite. :)

  110. I have never had any training and taught myself with books but recently have had time to use the web and I really think your web school is one of the best, and have taken a lot away from it in just a few weeks. I particularly like the theory, especially the left-right brain thing , and I feel i lean towards the left strongly (though I can see bits of both in me) which I suppose makes me tend towards over fussiness and detail in my painting and frustration because I can’t achieve what I set out to do.
    So I must engage my right side more but I must admit it seems easier said than done!
    I have always had jobs with a technical bent-like presently 20 years as an IT tech-I retire next year so maybe I will be orientate my old brain less to detail and more the imagination!
    Thanks for such a great web site!

    1. Thanks John, really pleased you’ve been enjoying the website and glad it’s helping to unleash that creative side!


  111. Thanks you so much for posting this! You have no idea how much this will encourage me to keep sketching and keep getting better.

    Every since I was a kid, I was taught to think that being an artist was unrealistic for me because I would have to be born with the talent for it. However, about a year ago, I had realized that art was my passion and that I had settled for less and compromised my happiness because I listened to the left side of my brain.

    Although, I knew that with time and practice I would get better, every time I would pick up the pencil to sketch, I would have already defeated myself mentally and that would ruin my artistic ‘flow’.

    But now that I’ve read your post, I won’t second guess myself and my passion for art. So, thank you so much for helping! There are very few people who seek to help people like me. I really appreciate this!

    1. Hi Neema, so pleased you found the article helpful and are feeling inspired on your artistic journey.

  112. This exactly explains my over-analytical ADHD brain. What insight! I don’t know if it will improve my drawing, but it certainly will give me pause. In other words, Get out of your own damn way and let the creativity flow. Brilliant!

  113. This article actually helped me. I used to be able to just draw people.Now, I can draw other things besides people. Thx a lot

  114. Well I don’t know if this is still relevant or no but here it goes, I always beleive that drawing is a gift as in either you are born with it or not but after reading this artical I might actually give it a try considering the fact that I gaved almost every talent and skill a try why not drawing right? (:)

    1. That’s great to hear Ahmad.

  115. Thank you. I just want to paint /draw for fun. When I was little I was told not to bother by parents and because of being taught as well I had no worth or value, I never expressed myself as a small child should have done. I want to let myself have that chance now, so thank you for this. I love the before after picture of the mug. Well done you for encouraging people and for your kindness. Makes all the difference. x

    1. Good one Sarah, really hope you’re feeling inspired with your own drawings.

  116. I always see something inspiring or other people’s art. So once when I’m in the best mood and very confident I try to draw but I am never happy with it. I’ve had bad days where’s I thought I could never draw. But I’ve been trying to practice. I’m still very far from even thinking one drawing was good yet. But I am trying. Do you think there are any tips to how I can begin to actually love my drawings even if they are just sketches.

    1. Hi Paige, it’s all about learning to love the process of creating and embracing the ‘creativity gap’. This is where you know you can do better, but your level of skill hasn’t yet caught up with your own standards, stick with it and you’ll soon start to turn a corner with your sketching.


  117. Thanks now I will be able to draw better!

  118. thank you for your help as it helped me in many things to improve my drawing skill. I havn’t learned in school of drawing but I am trying to draw in my home and know I am on the good position to draw arts especially of portrait from lessons presented by you and by others online. thank all of you.

  119. I am literally laughing with tears: that mug is almost precisely like my first effort as of two weeks ago. This was an inspiring read.

    1. Good one Linda, pleased you enjoyed it!

  120. My issue with drawing is that I immediately will look at what I’ve started to draw and be able to tell that it’s not right. And I refuse to continue and waste time trying to draw something that is already incorrect in my eyes. Sure, you may say that I should wait it out and maybe I’ll be surprised in the end or something like that, but it just doesn’t make sense to me to take the risk. Why should I put more effort into a task that is already proving to be discouraging and outright poor? I just want to be able to draw the things I have floating around in my head, but every time I put pencil to paper, it instantly starts out wrong. That is why I just can’t bring myself to practice. It’s depressing to be honest…

    1. Hi Chris, that’s often the major stumbling block when learning to draw is that your inner critic jumps in to tell you ‘you’re doing it wrong’ before you’ve even got going! Also, if you’re trying to draw something from imagination it can make it even more difficult. Try just with sketching really simple objects, as more complicated objects and shapes are just a combination of simple shapes combined.

      Hope this helps,


  121. Ah. Now it makes sense. I used to be able to draw, and relished it. Then life took over and I had to make a living in a legal environment – using my right brain. I just thought it was lack of practise (use it or lose it) but the two halves of the brain makes sense. Now, how to get rid of that right brain, especially when my favourite is pet portraits, and if they don’t look like the pet they fail!

  122. thankyou for your motivations!!! I learned a lot and I won’t stop making art and pacticing I know someday, one day my drawings will be excellent like the artists, now I have to keep focus and practicing although it is not so good today but I’ll be an artist one day too. :D

    1. So pleased you’re feeling motivated Jezreel.

  123. Hi Will
    Thanks a lot for this insightful information.Especilly I got this mail at a time when I am losing my flow to draw and paint. You are a great motivator. Hope after reading what you said will encourage me to do better.
    Keep in touch and sharing good information
    Thanks once again.


    1. My pleasure Promila, so pleased you found the article timely for you.

  124. Thank you so much for this very informative email about flow. I have been drawing since I was age 7. I could always get so absorbed into drawing. I am 73 now, and I put on music, mostly nature inspired. Sometimes it’s piano or violin with nature sounds. I totally go into the now and begin drawing or painting. Total bliss. Sometimes my life is very stressful, and this is a comforting escape.

