What does is it mean to draw well?

For me, drawing well can be about making a picture that captures a realistic depiction of an object, landscape, or human figure. But it can also be about capturing ideas and drawing the imagination out into the open. Drawing well can make both the answers and the questions in life visible. Drawing well makes us smarter by bringing details into focus that we hadn’t noticed before. In his book, Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing, Frederick Franck called the process of drawing “meditation in action”.


Drawing can be pure bliss. But with the flip of a coin, drawing can also be frustrating as hell. To draw well means to practice failure. It’s taken me the better part of 58 years to learn to embrace making mistakes. It’s important to grow from the errors and success in our work. The brute force of honesty is what drives us to draw well.

In addition to my studio students, I teach basic drawing skills at a number of high schools. When the fear of not being able to draw well grips high schoolers during a lesson, I ask them this question: “Who is the best drawer in this classroom, right now?” After a few moments of watching their awkward exchange of guarded glances I tell them, “The best drawer in class is the one having the most fun.” Drawing well means that we overcome our fear of what others think of our work.


My purpose with DrawingWell is to share with you the challenges and rewards of learning to draw. It’s not so much about making the perfect drawing. It’s about what we come to learn about ourselves and our world through the practice of drawing. And once in a while, usually when we least expect it, we’ll manage to make a really cool drawing. That’s the bonus we get for the hard work and devotion to drawing well.  —Rob Court

About Me: I worked as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer for over 35 years. My client list includes The Walt Disney Company, Scholastic, Los Angeles Times, and Los Angeles magazine. I have written a number of how-to-draw books and started the Scribbles Institute to help adults and kids learn basic drawing skills for work, school, and enjoyment.

My Company: The Scribbles Institute

My Drawings: Observed & Imagined


A Blog by Rob Court