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]

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