You can draw. Really. Even when you can’t draw.

Ask a child of five or so to draw you a house.

Do they take their paper and crayons, go outside, sit down in front of a house and carefully draw what they see?

…Or do they, perhaps, keep their eyes glued firmly to the paper and present you pretty promptly with a piece of artwork like this?

House - children's drawings

This is a composite of actual children’s drawings.

Home. Windows icon.

…And this is the Windows icon for ‘Home’

Enough said.

You can draw. Of course you can.

Drawing is so easy a child can do it.


Confession time. Don’t laugh, but it took years for a pretty obvious reason to dawn on me.

There are two kinds of drawing

1: INSIDE-OUT drawing

When you draw from the inside out, you just draw the symbols that are already there in your head. You can draw them pretty easily. You have been able to do this since a short while after you tried to eat your first crayon.

2: OUTSIDE-IN drawing

The Paradise of Inside-Out does not last. One day you reach the Age of Wisdom… You (or your teacher) decide it’s time for a dose of reality. Taking a nice clean pad of paper, you go outside, sit yourself down – and get ready to find out if you can draw a house as it really is. From the outside in.

Result? A dismal failure, nine times out of ten.

If you happen to be one of the luckless nine, you kick yourself because you can’t perform as well as a cheap camera. You brand yourself as A PERSON WHO CAN’T DRAW and resign yourself to doodling gloomily on napkins, margins and the backs of old envelopes for the rest of your life.

I once faced a room full of people who swore they couldn’t draw. I asked them to write down symbols as fast as they could for a list of words. Home, Smile, Art, Gardening, Industry. All kinds of general terms.

I was amazed. They couldn’t stop! They got to the end of the list I had prepared and looked up for more. I had a hard time thinking up new words fast enough.

I could tell they found this ‘new’ discovery really exciting.

That is why I know you can draw. Even when you can’t draw!

Today could be the day you start drawing again! Next step? One idea would be to drop in at The Big Draw 


Published by

Valerie Beeby

We used to say 'Seeing is believing'. Now it's more like 'Believing is seeing'. We see what we expect to see. Look again and who knows. Does it really match what's actually there? ...I've always been fascinated by how our minds work. As a writer and artist, I'm particularly interested in new research into how we perceive this extraordinary world we live in, where things are not always what they seem.

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