Can This Old Dog Learn A New Trick?

Without revealing my actual age, I will admit that I clearly remember where I was when I learned that John F. Kennedy was shot. Ever since then I’ve wanted to learn to draw. Although I took a variety of art classes in middle and high school, I never took a drawing class. By the time I was in college, I fancied myself a scientist and focused on calculus, physics, chemistry, and geology. I would never say it was a waste of time, but my college education seems to have little relation to my current career as a knitter, editor, and designer.

To encourage me to fulfill a decades-old dream, my dear husband gave me a drawing pad and set of pencils for my birthday last fall. They’ve been sitting on my desk ever since, silently taunting me.

I kept looking at the them, imagining how impressive I might be in my next class when I’d draw a sock or sweater silhouette that had proper proportions. I imagined how I’d capture the likeness of my cat Lily on paper. And, oh, what if I could make realistic sketches of sweater design ideas?

I kept myself entertained just thinking about the possibilities without ever opening the sketch pad.



Finally, I decided to act and I sketched three objects on my desk–a Sharpie marker, my cell phone, and a small wooden bowl that holds dietary supplements. The results were less than spectacular. My timid approach is evident in the faint and shaky lines. I closed the notebook and returned to my knitting.


A couple of months ago I revealed my secret desire to my Sunday knitting group, which consists of several “real” artists.  They heartily recommended You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler. Mysteriously, the book appeared in my mailbox.

I was both thrilled and terrified. Could I possibly learn to draw in 30 days? The author insists that “anyone can learn how to draw; it is a learnable skill like reading or writing”.  I don’t have lofty expectations, but I will say that after just two lessons, I managed to draw a couple of tennis balls that look like, well, tennis balls!











Only time will tell if I can learn to draw. For now, I’m excited by the possibility. If I’m successful, I may tackle another dream — painting!

7 thoughts on “Can This Old Dog Learn A New Trick?”

  1. Go for it!
    Take on the 15 – 30 minutes a day practice like I am trying to do to learn to spin 🙂
    Hope you are plesantly surprised!

  2. Take a class. I always wanted to paint and took a short class at our local Art League over 20 years ago. I take classes on and off and love painting and drawing. I learned a lot about colors that I use in knitting. But, Ann, classes are wonderful at opening your eyes. After all, I took a sock class from someone who was a pro to learn to knit socks better. Why shouldn’t you go to a pro to learn to draw and paint? It’s so rewarding! Have a ball!

  3. I have the singing ‘I wish I could’ dream! But unfortunately I’ve been told there’s not much hope of success in that arena for me 🙁 Piano does have possibilities though, in the future 🙂

  4. Ann, you can learn to draw, but like knitting it takes practice. Commit to drawing something everyday. Keep all of your drawings so that you can see your progress. And I am pretty sure you did not become the knitter you are now in just 30 days.

  5. it’s a good started, and just remenber when you learned to knit how hard it was, and how many time you failed.

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