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How to Draw an Apple Without Ever Picking Up a Pencil!


by Dianne Mize

There's an unquestioned notion that drawing is difficult, that it is laborious, and that it requires a lot of effort. Consequently, only a small number of artists experience the joy and playfulness we can find through drawing.

If you're among those who shy away from drawing, think about it like this: drawing is not copying a subject; rather, it is discovering the subject. There is a distinct difference between copying and discovering. To discover is to become aware of something, to find out, to recognize or to discern, whereas to copy is to reproduce or emulate, duplicate, or replicate.

If we know we've got to precisely replicate something, we're likely to tense up and feel inadequate, but if our intention is to discover, we're more apt to relax and enjoy the process of discovery. Curiosity is energizing, but a feeling of inferiority is wearisome. The minute we tense up, we restrict our ability, we close out our vigor, we retreat.

What is drawing, anyway? The broader meaning of to draw is to bring out. Beyond that, let the linguists and philosophers argue. Take the word at face value and it becomes about discovering, not duplicating.

I invite you to treat yourself to a discovery experience with an apple.

1. Place the apple on a surface at arm's length. Take a long, deep breath.

2. Close one eye and extend your arm toward the apple, with your index finger pointing at it about three inches from its surface.

3. Allow your finger to glide around its edges, discovering them. Move at a rate of about two inches per second or so. Go clockwise over all of the edges, then move counterclockwise over them again. Continue to move forward and backward at least three times, each time allowing yourself to feel the shape. Make this a continuous motion, pausing slightly at changes of direction.

4. Open your eye. Take another long, deep breath. (Note: I call this process of drawing in the air the Air Glide™.)

5. Turn the apple in a different direction and do the Air Glide again. Try top up, bottom up, and on its side rotated in several different directions.

6. Take another long, deep breath.

7. Take a bite out of the apple, then do the process again, this time including the new edges you've made by biting into the apple. Once you've gone backward and forward and turned it in several directions, take another bite and repeat the exercise.

8. Continue this until you have only the core of the apple left.

9. Before and after each Air Glide, take that long, deep breath.

You can do these steps in one session or split them up throughout a day. Augment your experience by trying a different fruit each day.

Happy Air Gliding,

P.S. The fun of practicing the Air Glide is that you can do it almost anywhere, but the benefit is that you're actually drawing even though there's no evidence left behind.

Dianne Mize is an artist and retired teacher of art, living and creating in rural Northeast Georgia. For more of her writing and a look at her artwork, visit her website

Photo courtesy of flickr: erin and camera

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