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Why More Adults Should be Artists

john westbay
NYC Artist John Westbay via


Before we begin, I’m going to dispel arguably the most popular myth about art right off the bat: it’s not a talent, it’s a skill. Even if you have no plans of ever becoming a professional artist or can’t draw humans for your life like famed Batman artist Greg Capullo, remember when were you kid and did crude crayon drawings? Think about the joy you felt about letting your hand make lines and shapes with various colors and proclaiming it your little contribution to the great works of art. This is exactly the joy that is missing in many adults whether someone told them art is for kids or it requires a so called “talent.”

Here’s a pretty common scenario that many of you find yourselves in: You’re in a boring meeting in an office or a lecture that’s droning on for too long. Your only instruments for escape are a pen and paper and whatever idle thoughts you have, you channel them into doodles and keep them to yourself as you shut your notebook. I have been there before many, many times so I should know.

This is the beauty of adults drawing; the idea of manifesting escapism into something visual. Sometimes you get into a doodle and spend several minutes on it and it before you know it, you have something that you’re quite proud of. How do you take it to the next level?

Simple: go to an art supply store and get yourself some small pocket sized sketchbooks.

Like a writer keeps a small notebook to jot down ideas on the fly or Evernote is synonymous with typing up ideas on smartphones and tablets these days, consider sketchbooks journals that you can turn to any time you want. Feeling a whole host of emotions such as livid or dejected? Open that sketchbook and let it all out.

As an artist, I’ve often found solace in drawing or painting when say a date didn’t go well or I’ve had a particularly bad day. It becomes a therapeutic medium akin to how hitting the gym releases endorphins and you feel a sense of euphoria after a good work out. If you want to take it another step up, then incorporate colors into it such as paint, water color, or coloring pencils. Again, for all intents and purposes of this article, you’re not doing this for money or even to share it with people (although you can and should), this is for yourself.

Once you do it enough, you might realize that it wasn’t so bad and possibly learn something about yourself. Who knows? Maybe you might even reawaken a passion that laid dormant for several years such as I did when I took a few art classes in community college which led to majoring in Studio Art in my senior college. Several famous artists started making art much later in life such as Van Gogh so if he did it, then so can you. So pick up pencil and a sketchbook and go to town like you did as a child. You’ll thank me later. No talent required at all!

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