What is the Hardest Thing to Draw in the World?
Whether you’re a professional hoping to be the next Picasso or just a spare time amateur doodler, you’ve likely already run into something you found difficult to accurately capture or convey the likeness of with a simple drawing. This debate amongst colleagues is almost as old as the human artistic expression itself, so it’s unlikely we will settle it comprehensively here, but let’s take a look for all those curious artists out there wondering. What is the hardest thing to draw in the world?
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Of course all artists have their own strengths they will play to, and weaknesses they will naturally try to avoid, along with their own style which may be more complementary to certain types of the subject matter. Famous British painter TS Lowry, for example, known for his industrial scenes, found it particularly difficult to accurately replicate horses, especially their legs, so many of his pieces incorporate a conveniently placed wall to hide them from view! Although every artist differs, almost all of them will mention several common subjects when discussing the most difficult subjects to draw.
Transport and Vehicles
A category which many people raise, it’s easy to see why it can be difficult for a lot of artists to accurately draw a car, plane, or other similar vehicles. Automotive and aerospace designers study extensively at the college/university level in order to become qualified for the role and are well rewarded for their work, so it’s not necessarily surprising that a novice artist should find it difficult to replicate their designs on paper. Cars and other transport infrastructure are also often most complimentary to a complex, proportional, and detailed drawing style which some artists can find difficult. If you would normally draw in a cartoon style, for example, you may find it takes considerable effort to correctly proportion and style cars and other vehicles you may draw. Equally, however, whilst undoubtedly difficult to draw, most of the challenges associated with drawing vehicles can be overcome quite easily by any budding artist willing to invest the time to learn a few simple techniques. So whilst they’re certainly a complex challenge, some of the other categories we will look at could be considered much more difficult.
Specific Artistic Styles
As all artists like to play to their strengths, drawing in another style can be a challenge. Many artists and designers become so specialized in their chosen niche or field that they can find it difficult to work outside this. Chances are you don’t want to hire an impressionist painter to do your architectural planning! Conversely, its often easy to spot an artist or designer working outside of their comfort zone, such as video game designers who use their own clumsily made and unconvincing graffiti art in their games rather than hire a professional to design it for them. Niche subcultural artists like graffiti writers and traditional tattooists, often spend years of their time and lots of their own personal money honing their drawing skills and style so it’s not surprising that this is another area in which a beginner or someone from another artistic discipline may find challenging to draw.
Almost everyone struggles with this one. Very few people have the natural talent to just pick up a pen or pencil and produce an amazing drawing of an animal, and for even the best artists, their abilities are usually the result of years of painstaking practice. T S Lowry wasn’t the only one to struggle with horses, they could be perhaps the most often cited difficult animal to draw. Although there’re many reasons why an artist may struggle, perhaps the most obvious would be that animals are a living thing. That may sound stupid at first, but a living thing presents an intrinsically more challenging subject than an inanimate object. An inanimate object can be represented in an impressionistic way and the viewer’s mind will focus on the details to create the image, but for living things, the human eye is in the habit of looking for incongruous details, so any slight mistakes in proportion or shape can easily spoil the image. This is why many artists can spend even their whole careers chasing that perfect lifelike representation. Even when drawing from a static reference image, the presence of life and suggestion of movement can be difficult to capture.
Humans are almost certainly a real challenge for even a competent artist. Whether it’s a specific area like hands or a full portrait image, most people express some forms of difficulty when drawing their fellow humans. Although people can be easily rendered to simple cartoon styles, even this will take some refining to become convincing, and more complex styles are of course much more challenging. As social creatures, humans are used to looking at each other, so for similar reasons to animals, the viewer’s eye will pick up on any slight mistakes or inaccuracies in your drawing. These could take considerable effort to refine and compensate for depending on your artistic style, which no doubt is one of the main reasons so many artists find humans so difficult, along with associated challenges such as accurately depicting clothing and hair.
Extending from the theme of human beings, many people will confess that the most difficult challenge for a lot of artists is to draw themselves! Take all the challenges of drawing any other human, and then add a whole host of others for the self-portrait. Whether you’re drawing from a mirror or using a static photo, the self-portrait can be an elusive challenge to master. Classic artistic advice is often to ‘draw what you see, not what you know is there’, which many might struggle to consider when attempting to depict their own likeness. Of course, the face most people would be used to looking at would be their own, so it makes sense this might be most difficult to draw for a lot of people.
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So whether you’ve never picked up a pencil in your life, or even if you’re sure to be the next big thing in the world of art, while there are lots of types of things we all probably struggle with, the hardest thing to draw in the world is different for all of us. And remember, whether you’re struggling to produce a life-like human hand, or stuck on a 5-minute bird doodle, practice always makes perfect. The next time you ask yourself what is the hardest thing to draw in the world think to your self what’s the hardest thing for me to draw? What do I have a hard time drawing? and What can I improve?
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