I Can't

Chances are you've seen the derpy cartoons featured on the home page In case you haven't here are a few examples:

piggy pyfon slurpent

As goofy as these are, they do look unique, sleek, and might even make you think I have been skilled at drawing for a while, or just one of those people who is "good at art".

The truth is: I haven't been drawing for more than one month. In fact, a month prior to drawing these cartoons, I would have called myself "bad" at drawing. I probably would have said: "I've never been good at drawing".

It is clear to me now that I was right.

I was bad at drawing because I unconsciously thought drawing was an innate ability.

But, if I'm bad at drawing, how could I make such cool cartoons as seen above? I thought I wasn't born with the ability to draw. Ι certainly wasn't good at it in grade school.

By learning the basics of drawing, I've learned a more important life lesson: very few skills require innate ability, almost all skills must be learned.

I had always assumed that I was missing the good-at-drawing gene, when in fact, there was no gene. If I wanted to become good at it, Ι had to explicitly make an effort to learn.

Anyone can be good at drawing cartoons

The first was when I impulse bought a bunch of sharpie and blendable markers. Ι quickly realized I was, what seemed to be, abnormally good at drawing cartoon characters from some of my favorite cartoons (Adventure Time, Billy and Mandy's Grim Adventures, etc…).

Second, with that new found motivation, I went on a YouTube spree. I picked up a lot of random tips, but the only tip that I will remember forever was this TedX talk by Graham Shaw: "Why people believe they can't draw" ( view it here ).

Shaw's talk made me realize that I could be good at drawing instantly. No one has an innate ability to draw, it is learned, and it has nothing to do with how well your motor movements are.

Learning how to draw simple cartoons became easier, since, as Shaw mentions, many cartoons can have similar traits. Once you learn how to draw the first original cartoon (in his talk, this is "Spike"), you can make many more cartoons by making small modifications to the original.

How I drew mine

piggy drawing pyfon drawing slurpent drawing

Why is this worth talking about?

I said I would forever remember Shaw's TedX talk, was that this is not just about cartoons. It was obvious when I first saw the talk, that I've played the "I can't X" (where X is some skill that requires no innate abilities).