    1. That’s great to hear Kay, glad you enjoyed the article.

  125. This article is about way more then drawing, like you said this mentality is what interferes with most things your trying to learn,or do in everyday life honestly, but no one has ever explained it this way to me…you are wise and have opened a whole new train of thought for me, I’ve always “known” I couldn’t draw well,but why? a failed attempt at a sketch here or there? I sincerely thank you for this article and will check out some of your paid stuff.

  126. Hi Will just wanted to know your opinion on gridding a Drawing ? . Can this method be used as a learning tool to better understand proportions or is this simply cheating ? Many Thanks

    1. Hi Danny, yes gridding can be a great learning tool, you cn start with a smaller grid (more squares) and then get less and less as your perception improves.

  127. Many Thanks

  128. Thank you , Will, for making the right brain, left brain subject easy to comprehend. I am taking a class right now in beginning drawing. We are currently working on perspective, I have been experiencing some sort of mental shift or “click” when I try to concentrate on what things really look like VS what I “know” is there. It is frustrating and fascinating at the same time. But at least now I know what is happening in my head! And what you said about talking is so true. I find that even trying to draw while the other people chatter in class is difficult.

    1. Pleased you enjoyed it Kate, hope the perspective drawing went well.

  129. Hi, I used to love to draw when I was young. But I stopped it after I went to middle school. I lost my passion about art. Now, I want to start it again. I want to find jobs that are related to drawing. However, I don’t know how to start it. Should I start with fundamentals exercise? Should I start with human figure first? or should I start with environments first? How do I start it?

    1. Hi Yaya, I would ‘begin with the end in mind’ and look at the types of jobs that appeal to you that are related to drawing and then work backwards to see which style of drawing would be fit.
      Hope this helps,


  130. Hi, I always loved drawing but now I think of my drawing negatively mostly because I often see others draw better than me and can’t help but compare myself to them. Whenever I draw something, it just doesn’t look right no matter how focused I am. Is there a way I can start drawing while thinking positively about my artwork? Is there something to drawing things that I just don’t know about?

    1. Hi Crystal, it’s more of a case of comparing your work today to your work from yesterday. Seeing a sense of self-progress is the best way to keep yourself encouraged and happy with your drawing.
      Hope this helps,


  131. I’m 14 and I just gave up on art because whenever I do anything that I think is vaguely good and show my parents, they don’t give me any praise ever. My older sister is the arty one in my family and they just congratulate her all the time on her art (which is good). They made me lose my motivation and now whenever I feel like drawing, I start then break down crying because I think I can’t draw, because of them and people at school.

    1. Oh dear Heather that doesn’t sound good, you’ll be able to develop your drawing skills too it just takes a little practice. Try finding the favourite thing in your room and set a plan to draw that same thing every day for the next 7 days, but there are rules.
      1.You can’t look at, criticize, or show anyone the drawing after you’ve finished it.
      2.The drawing has to go in an envelope in a drawer.
      3.Only at the end of day 7 can you have a look at your drawings.

      Hope this helps,

  132. hello i am Avadhesh and I am from India i learnt a lot from this website. I am 12 year old my art skills has been imporved thanks a lot.

    1. Good one Avadhesh, glad to hear your art skills have been improving, great job!

  133. Looks like I’ve got some practice to do… In shutting down half my brain.

    I am the *definition* of a logical thinker. I’m a writer, not a physical artist… But I’ve recently wanted to have a new hobby, to expand my creativity. Problem is I’ve never been able to draw more than cartoonish, bubble-bodied figures, and even that not so well. Hence I found your article here. I’ve found my courage and will attempt to overcome my inner obstacles. Here’s hoping that with time and dedication, I can call myself an artist without having to explain to people that authors are artists too.

    1. That’s great to hear Robert, sounds like your starting within the perfect attitude to developing your drawing skills!

  134. Hey , Thank you for this
    i bit worried if i can’t improved my drawing skill, although my drawing ability is not bad , i still want to improved it , but at this time i feel don’t develop , this the reason i fell worried , i dont want stuck on my drawing skill on this time , i still want to develop. can u give me some suggestion?

    1. Hi Jonathan, if you think of drawing as a ‘skill’ that can be developed it can help to re-frame your thoughts on in. Have you ever improved your driving skills? your cooking skills? seeing drawing as a skill that can be learnt and developed helps to quiet the voice of “I need a natural talent’ and feel empowered to start.

  135. So I commented here two years ago and I practiced what you said, I don’t see much improvement but I do see some which is what matters. Thanks again.

    1. Fantastic that you’ve been seeing improvement in your drawings, great job!

  136. Hey there!
    I am a writer, and I’ve been more than interested in drawing my characters. So far, all I’ve been able to draw is trees. I guess thats not a bad thing, but until I start writing books from the perspective of a tree I’ll still be stuck. This being said, do you have anything to say about drawing humans? Hair in particular.

    1. Hi Claudia, nice to hear from you, I don’t currently have any lessons on drawing characters/figures.

  137. It’s kind of interesting reading this. I’m a visual artist myself, and never really thought on these things much. I will say, though, I am quite a critic when it comes to my art. Others will tell me “It looks great” or “What are you talking about, that’s amazing” but while they admire the creation, I tend to see the things that be not. Because of that, I’ve actually kept away from asking non artsy relatives and friends for remarks or opinions lol.
    But the improvements with that cup drawing are stunning! Nice job!

  138. So, both sides of the brain are important, but the right side is better for some things, and the left side is better for other things?

  139. I’ve always said that drawing is like meditation for me. I become perterbed when people interrupt me. Now I know why. Thank you for that. It was quite well said.

    1. Pleased you enjoyed it Chris.

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