Learning to Draw

I’ve always wanted to know how to draw. It’s an amazing ability. It allows you to translate something amorphous, like a thought, and project it on a piece of paper. I also think that drawing is an undervalued ability. I’m always listening that everybody should learn how to code, but nobody tells you that drawing is a must.

I hear a lot of excuses, you know… "because you are not going to get a job drawing, aren’t you?", "because you weren’t born with this gift"… Every artistic craft is seen as it was some sort of magic or sorcery. Therefore, some people are born with it, some don’t.

You know what, I don’t believe it. All of us are born knowing nothing. I’m sure there was a moment in time where Picasso picked up a pencil for the first time and sketched something. And I’m sure it was bad, really bad. But maybe he found something in there, and kept practicing. And he got better, and better, and eventually, "better".

Now, is there an intrinsic component that helps you learn fast and get better? Sure. But it works in both directions. This intrinsic component is also the one that motivates you and makes you stick with it. Is the same one that keeps you awake at 3AM in the morning. Motivation is a powerful driver. So, you get “more” motivated because you have born with something that most people haven’t, ok, but that’s not that what brings you to the top. The key ingredient is Passion and Will.

Passion gets you through the 90%. Will makes you stick with it. The last mille, this last 10% might require (or not) something deeper, something magic. But the hard work is getting the first 90% done. And you don’t need to be Picasso to go there.

My Own Experience

When I was 23 years I didn’t know how to code. I had played around with some Visual Basic in college, but nothing serious. Then came iomando and to speed up the development process I had to help the dev team.

So I learned. I learned the basics of JavaScript and front end development. I understood how to use Git to commit my work and collaborate with the engineers. I’ve never learned that much in such a short period of time.

I clearly understood that I wasn’t “born” to program. I know a lot of great programmers. The ones that go through the last mille, the Picassos of code. And they belong to another galaxy, they are talented and intentionally shaped to be great programers. You don’t understand that until you get to know one. But that didn’t kept me from trying. I wasn’t going to make a living out of programming, I liked it, but my goal there was to help out. I didn’t need to be the best, just good enough to unload the less relevant work from them. And by doing that I learned a ton and also made me a better human, more empathic, more skilled.

My point is: I learned how to code despite I’m not a good programer. Knowing that I wasn’t born with that talent didn’t stop me from trying. So I’m going to apply the same mindset to drawing. I want to learn how to draw better. I don’t pretend to have paintings hanging on the Louvre’s walls. I just want to illustrate my blog posts, my presentations and sketch my ideas clearly when I’m talking to a client or a co-worker.

From now on, I’m committing to that. I’m going to fill all my posts and presentations with hand-made illustrations. I’m sure the firsts ones will be bad… I mean, ugly bad. But this “shame” has to be the driver for improvement over time, so in the long run I’d look back and say “those first sketches were really crappy…” And that will mean, that I’m getting better at it.