An Open Letter to those Who Can’t Draw

You can’t draw, therefore you don’t. You can’t paint, therefore you don’t. You aren’t creative, so you don’t try to be. There’s so much we can’t do, so why even bother? If we aren’t good enough, what’s the point in even trying?

If I asked you right now if you wanted to draw, would you politely decline the invitation coated in the excuse that you aren’t good at drawing? If so, this is for you.

First of all, this isn’t about you—it’s for you. We’ve developed a culture of unrealistic expectations which in turn leaves us holding ourselves back. We assume everyone else has “it” but we don’t. What is, it? “It” is everything: art, creativity, design, dancing, photography, chemistry, math, and nearly anything you can imagine. Someone else is always better equipped to do it than us.

Someone’s always better equipped not because they’re necessarily a better fit or that they’ve got the right genes, but because we’re caught in comparison. When we aren’t immediately good at something, we have difficulty investing in the process of learning or even having a willingness to experiment and play.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
—Theodore Roosevelt

We too often are associating the things we love about art with the finished product, on a surface level rather than on a deeper level—one of emotional appeal. In our need for immediacy, we’re constantly searching for shortcuts so it’s no wonder why we forget to acknowledge how art makes us feel.

Let us return to the all too common words which inspired this post: “I can’t draw.” These three words are enough to tear my heart apart. These words hit me so hard every time I hear them not because it’s an excuse, but because it’s a display of our inherent mindset of never giving ourselves a chance; of holding ourselves back purely out of the toxicity of comparison.

Could you imagine if a child never wanted to pick a pencil or a crayon because they knew they weren’t “good” yet? Children rarely place this expectation upon themselves. They aren’t initially concerned with being “good.” They aren’t initially concerned with how they rank in comparison to others. All children are concerned with is the ability to create.

We have the ability to create things. I just want to say that again, we have the ability to create things! That is incredible! As children, this is an incredible feat. Unfortunately, somewhere along the road we lost connection with this unconditional joy for imagination and creation. We can create things!

Art is something we own, and our art is distinctly our own. There is no expectation to be “good.” So long as we compare ourselves to those we look up to and admire, we’ll never be “good” enough. Art is less about the product and more about the process. If you allow yourself to enjoy the process of creation, you will always grow and advance.

Never say you can’t draw. You can draw. I swear of it. And please, never place yourself against others. Art is far less about a spectrum of good versus bad, and much more about our willingness to express ourselves and have fun. Art has been integral to the evolution of humanity, allow yourself to evolve and grow as well.