You can find lots of books on drawing “made easy.” I always thought if I ever write a book about drawing it will be the opposite: “Drawing made really hard … drawing as hard as it possibly can be … really, quite difficult and hard to do.”
Why do people want drawing to be easy? Readers, do you know? I think that the difficulties of drawing are precisely what make it grand. If it were easy, what would one gain? Granted, I do not sweat over every picture I make. But I love finding something, an object, a composition, a motif, that is complicated enough to stop me in my tracks. No pat answers, no ready-made conventions, but a spectacle that I must pause and decipher — perhaps one that I have to fight for.
When I was younger, this sea shell seemed so difficult to understand. These protuberances (somebody out there even knows what they’re called, doubtless they have a name) are as numerous and irregular as a range of mountains. Set this shell in the light and it produced the most elegant shadows and half-tones.
I used to find it so hard to draw that I fairly cried at the struggle. Now it’s an old friend.
The intricacy of the natural world provides a refuge for your thoughts. You can endlessly wander through its landscape (I consider this object a most exquisite landscape). Your mind travels down complex paths. It has all the wonder of a wilderness in comparison with which “easy” subjects are like sidewalks.
Of course, one person’s trial is another person’s cakewalk. Find your own challenge and enjoy it. It’s just a drawing. It’s just your perceptions on paper. And you can find thoughts that delight your imagination. You’ve just got to be willing to let it be difficult sometimes.
It builds character.
[Top of the post: Drawing of a Sea Shell by Aletha Kuschan, graphite]