We've all heard this. From a friend, from a family member, from yourself? This is one of those sayings that makes me cringe every. single. time.
For me, this phrase usually pops into conversation after the person hears that I'm an illustrator. 'Oh wow, that's pretty cool, I can't draw!'. This is sometimes followed by me handing them a pen and seeing what they do. After creating a fabulous drawing of a stick man or a cat or a house, they hand it to me and say, 'told you so!' What they often don't think about is that they have just mistakenly lied. The moment that a pen or pencil touches down, a new & unique drawing is created.
I bloody love seeing a non-drawer draw. Yes, it may result in a wobbly naive drawing of something they used to draw over and over as a kid, but who cares?! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all! What I think they actually mean is 'I don't draw'. Two VERY different things.
The sad truth is that it seems most people have had their creative confidence knocked. Whether it's a pushy teacher, nervous parent, or jealous friend, quite often its simply a small comment that makes you think, 'yeah, you're right, it is crap'. Leading to you giving up on drawing entirely *cries for all the missed opportunities for amazing art*.
However I fully believe that its never a bad time to start/continue/experiment with drawing. You are never too old, or too busy, or too un-creative to draw. One thing which I wish they taught you at school is this- THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO DRAW. You just have to put pen to paper and voila! Call me Picasso.
Personally I couldn't give a damn if you can't draw an accurate representation of a nicely presented bowl of fruit or a perfectly proportioned person. That's not really the point. The point is to draw what YOU want to draw. To create whatever YOU want to create. To reflect your personality on paper. To me, these will always be the most interesting drawings, no matter how technically imperfect they are.
Next time you think about saying 'I can't draw', think again, then pick up a pen and see what happens.