Why is it some people are naturally talented at drawing?


Why is it that some people just seem to be ‘born’ with it? Where did it come from? At what point in the evolutionary cycle was drawing seen as useful? Are todays artists descended from the cavemen that drew over the cave walls? I guess drawing was important in ancient times for communication before writing was invented (actually writing evolved from pictographic symbols). I’ve researched back into my family tree and I think only one person was good at drawing.


I doubt that anyone is actually “born” with natural drawing talent. But some people do have a natural tendecy to develop the talent early and/or quickly. I believe that a combination of specific physical and mental characteristics leads to a person having a greater desire for and fullfillment in drawing/painting/creating. The more a person works at drawing, the more they can learn. This can be a snowball effect, that once a cartain level of mastery is attained, the creator feels more reward in the creation process. Therefore, the desire leads to doing, the doing leads to ability, the ability leads to desire…

Do people enjoy drawing because they are good at it, or are they good at it because they enjoy it? Classic chicken and the egg there. IMHO, the answer is, just do it, and the cycle can begin. Keep doing it, because it only gets better. :slight_smile:


Ok. THis may sound a bit wacky to some, unbelievable to others, just plane rubbish to to still more. Please understand that I write this with the utmost sinserity and seriousness. It is personal, but I can take some ribbing if you need to expresds yourself that way.

For me, the need to draw came about at an extremely early age. Before I could talk very well, or do much of anything, I was drawing…scribbling…trying to get something out.

My creativity stemmed from a past life. Or more precisely, from the need to express and understand past life experiences that were, for one reason or another, quite dramatic.

I did not come to this realization until I was an adult. Through talks with my mother trying to find out about my behavior as a small child and through past-life regression sessions I learned more about where my desire to create stemmed from.

At an age when most children were drawing stick figures and scribbling with crayons on walls, even before I could talk, all my drawings were of tanks and airplanes and machine guns and explosions. Scenes of combat and death and destruction coming from a child of about 3 or 4. My mother actually saved some of my drawings from that time. There are technically accurate, detailed images of weapons and armor. Not just a stick figure holding any old gun, but a detailed AK47. At 3 years old. I could not explain it. Could you? Mind you, this was in 1970, and I was not exposed to mass media, or media of any kind, except cartoons. I was not allowed to watch other kinds of TV at that age, or so my mother says. She could never understand it either, so she has told me. So, that being said, where did my knowledge of this stuff come from?

I have come to understand (and believe) that it is from a past life as a soldier; One that died during the vietnam conflict. I won’t go into much detail on my regressions or my findings and verification here. SUffice it to say that I found out who I was/am. Name, serial number, rank, place of birth, unit, squadron, place/time/method of my death, etc. All of it info I spoke out loud during regression and then verified after through months of research in databases and through the net. It solved a lot of mysteries for me.

So, all this being said, I know where my creativity came from: The need to express. Through my life I continued to draw, being praised for my efforts by a very nurturing family and several teachers. I was urged to continue from early on, which had an awful lot to do with it, I think. It has always been about the need to not only communicate the imagery I had in my head, but the need to make my ideas more concrete so that I could analyze and understand myself. It is almost as though there is a tornado of imagery in my head all the time, and that I am alwatys trying to disseminate that information, sifting through the ideas and images to decide what to keep and what to let go on by into the maelstrom. I grab ahold of an idea and try to wrestle it out of my minds eye and onto the canvas or screen or paper. In that way I was not only providing a kind of therapy for myself, but also opening the doors to my own perceptions. In doing so I was able to refine that process and continue to feed and develop it.

I have never been certain that I wholly agree with the idea of a “God given talent” per se. I am comfortable and solid in my religious beliefs, yet find a unanswerable conflict with this past life experience. However, the idea that God has given me a talent is not so believable to me as is the notion that I’ve been blessed with an unquechable desire to continue to learn it, to express ideas and to develop using different media to express myself. THAT is what God has given me, I think. In believing that God bestows talent only to certain individuals, you eliminate everyone else. In my experience EVERYONE has innate ability. What they lack is the desire/experience/temperment/stick-to-it-iveness to develop that. I believe anyone can become an excellent artist if they practice and learn. It takes TIME and DESIRE. That God gave me, and I am eternally thankful. I feel very blessed with my life and what it has been for me.

