I am currently sitting in front of my laptop typing out this blogpost about the benefits of handwriting at such speed that my keyboard is nearly on fire. Not that I’m the only one… According the alarming results of some research, handwriting is on the way to extinction and some states in the US have completely stopped teaching cursive writing at school. On that side of the globe handwriting is becoming so attached to the past that it’s starting to become trendy again as something ‘vintage’. Bizarre, eh?
Or perhaps not so much… The same way as the value of handmade products grow fast in a completely automated world, we start to recognise again the benefits of handwriting.
Are you meditating while writing the shopping list?
Meditation is, in essence, focusing your attention fully and completely on something. While we take the pen in our hand, smell the ink and feel the texture of the paper we slow down and write ‘bread, milk, cheese’ in a lot more mindful way than if we tapped these words on the smartphone. Drawing the letters stimulates the mind the same way as doodling – it’s only our culture that attaches meaning to these forms.
People claiming that they can draw are in a minority, so there are really only a few people who grab their pencils every day. Of course this does not mean that the average person does not want to draw. Some have told me about bad art teachers, so they quit drawing during their teenage years, others have been discouraged by their lack of so-called talent. The good news is that it’s not late. You can learn to draw at any age.
When you are looking for excuses, you are, in fact, afraid. Afraid of failure, afraid of people making fun of you for drawing something rubbish, or simply for trying at all, even though you visibly have no talent for the thing. However, the truth is a lot more simple: drawing – just like studying a language – is a learnable skill, which does require hard work, but not necessarily talent.
According to my memories, the phrase ‘summer adventure’ came up during the first week of school at least once: during art class. On these occasions I usually took the inevitable colour pencil in my hand with a deep sigh and – after 45 mins of hard work – I was listening with utter irritation to the teacher moaning about my lack of background.
After 17 years of artistic education I have ‘consumed’ several art teachers: some were cold and professional, others cool and inspiring, and of course there were those who were painfully conventional. As a result, I have been called both an ‘enthusiastic creator’, an ‘untalented poor thing’ and ‘devil of smudges’.
Creating is a source of immense joy. All kids know as much, but an unable tutor can effectively ruin anyone’s self-esteem and will to create. So I am now sharing with you what I think makes a good art teacher.
While I could never miss traditional summer lazing, the Imelda-business has been fairly busy, running several projects. The blog has been growing wonderfully fast (THANK YOU!), I can see you appreciate articles about creativity and art. However, this doesn’t mean that I’ve turned all my attention to writing and stopped being creative, so I’m sharing with you what I’ve been working on this summer.
At a certain age we all go through a period in our creative lives when we start comparing our work to real life – or worse, to others’ work. This usually stops us from continuing. In most cases adults would encourage us to stop by calling us ‘untalented’, regardless of the benefits creating art provides.
In a recent guest post I have shared my personal route from being ‘untalented’ to creating art freely. While this journey is still not at an end, I wrote this article in the hope that people will realise that the process of creating is much more important than the result and that so-called ‘talent’ is not necessarily an existing quality.