"I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it."
Alice in Wonderland
As some of you know, I have been an art teacher for years. Every age from 3 to ancient (around my age) has come through my classroom.
There are different ways to approach the teaching of art, but for me the emphasis has to be first on learning to draw. Without this skill, there is no foundation for learning more and the aspiring artist is severely limited in scope of future work. The artist is working with a handicap if unable to draw.
Learning to draw is learning to see. To practice recording the world around you hones skills of observation that are essential to the artist. To study how a flower is put together, or how a building looks as it rises from the street, or the anatomy of a kitten while it sleeps, is to understand how the world around you is constructed. If you draw it, you understand it. If you understand it, you can communicate to your viewer.
I recently found the website of Michael Nobbs www.michaelnobbs.com: a Welsh artist who embraces the habit of making a drawing a day and he inspired me to follow my own good advice and sketch something, anything every day. I always tell my students this, but somehow acted as if I were exempt from following my own advice since I already know how to draw. One thing that I forgot - use it or lose it! My drawings are a little rusty, shall we say, but in the week or so since I've been dragging my little sketchbook around with me, it's gotten easier, even fun!
It is my belief that anyone with the desire and the time to practice can learn to draw. So don't be afraid to make a bad drawing. It's just a sheet of paper.