At its heart, design includes a way of thinking about the world that’s based in skills of perception. Writing — admittedly my favorite medium — doesn’t begin to capture how one must think in order to explain ideas. It’s possible for written ideas to lie: we can write false things in our language, as well as things that never were. We can also make pictures that lie — I remember being fascinated by dragon paintings as a child.
But both drawing and writing present us with tools to understand our world. It doesn’t take long to develop the mindset that you can be a good artist with practice — but first you must get over the hump that you believe is the mountain standing in your way: “I am not an artist.”
Which is a dumb thing to say. Are you a teacher? You draw things on the board every day. Your pretense that you are not an artist is getting in the way of your students’ success. Do you make your own worksheets? You’re a graphic designer. Do you make slideshows for your classes? Develop charts and graphs for your kids? Sorry: you are an artist.
It takes 2-3 months of weekly or daily practice for people to admire your sketches. You may never hang your work at MoMA or the Louvre, but you can wow a pre-teen audience with your sketches by next September, if you start today.
And then, when they say, “wow, I didn’t know you were an artist,” you’ll be that much more empowered to waking them up to their birthright as human beings — to be artists.