The best art materials are always the ones around you right now. There’s no need to go out and buy new when first starting out because you don’t need much to start making marks and most likely you already have the necessary materials. Gregory Brown wrote How to Draw Trees in 1947 but the materials advice is still as relevant today. The following 4 items are recommended to get started:
2. Eraser: Though it is better not to rub out, it is sometimes necessary.
3. Pencils: A good pencil is never an extravagance.
4. Stool: … Don’t try to draw standing up as it is difficult to have proper control over your pencil.”
You can simply this list even further to just 2 items: paper and pencil. It really is that simple. Anything beyond that is just flourish when it comes to making marks.
Make marks with paper and pen.
Make anything, it doesn’t matter.
Don’t call it art if that’s too intimidating.
Instead, call it the-thing-I-made.
Don’t focus on the entirety of the-thing-I-made, if it’s ‘good’ or if it ‘works.’
Instead, look for the tiniest of interesting areas details.
A curve of a shape, a criss-cross of lines, an unexpected smudge.
Cut up the work and keep just those details if you like.
Any ‘mistakes’ can give you feedback.
Repeat this process regularly.
“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out,” – Robert Collier
Most answers to most of your creative problems are so simple, you may not believe them. Making art as an adult can be challenging if you’re out of practice. Why then, if children make their art with so much freedom, do adults find it difficult to create with that same freedom? Dan Roam in Draw to Win suggests that we find drawing difficult because of our own beliefs about our drawing abilities and the answer is “you mostly just need to get out of your own way.”
He identifies a list of things that make drawing hard: Impatience, wondering what to draw, worrying about what’s next, editing as you go, a blank sheet and “art.” Then he suggest things that make drawing easy (which are also all solutions to the above issues): Curiosity, starting with a circle, letting your hand go, drawing now and editing later, making marks on the page and “just do it.”
Do you think the suggestions for what makes drawing easy are too simple to be true?For example, if you feel paralysed by blank paper you should make marks? But the mind is your biggest obstacle and it will try to resist at every turn (via the inner critic). “Make marks?” It scoffs. “What’s the point in that if it’s not “‘proper’ drawing? This is a waste of time!” But making marks warms up your hard and starts the creative process. It puts you in a different frame of mind, one where negative chatter can falls away so you can get on with the fun of being creative.
Could your version of what art is be limiting your creativity? If you believe you need talent and skill to get started making art, think again. If you place “art” high up on an unreachable pedestal, it will be harder to fight the disappointment if your art falls short and that disappoint might eventually discourage you to try again. Let’s be honest, most artwork will fall short of a masterpiece atop an unreachable pedestal!
Danny Gregory in Art Before Breakfast explains the difference between capital “A” Art and small “a” art: “Art with a big “A” is for museums, galleries, critics and collectors. art with a small “a” is for the rest of us… Art takes Art School and Talent and years of Suffering and Sacrifice. art just takes desire and 15 minutes a day.”
If you have the desire and 15 minutes a day then you too have permission to make something. Get rid of your pedestals by embracing the small a of art.