This being August, it is Festival month in Edinburgh, and the city is bursting with events and performances under the auspices of a number of different major festivals. Amongst these is the International Book Festival, which brings together a host of authors, illustrators and publishers in a rich programme of talks and workshops, and yesterday I went to listen to Martin Brown, illustrator of the Horrible Histories series (aka ‘History with the Horrible bits left in’).
In a talk peppered with horrible facts from the First World War, given a comic spin which in no way lessened their impact (on the contrary, in fact), Martin Brown showed the audience how easy it was to draw. Making the point that if we can write, then there is no physical impediment to us drawing, he showed how easy it was to create a picture. Pictures – he repeated with emphasis – do not have to be realistic. In fact, for most of our human history, we have enjoyed artistic renderings which are far from realistic, but which are nonetheless meaningful and representative of people, things, emotions, events – everything, in fact. Pick up a pencil, place it on the paper, and just draw – we can all do this and should not be held back by some sort of notion that we can’t. Just do it.
Each of us can (and should) draw – but in order to draw very well, we also need to practise. Martin Brown made this point equally clearly. Keep drawing, keep learning, keep observing, keep drawing some more, and you will get better and better at it. Practice does make a difference – hard work, persistence and lots and lots of practice. Practise, and you will extend your range and your ability. Practise, and you will enjoy drawing even more.
Such clear and refreshing messages – believe you can, and you will … and work at it to become the best you can be.
What a great way to start the week!