There is a common misconception that being an artist is either something you are born with or not. The general feeling in society pervades that artists are odd, and going into art is an unwise career choice because artists don’t make any money.
The reality is drawing realistically can be taught, and there are many many careers for artists. There are also many careers which aren’t considered art jobs but that can benefit immensely from people with the skill for thinking spatially. Learning to see the world in a non-verbal visual way is a beneficial thing for everyone to learn. In school there is a lot of emphasis on core subjects such as reading and math. Drawing and music tend to be overlooked because they aren’t considered valuable skills when preparing for careers such as doctors, lawyers, or engineers. But, not only are there plenty of careers in the arts (fashion, movies, video game, and amusement park industries all use artists) but the ability to picture something in your head would be useful for a doctor or engineer.
Part of the reason people don’t see the value of taking an art class is because drawing is not taught as it used to be. Many art classes as they are taught now teach students to express themselves but don’t give them the skills to do so. This would be similar to telling a piano student to play something that expresses himself without teaching him any notes.
When I was about 11 my love for drawing was clear and my parents enrolled me as a student to my amazing teacher Sydney Bowman taught me many drawing basics using the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards.
I’m grateful for the lessons she taught me and I’m excited to teach students of my own many of the principles I learned from her.
If you or your children are interested in learning to draw I highly recommend getting the book and going through the exercises. Or if you live in in Salt Lake County Utah I still have spots available in my classes. Email me at illustration (at) manelleoliphant (dot) com for more information.