As many of my students have told me, their lives seem richer because they are seeing better and seeing more. It’s helpful to remember that we don’t teach reading and writing to produce only poets and writers, but rather to improve thinking. Betty Edwards in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
When I teach drawing classes I realize how practicing drawing has many benefits for everyone.
As stated in the Betty Edwards quote above, participants of an art class often comment that they go back to their everyday lives seeing much more. They start noticing shapes, textures and values and something that may not have caught their eye before is suddenly much more interesting.
I also notice that once students get past the initial uncertainty of being in the unfamiliar setting of an art class or learning something new, the act of drawing makes them relax. When your attention is focused on looking your busy thoughts start to take the back seat. Art in general is a way to get in the “zone” (or the right side of the brain) and allows us to just be with ourselves and in the moment in a non-judgmental way.
Drawing is a very direct path from your eye to pencil to paper, there is no technological barrier such as a computer or a camera. I think this immediacy has a way of revealing mysteries, either about the world around us or what we might be feeling or thinking.
When I draw these days I am usually working out compositions for paintings or I am sketching while on a trip. Drawing is very portable and a joy I know I can engage in at any time, anywhere.
I tell my students that the most important thing for learning to draw is to having a desire to: and if you notice your drawing ability improving, the more you will want to draw, then the more you will improve. Picture an upward spiral.