Time and again we are told the human potential is infinite and we are using only a fraction of our mind/capabilities. In an interesting talk by Graham Shaw, the same idea is driven home in an uniquely different fashion. Graham Shaw, who specialises in the art of communication, has authored “The Art of Business Communications” and helps people make important presentations.
Asks Shaw, “How many people think they can draw?” He elicits a response of not more than one per cent of the audience. “But,” asserts Shaw, “I think all of you can. I think when people say they cannot draw it is more to do with beliefs than with talent or skill. So when people say they cannot draw I think it is just an illusion.” Shaw of course adds his disclaimer that his students are not necessarily going to become Michelangelos or paint the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. If you thought so, that would be an illusion too. Shaw thinks he can equip each one of us with the capacity to doodle and doodle so effectively as to make a presentation interesting.
He has an easel on view where he has drawn a few cartoon characters, the likes of which he teaches us to draw. Of course the full impact of the video comes on seeing it.
Shaw says much of the secret to good doodling lies is the right sequencing. Begin with the nose. Shaw draws the nose of men rather snubbed but huge and the eyes just above the beginning of the nose. Shaw, for some reason, makes the noses of all women really sharp. Another observation is that Shaw makes the nose which always have an upward tilt. Are these an artist’s observation or exaggeration, one wonders.
The eyes are drawn like close inverted commas, upside down or the numeral 66. He fills the bottom circles with black, making it the pupil. Then he makes the lips, a shallow semi circle, following which, he makes the ear which is like part of a rounded leaf. He draws hair either as spikes or as curls. The chin is drawn by pulling a line from the side of the mouth and another from under the ear.
Shaw says the sequence matters and once you can make one cartoon character, you can make hundreds of them with variations. Shaw himself shows us four variations where he guides the audience and then sketches half a dozen other characters, which, he shows as possibilities budding artists like us can explore. He even shows us how to draw a bespectacled man and ends with a well known face, the face of Einstein.
In this context, Shaw tells us of three experiences that he thinks of, as special. One of his observations is that kids draw very well till they reach the age of 15-16 when they tell themselves they cannot draw and declare it as such. One child, he says, drew a cell with a handbag with which Oxygen written on it so she could remember that cells carry oxygen in the body.
Shaw has helped people with aphasia or dysphasia and this particular ailment makes it difficult for people to communicate. He found they drew very well and not only that he found many of them had suffered a stroke and most of them could not use their right hand. They drew everything with their left hand. “It was an inspirational, humbling session for me…no one complained. They just got on with it.”
If Shaw says determined effort can make you move mountains, he also says, “I would like to leave you with a final thought. When you walked in here, many of you thought you could not draw. How many beliefs and limiting thoughts do we carry with us everyday? Beliefs, which we could potentially challenge and if we did challenge those beliefs and think differently about them apart from drawing what else would be possible for us all?”
Now gather some chutzpah and make your life more powerful and interesting!