Well, now that I’ve exposed my inner workings to the masses here, I hope you all don’t think I’m a total looney. I’ve had a very rewarding life and a great career as an artist working in a variety of mediums over the last 20 years. I am a bit on the wacky side, which makes life a lot more interesting, but then I don’t know too many artists or creative types that haven’t got a few screws loose. Thank God for that.

It’s the “normal” (whatever that is) people in the world that scare the hell out of me…the ones that never show any signs of deviating from what is generally accepted by western society. Perfect job, perfect car, wife, kids, house, hair, etc. Those are usually the folks that have the most problems when they get behind closed doors, behind the white picket fences of suburbia, behind the office doors of middle management.

Give me a web site full of creative free-thinking right-brainers any day.


no-one is. those that seem to be “naturally talented” infact work damn hard at it. they simply spend a lot more time drawing and they enjoy it.

the only possibly advantage some may have is in general intelligence, analytical and perceptive abilities.

oh and those that are aware of how poor their work is tend to work at it harder at it, and learn better critical analysis so they can tell why their drawing suck. then they easily superceed any percieved “natural talent” in others, after all, anyone that thinks their work is good isn’t going to improve any.


I have been drawing in different stages of my live , im not the best on shading and all thats stuff but is not beacuse i cant do it is just beacuse i dont wnat to do it u have to love it and u will get it right , i was surprised when i was on first term learning how to draw and how easy came to me , but i just dont have the paticience any more I prefer to use computer to expres my idea. people who like to draw defenitly are gona get better with the time. and they probably have some advantage for the simple fact they put their minds into paper. another thing, i think u cant tell that u born with the skill when ur parents have been drawing all their life and u born and u feel like drawing too all the time.

I hate drawing!! wheres the cntrl Z?


Talent is innate. There are folks can naturally draw well with little or no training. Skill is a proficiency that’s developed. There are certainly those who initially are quite poor at it. However, through patience and much practice can become a skilled draughtsman. Sadly, there are some folks who will never be an accomplished draughtsman no matter how much time and energy they devote to it. Most people fall between the two extremes.


I’ve always just been naturally talented at drawing. There were kids at my high school who took lessons for years and just couldn’t grasp some concept. I’m not sure what decides it or where it comes from, but I’m happy I have it. I have drawing, my sister has singing.

I guess you can work on it to an extent, and develop your talent, but you’re right some people definitely just naturally get it.


I doubt that anyone is actually “born” with natural drawing talent.

Yes, sure, just like no one is born with natural abilities in music, mathematics, and sports, and no one is born with any disabilities either… we’re all born completely equal, little carbon-copies, or at least we have to pretend we are here in this forum, because otherwise some members will feel bad.


Oh, finally. A sane voice. Now prepare for the flames. :argh:

I had a friend in 1st grade who drew nearly as well and as stylistically as Todd McFarlane draws. It was amazing. The kid was in 1st grade with me. Still have a sketch of his.



Practice and genes, that’s all you need. I’m pretty much sure your talents depend on your genes - well, at least a little. Though practice can make even a person without talent very good at drawing.


Lots of people are naturally talented at drawing, but they don’t know yet, or they never will. Talent is worthless and meaningless when you don’t develop it. Talent makes it only easier to learn something, but that’s all. Talent will only mean something special when the talented person works hard on it to develop it.


I believe you are born with it. Sure you can learn or add to your skills.

It is a simple as that, nearly all the kids in my class at school literally could’nt draw or paint anything. I couldnt understand it and it was like that all the way throught the 4 different schools I went too. On average maybe 1/2 good artist’s in each year.




I’d like to think that it’s a combination of genetics and lots of hard training. I’ve been drawing obsessively since I was little – I’ve always had something of an aptitude for it: I understood colours when I was very little and my level of interest in painting has always been high. What I think I inherited from my mother is a love for painting and an eye for details and colours that has made it a bit easier for me to progress, but I got to where I am with a lot of work.

I’m always insulted to some degree, though, when people tell me how lucky I am
to have been given this gift by god. For me, who is not religious, and who knows how much work I’ve put into getting where I am
just putting it down to receiving a gift from someone or other feels quite degrading.


Interesting topic for sure…

I once believed you had to be born with talent to become a great artist… I do NOT belive that anymore. Once in art school, I saw how much my technical skills developed (as did others with less obvious talent). Hard work, patience and a passion for art is all that’s required to become good… or even GREAT! People who seem to be drawing & creating at an early age (I was one), just seem to progress further quicker because of the inherent interest or passion for it.

