The Virginia State Literacy Association Conference 2021, “Illuminating the Path to Literacy.” I found the Zoom link. Click. Author-Illustrator Jarrett Lerner was on the screen. He had a baseball cap on his head backwards. He asked, “Please type ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in the Chat if you feel you are creative.

Yes! No! Sometimes! Yes, in certain situations, but I cannot draw at all.

Jarrett said it was his goal for all of us to come away with a greater understanding of the creative process and a stronger belief that all human beings have an innate creative energy. He said that our culture has bought into a false notion that drawing is a “You can.” or “You can’t.” ability. When and where did we come to believe that? I remember my first doubt about my drawing happened in 2nd Grade. By 8th Grade, the belief “I can’t draw” was entrenched.

Today, Jarrett Lerner taught me that drawing is an act of seeing and doing. He said that what artists and illustrators do is try to simplify and deconstruct the thing they are trying to draw. They look at what is easiest, what shapes, lines, letter formations could represent the object. All attempts are kept. Then the artist takes a look. What needs changing? What could be added? This is revision and every mistake is an opportunity to learn. We can grow our visual vocabulary and try a variety of tools.

He was right. When we use even a little of our creative energy, we are happier. I’m grateful for the moments of happiness learning with Jarrett Lerner today.

Check out his amazing website here.

Here’s my page following his teaching demonstration:

Writing Slices of Life every day in March and Tuesdays throughout the year.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Erase

  1. I love this encouragement and adventure! For me, drawing is so risky. I grew up pretty stuck to the idea that I cannot draw. I’m trying to get myself out of that 🙂 You are on a roll!

  2. Sounds like a workshop I would have loved. I just like to be encouraged to try anything creative and out of my comfort zone but I really need an inspiring and encouraging teacher to take me there. Sound like this guy did that for you. Fun to see your notebook!

  3. I have enjoyed learning about Lerner during this pandemic — he has been a kind messenger for creativity. Thanks for sharing a little more about his ideas — and your creative energy!

  4. I loved getting your explanation of Lerner’s session and seeing your notebook pages. I’m one of those “I can’t draw” people who could have benefitted from time in this session. Headed to his website now.

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