I can draw a cat

Mickey (A5 Prismacolor indigo blue pencil 2020)

Axel Scheffler, perhaps best known as the illustrator of the Gruffalo, once said in a radio interview that if you can draw, people think you can draw anything. There are, he continued, so many things he wouldn’t even attempt.

As a young man this used to bother me enormously. Why can’t I draw a passable bicycle? If I can draw a dog why do I struggle to draw a horse? These days I simply avoid drawing bicycles or horses, but if my life depended on drawing a bicycle for some odd reason then I’d draw it like Quentin Blake.

I’ve also regretted never learning to play the guitar – or the acoustic bass. Why didn’t you then? you might ask. The answer, I’m afraid, is that I never wanted to be a mediocre musician and I was daunted by the amount of practice required to become proficient.

This is all rather sad, isn’t it? Worrying about what one can’t do instead of celebrating what one can. Not doing something that would have probably given me enormous pleasure and provided great comfort down the years simply because I would never be John Renbourn or Stefan Grossman.

Bonny Mayer: Glasses

My good friend, Bonny Mayer, recently decided that she’d like to draw and enrolled in a class during an extended stay in Thailand. After a couple of hours the teacher returned her money and advised her to try something else. Most of us, hearing that evaluation of our skills, might never pick up a pencil again. Not Bonny. On her return to the US she enrolled in another course and frequently posts her wonderfully vivid, lively drawings on Facebook (see above).

Let’s celebrate our own potential then, draw wonky horses and raise one of Bonny’s characterful glasses to the art of not giving up. We have one life and it’s frustratingly short, so not filling it with as much as we can would seem to be something of a shame. Wouldn’t you agree?

29 thoughts on “I can draw a cat

  1. Yes, I would agree…
    And I love both your cat and Bonny’s beautiful glasses!
    The older I get the more I think it’s the attempt and the energy first… and second the swift kindness to yourself if it’s not perfect and the immodest celebration when it is, even if only to your own eyes! Cx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hear, hear! Well said, and a good reminder. Reading your blog, Michael, is an excellent way to start my day and begin again. Restart my engine.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your wisdom. Keep posting! (But, like your guitar playing, I am not taking up the fiddle because I don’t want to listen to myself practice and I would prefer to get better at painting instead of getting mediocre at playing the fiddle).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So glad to see your post, Michael. Congrats on your retirement. I retired about four years ago and have not regretted a moment een though I loved my career.

    I love your cat! Cats are the only animal I can draw/paint but they always turn out a little wonky. I had the good fortune of having a dad who told me when I was growing up that there is nothing worth doing that isn’t worth doing badly at first. I tried a lot; gave up on a lot, but just the trying was an experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just what I needed to hear after coming out of a short stay in hospital! This getting older business has its ups and downs but our lives are too short to waste, as you say. This post makes me want to return to drawing! Welcome back to the blog world. I’ve missed you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a story about Bonny! Good for her for bouncing back – and I love the energy, style, and graphic presence of her drawing. Your cat is full of personality – wow. Good for you for reminding us not to dwell on our perceived shortcomings but to celebrate our strengths. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lynn, that’s very kind. The cat actually belongs to Bonny and has tons of personality and attitude. I’m not a great fan of cats but he’s something special.

      Yes, Bonny isn’t the sort of person to be deterred by such thoughtless criticism. My son was told something similar by his art teacher at school, but both have an individual and very attractive style of drawing. Belief is everything, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s