Are you too old to start learning how to draw?

This article is inspired from en email from Marc, a student of my course [Sketch like the Pros].

He shared with me that he didn’t show some of his drawing waiting to be ready to be good enough for it. It’s a common reaction we have when we start learning how to sketch – especially when we grew up. It looks pretty anodyne, but it’s something that may slow down (or even stop) own progression.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
– Henry Ford

old young learn

Too old to start drawing?

When we are a kid or a teen, we have the alibi of the youth to make mistakes.

Then after growing up as an adult, we do not dare to learn how to draw feeling fear of facing our mistakes.

We prefer to give up and talk about innate talent which is a common and easy excuse to stop drawing. Sometime some of my friends tell me: “Yeah, you have talent but I don’t have it.” If only they saw all the paper ball I put in the bin ! Remember that: Talent is something you can acquire.

Basically, adults or young people face the same issues. Just one of this 2 categories has more difficulties to admit “weakness” with no complex.

Do young people are more talented?

If we have the impression that young people are more talented, it’s is because their passion is not limited by any inhibition. So they live their passion fully. They also have no much ideas of the word “limitation”. They are more driven by dreams. So they take action and grow much faster.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.

Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

– Henry Ford

People with no inhibition progress faster.

Marc said he didn’t want to upload his sketches as he felt you are not ready yet. It’s a very common reaction when we are beginner. “We don’t show anything as long as we don’t feel ready”. From what I see, people who show their clumsy sketches from start improve much faster.

I recommend you to do not hide or keep your sketches for yourself hidden somewhere in your drawer. Show them ! Make them visible. Do not feel uncomfortable or “shamed” when people see them. Feel totally ok that people look at your beginner sketches. They won’t judge you, but appreciate your progress along the way.

Step-by-step evolution. 

What matter most is not the end result, but your progression. Today sketches are just an instant picture of a specific timing of your progression. With practice and courses, you will improve and you will make greater pictures along your journey. That’s why it is interesting to keep track of our old sketches.

We often hear that the most difficult step is the first one ?

Why? Because when we start, as a beginner, we are often too demanding to ourselves. For no tangible reason, we have a crazy high expectation that we need to do a Da Vinci piece of art to validate yes I have talent, and Yes I am able to learn. Doesn’t make sense right ? Again, it is linked to our belief of innate talent.

“Every artist was first an amateur”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“No crocodile is going to eat you.”

I am sure you have ever face someone who said:  “No, No I can’t draw! I don’t want to draw !”. Even when it is about drawing a simple map. There is no harm to try. It is just ink on paper. Nobody is going to laugh at you, scold you.

It’s all in your head. Get rid of your inhibition, you will learn in a safe environment and positive mindset. So you will dare to start sketching, and even practice daily ! Smile

We tend to have a binary thinking. 1 = Good , 0 = Bad

“1” represent the top sketches you see on internet and “0” our clumsy doodles. It’s such a huge gap ! With this mindset, most beginners remain at 0 for very long feeling desperate ! So a good number will give up.

If we draw like 1, we can be happy. If we draw like 0, we feel miserable. But as a beginner, of course you will be closer to 0 ! So this self high expectation doesn’t make any sense.

Instead, look at your daily progression. You will see all the gradation and subtleties in between 1 and 0. So you will start appreciate and see your 0,1 then 0,2 of rising skills … and so on ! It may be insignificant for most people. But for yourself, you will be proud of them and be excited about sketching.

People around you will enjoy your enthusiasm and dedication. Your motivation will rise, and gain a momentum so you will naturally grow faster ! As you grow, you will get even more motivation to carry on. You’ll get into the loop of success !

Motivation is your best ally. 

With that motivation gained and confidence you will  everyday get closer to your goal, you won’t give up (like most beginners do within the first few minutes!). Your motivation is your best ally, an ally you can trust and will boost you whenever you face obstacles.

All start from a decision.

Remember, that deciding to start, you are already above the majority who never dare doing the first step. If you decide to learn, then take the challenge fully. Make your sketches visible and don’t hide yourself behind your mistakes. With more experience, you will enjoy facing your mistakes, as solving them will become your personal challenge.

Nobody is gonna judge you. If they do, the day you will have a great level, they will forget about all your past drawing. They will be the first one to ask you: How did you do ? You will simply say there is no secret. “You climbed the stairs one by one, and believing in yourself made you run.” :).

Thank you Marc for your email, so we could share this article to all. A new year is coming, and it is a great time to reset our mindset, and start from fresh.

How about you ? Are you also afraid to start ? Let us know in the comments your experience.




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About The Author


Hello ! My name is Chou-Tac. I am a product designer from France. If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my industrial design career, I believe that they can also help you reach your design goal as a student or professional. My aim to help you all along with your design projects and journey. Anytime, feel free to leave a comment in the blog or send me an email at [email protected] : )

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