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4 Lessons from my First Week of Learning How to Draw

 

About a week ago I decided to reinvent my mission at the Skool of Life.  I wanted to see if I could learn a new skill every 30 days.  So I decided that I would teach myself how to draw.  Needless to say my first few sketches were nothing to write home about. But I’ve made some progress

As I expected, teaching myself how to draw has come with some valuable insights: 

1. There are no mistakes, just lessons

Over the last week I’ve found myself erasing lots of things.  Much of what I was trying to draw wouldn’t turn out the way it looked in the pictures.  But rather than get frustrated, I kept making little adjustments.  Eventually I got better.

2. Don’t Follow Instructions to the Letter

Most of the instructions in the book I’m using recommend that I draw in pencil, and there’s no talk at all about color. But since I’m using an iPad app, I’ve followed the rules to a certain extend and added my own interpretation to them.

3. We underestimate our learning capacity

I could barely draw a stick figure. I thought learning to draw  was something I’d never figure out. But the right resources and a bit of practice has showed me just how much we underestimate  our learning capacity.

4. There’s a Difference Between Looking and Seeing

The other day I was sitting at a bar in San Clemente looking at the Pier because I was hoping to draw a picture of the pier. But I had to see it:

Looking is a superficial glance, a mental snapshot or an instagram picture. 

Seeing something requires you to get involved in an experience. When you see something, you’ll notice things you didn’t notice before. You’ll see details, imperfections, blemishes, and hidden beauty that many people overlook.You’ll get a sense for what it feels like to be truly present. Seeing is more intense than looking and burns footprints in your imagination.

Maybe that’s why I remember certain waves and certain days  the way I do. Fractions of a second, a turn on a wave, a seemingly impossible drop, or the offshore spray in my face have all burned footprints in my memory that will last a lifetime. I remember them in more vivid detail than some of the most important occasions of my life, like birthdays, graduations, and other things. I remember them the way I do because they are some of the few times I was seeing instead of looking.

I don’t remember where I read this. But the recommendation was to draw a picture in a journal and write about something you’ve seen rather than take a picture on instagram.

So for a moment today, don’t just look. See something. Get immersed in it. Let it burn footprints in your imagination instead of your instagram feed.

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