It’s just a series of lines on a page, right? Just some scratch marks here, some hatching there–nothing extravagant. So how are some people so much better at it than others?

Every time I tell people that I go to art school, I get one of two reactions: the first being a smile of pity, a look that clearly says, I’m sorry you’re too stupid to do anything academic/practical/worthwhile/that you will actually make a living on. The second is, Wow, art? Good for you. I can barely manage a stick figure, which is far less offensive but more incorrect. I am also in the “can barely manage a stick figure” category.

Just because I’m an artist doesn’t mean I’m any good at drawing. Or painting. Or sculpture. Or anything else considered “artsy.”  I don’t think I’ll ever be the kind of person to sit down and sketch something that I like. My younger sister, on the other hand, drawing constantly. Her fingers might as well be made of graphite.

We are currently both taking a narrative drawing class together. We have our first big project of the semester due tomorrow, so we’re working on the finishing touches simultaneously. When she takes a “break” from her drawing homework, she gets out her sketchbook and draws some more–the material is for her own amusement, but it’s still drawing. When I take a break from drawing, it’s to go get a cup of coffee. Or a glass of wine. Or to write this blog.

Three years in, and I’ve come to the conclusion that what art school is truly about is the cultivation of ideas. Sure, craftsmanship and aesthetic are important, but the difference between “real” art and something that looks pretty that any Midwesterner might purchase at Bed, Bath & Beyond to hang on their wall is an idea.

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