ANYONE can learn to draw or paint… just takes hard work and a great desire to learn. That’s my belief anyhoo… try it and see!


I think people are born with some natural tendencies to be good at certain things. I don’t believe its necessarily genetic, and I don’t believe that people can’t learn to be good at certain things. But it seems people are drawn to certain activities, and that attraction to them motivates people to work at and improve upon those interests.

I’ve eprsonally been drawing since before I can remember, and according my mother (and others) I’ve always had a knack for it. And I’ve seen people who spend hours and hours every week trying to learn to draw/improve their drawing without much luck. So I can;t disregard talent completely, I think its a factor that plays into the process. Its just not the ultimate deciding factor. <3


I started out wanting to draw and drawing crappy. Then I actually started to take art and drawing classes and I literally saw myself improve its hard to explain I just started drawing a bit steadier and found it to be very fun and relaxing but more importantly it motivated me further to become better at it and learn more techniques. Been doing CG in the engineering area for the longest time and wanted to become an artist. I had similar fears at the talent thing because I saw my cousin and my fiancee who are just incredible artists and draughtsmen. I often had and kinda still have the fear that I would never catch up but I have been seeing myself steadily improve and want to keep on working. So I agree that I think alot of it is passion, desire and hardwork that can make someone a great artist.


The thing is not everybody was encouraged to do so when we were younger. Growing up my parents and family never really encouraged arts or anything but science, math and tech. I was also kind of a hyper kid so my mom told me that they never tried to hard with the art because they felt I would never sit still. which is dumb because I didn’t stand still for the other stuff either.

My grandma was always pressuring me to become a doctor all I knew was it involved like a decade or extra schooling so I said no thanks.

in my high school there was NO visual arts program but there was music and drama and I opted for drama. Funny that should have tipped me off about the whole arts thing.

Now i’m very much into CGI which is about as cross disciplinary as you can get. funny how that works. :slight_smile:


Some people have a natural talent and if they work on it, they can easily get very great, but it’s not only a question of being able to draw something realistically - let’s say “copy from nature”. There’s more to it.

Everybody can learn how to draw something realistically. In my young days, I took a course in a museum and we weren’t really taught anything. The teacher would just drop by once a week with a piece of cloth and ask us “can I do what I would like to do?”. If we said “no”, he wouldn’t do anything. If we said “yes”, he would take the cloth and wipe out a part of our charcoal drawing (very big lifesize drawings which would take months to finish).

It was all about learning to draw ONLY what you see and NOT inventing something which wasn’t really anywhere else but in our minds.

So learning to draw correctly is only a matter of patience - everybody can learn it.

What is more complicated is to make interesting pictures with it and developping a personal style. Composition, subject, color combinations etc. Although there are lots of theories out there to study, I personally think that it is to some extend a very personal matter - that some people get it right quite naturally and others don’t.


Doesn’t sound wacky to me. My mom saved my first doodle done with a pen: a worm inside a tv…I did it when I was barely a year and a half. I relate to your story a lot. Then again, I never paid much attention to graphite pencils until I was 16. And nowadays I stay away from ink and markers, but you get the idea…I think I feel like I am obliged to do art- so to me it’s a love-hate relationship. It is my calling but also my burden.


Like others, I will not theorize as much as tell my personal experience with drawing. Like most kids, I had a love-hate relationship with drawings. If turns good, and my teacher likes it, then it is good, and I enjoy making another one. I was never connected to the drawings I do, they were spontaneous acts. At the age of 17, got into architecture school. I realized that I had extreme difficulty expressing my ideas that I had in my mind. After a while, I figured that my weakness was drawing. Started drawing everyone I know as a Live model, and everyday. Two years later, I had my personal exhibition, and was on top of my class, and graduated the first with three first prize national student competitions under my belt.

Hard work pays off. This is the bottom line. Excelling beyond hardwork, is what most people consider as “talent” or natural gift whether you believe in the Creation or the Evolution.

I still tell my students at the Digital Design class, You must have a good hand to draw, CG by itself is not enough.

A great read about this wonderful organic relationship between the brain and the hand is “Abstracting Craft: The practiced Digital Hand” by Malcolm McCullough