Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Good at drawing...

'Good at drawing' - yes that has been my downfall.

Why oh why couldn't I have been 'good at surgery 'or 'good at house conveyancing'. Even, 'good at sticking bits of pipe together so that water can pass through them' would have been a more serviceable path to tread than drawing.

The problem began at junior school where I was always introduced as ‘Andrew, he’s good at drawing’ by my teachers. The headmaster even arranged for me to have my picture taken by the local paper - ‘The Thame Gazette’ – holding one of my ‘good drawings’, a pencil drawing of a peregrine falcon. They even wrote short article about my incredible drawing ability.

It wasn’t even a very good drawing, but it furthered the legend that I was - and you know what happens when you begin to believe your own publicity.

After that my fate was sealed. I spent most of my time drawing this and drawing that, sketching here and sketching there. My Saturdays were spent painting, my evenings were spent painting, it simply became what I did in most of my spare time and I’d find any excuse to draw. Everyone encouraged me to draw and ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ at my dexterity with a pencil, they even commented on how good I was at colouring-in; no going over the lines for me, and blocks of colour were nowhere to be seen as I subtly shaded inside the outline drawing of a young deer. I came from a drawing family you see - my uncle Charlie could draw, cousin Leslie could draw, even my Mum could draw the most intricate paisley pattern shapes freehand.

And so it went on. At secondary school I did pretty well at any subject where drawings could be included along with my written work – history, geography, biology, even chemistry; nobody could draw a vacuum flask as well as me and my retorts were to be marvelled at. Unfortunately subjects where drawing was unimportant, like maths, held no interest for me, so I didn’t really try very hard. My school exercise books were littered with comments like ‘excellent diagrams’ and ‘extremely good drawings of a dissected frog’. I once spent a whole week of evenings on a drawing of the Acropolis and then about thirty minutes writing the essay to go along with it. I got an ‘A’ and my history teacher (Primo) commented ‘the best drawing I have ever seen from one of my pupils’ – no mention of the scrappy, rushed, badly spelt essay though.

Each year I won the art prize, after school trips my drawings and paintings were exhibited in the hall on parent’s evenings, I illustrated the school magazine. Yes, I was good at drawing and after taking my art ‘A’ level it seemed only natural to go to college to study art. So I did. After that (give or take a slight change in direction from fine art to graphics) I worked in the graphics industry as a designer for a number of years, then as a manager of designers and artists, and on and on until I arrived where I am today - kind of nowhere - and all because I was ‘good at drawing’.

These days I wonder if I'm good at anything at all, I'm not even sure if I ever was. I keep telling myself to get out my brushes and paints and take it out on the canvas – I’m building up to it and some day soon who knows.

I'm thinking of trying a bird painting, but it won’t be a peregrine falcon. After all, look where that got me.


  1. Phil Morgan commented on Facebook:
    You're the best drawer I know.

  2. Colin Tickle commented on Facebook:
    You've still not splashed oil paints on canvas in the style of that abstract water shot I took yet. We could agree a price... a commission and the first picture for our new dining room, when it's finished. As.for talent, my job is one that will soon be done by kids instead of a paper round. My family tree is littered with artists but that skill bypassed me. If you're any good with a bigger brush, the aforementioned room needs painting ;o)

  3. You should be happy that you're blessed with a wonderful talent;that I'm sure has also given you great pleasure over the years (doodling/ capturing forever a beautiful setting/happy memory)... not everyone is .. :O)
    I haven't been able to work for over 3 years and have lost all confidence and I don't have a talent (I am at my happiest pottering in the garden/tending my pots and keeping the plants alive) - I even envy Caroline having trained as a nurse and having a job for a lifetime (we will always be short of nurses) ... Everyone tells us to turn the negatives into positives (just pick up a magazine and see how many tell you the secret of positive thinking/how to be happy. They've even made a science out of that.
    Why can't life/happiness be as simple as when we were infants (not a care in the world); because we make life too complicated and are never happy with what we have got and learn that there is more (advertising - just look at what we need/want every time you turn on the telly/flick through a magazine...).
    I watched Kevin McCloud in the slums of India. They had hardly any material possessions/ sanitation - but how I would love to have just a tiny part of that community spirit/pride/Happiness.
    But I'm being negative - must turn that into a positive ...
    Little Sis

  4. Richard Shore commented on Facebook:
    "I'll teach you how to be rubbish at drawing if you like. Although to be honest, I'm not sure how I do it, just a natural talent I guess."

  5. David Bell commented on Facebook.
    David wrote "Know what you mean - spent 4 years at the Regional College of Art in Bradford and finished up in a job I never liked; selling ads and managing people for Thomson's and Yell"

  6. Della Jayne Roberts commented on Facebook: Strange how many people end up in jobs that make them miserable ... must be wonderful to have a talent that you can use (and be happy doing it ) and have an end product for others to enjoy/make them happy. :O)
    7 hours ago · Like

  7. I've always wanted to have a skill like singing or playing an instrument or being able to speak another language but I wasn't blessed. Although it may not feel like it, you are blessed with your skill, you have it regardless of what life thros at you, it can't be taken away.

  8. Kevin Burke commented on Facebook:
    Andy your skills are management, you can take those skills anywhere, from a company selling door stops to acompany selling advertising.... matters not a jot you excell at art, you are a management professional. push and you will get.

  9. Ay least your good ay something.