Is Drawing a Talent or a Skill?

If this question were to be to a poll, most people would say that drawing is a talent. After all, how do you excuse the fact that some people are good at drawing while others cannot even draw a straight line to save their lives?

Because of this assumption, many artists feel discouraged, feeling that they can never be as good as the best at the craft. Such an assumption is sad. 

In this post, we will focus on busting the myth that you cannot be a good artist without talent at drawing. 

What is Artistic Talent? 

To answer the question of whether drawing is a skill or a talent, we must understand what a talent is. In simple terms, a talent is a natural skill for an activity. Artistic talent, by extension, is the ability to make art in various forms. It includes drawing, painting, and 3D art. 

History has shown that some people have a natural aptitude for drawing. One example that many can relate to is Picasso. From a very young age, he displayed an aptitude for drawing, and he could draw to an extremely high degree for his age. Although he had this talent, he was obsessed with getting better and practiced drawing almost constantly. 

Herein lies another angle to the question of whether drawing is a talent or skill. Although Picasso was exceptionally talented at drawing, he did not rest on his laurels, so to speak. Instead, he nurtured the talent by practicing every day. This helped him to become even better than he would have been without practice. 

Is drawing a skill? 

As we have answered in the introduction, yes, drawing is a skill. But why do we say so? Well, we believe that it is a skill because like every other skill, it can be taught, and if practiced religiously, can be developed to an exceptional standard. 

Like all other skills, too, some, no matter how hard they practice, will not master it. They can become acceptable at it, but it will require some amount of talent to become a master of the skill. The ability to draw is similar to a person’s writing. There are some people, like Picasso, who are born with the talent, and who developed themselves to the highest standards. 

You can learn to draw to a good degree whether you have the talent or not. It might take some time to learn, but you can certainly acquire the skill. 

Why being talented might be a trap 

Although it sounds weird, a talent can become a trap. Take our prime model for example. Picasso was an exceptional talent, but even he recognized that he needed to develop himself. 

So, here is the trap for talented people – they might become so dependent on their talent that they fail to actively learn. This is why we believe that even if you do not have the talent to draw if you develop enough interest and are passionate about it, sitting down and practicing daily can carry you up to levels above someone that is talented but fails to develop themselves. 

How to learn drawing 

Since we have established that drawing is a combination of skill and talent, how can you acquire this skill? What are the skills you should get that will help you to perfect your skills? Let us see some of the fundamental principles that will help you. 

  • Observational Drawing 

A skill you can acquire is observational drawing. What is involved in this skill? Observational drawing is the act of drawing the things that you observe. It is inspired by the things that you see, ranging from landscape to still life and figures. 

Observational drawing aims to render as much detail from what you are observing as possible. It is a unique skill that you can learn and it shouldn’t be confused with expressive drawing which is dependent on your imaginative translation of the object or subject. 

  • Using Art Media 

Another skill that anyone can learn is the use of materials in drawing. Drawing requires the use of different types of materials. Learning this skill could involve learning the right way to handle the medium.

For instance, you need to know the way to use a pencil in terms of the weight of line and expression. With practice, you can certainly master that particular skill. 

  • Creative Drawing 

Another type of drawing that you can learn is creative drawing. This involves the use of your imagination to make drawings. 

  • Perspective drawing 

One of the most important skills to master is the use of perspective in drawing. Perspective is the ability to create an impression of distance, whether in a 3D or 2D plane. Related to this skill is Foreshortening. This method is used to create a sense of distance as the objects look smaller as they go further into the distance. 

  • Proportion  

Proportion is a skill that you should strive to acquire even if you do not have a lot of talent. It is a fundamental method that comes in pretty handy when you are drawing a figure. Proportions give a sense of reality to your drawing.

Relative proportion is essential when you are drawing the human figure because the different parts of the body must be in a good proportion to each other. 

  • Composition 

Composition is how the artist draws the attention of the viewer to a particular feature of the drawing. Composition involves contrast, height, and similar elements. If you want to learn how to draw, it is important to learn composition. 

  • Color Theory 

Colors add life to your drawing and mastering how to use one or more colors in your drawing can certainly help you to create remarkable works of art. 

These examples are just some of the essential skills to learn if you want to be good at drawing. All of them are important to understand, and it might take you years to learn every one of them. 

Since it might take some time to master, do not be disappointed if you do not see the effects immediately. Just keep at it and be reassured that you will certainly get better with time. 

Can Anyone be great at drawing? 

While some people are born with talent, artistic talent is not always enough. The skills required to be a good artist require constant practice lest they become rusty. Talent is good, but taking the talent and honing them, whether in art school or somewhere else is the first step in becoming a true master. 

If your kid has shown some aptitude for drawing, you can develop the talent by helping them find ways to constantly practice the fundamental principles of drawing. Even if you do not have a lot of talent, constant practice of these skills can go a long way in helping you to become proficient at drawing. 

What if you don’t have the talent? 

You have taken a good look at yourself and realize that you have no talent for drawing. Can you still learn how to draw? Yes, you can! Since you do not have the talent, intensive practice can help you to drastically improve your drawings. 

If you are talentless, it is vital that you focus more on understanding and applying the fundamental principles of drawing. 

How Useful is drawing? 

Even if you aren’t looking to make a living as an artist or thinking of opening an exhibition, drawing is a nice skill to have and can come in useful in life. 

Tips on learning how to draw 

As you have seen in this post, there is so much to learn whether you are talented or not. Here are some tips that will come in handy during your learning journey. 

  • Tip 1 – Ask Questions 

It might cause you some embarrassment, but asking questions is a sure-fire way to understand principles and get better at drawing. 

If you are learning on your own, ask yourself questions like 

  • What forms make up this object? 
  • How does this object function? 

These types of questions will provide better clarity of the object and make your drawing better. 

  • Tip 2 – Don’t draw only what you know 

It is easy to end up in what we like to refer to as a drawing rut. You might be good at a certain type of drawing and never step out of that comfort zone. However, if you are looking to improve, stepping out of your comfort zone will help you to get better. 

Drawing something strange will help you to see things differently and will help you to learn faster. 

  • Tip 3 – Always keep the fundamentals in mind 

The fundamentals are ‘The Fundamentals ‘for a reason. They are very important and although it might seem boring learning them, the fruit they bear is so sweet for the artist that takes the time to learn. 


Is drawing a talent or skill? We say it is both! Whether you have the talent or not, drawing is a skill that you can master. So, do not give up. Continue learning the fundamentals and watch as you get so much better.