Pencils And Paintbrushes Know
Nothing About Art

Pencils and paintbrushes know nothing, zip, zero, nada about art. There are no pencils that can give you drawing ideas.

There is not one paintbrush that can tell you how to make your art better.

Pastels, watercolors, oil paints - the same thing.

They all have IQ’s of zero.

And they are not the source of your creativity. They will not help you develop your talent one iota.

Pencils and paintbrushes are like the old joke about the academically failing football player whose teacher asked him, “Don’t you know anything?”

Sighing, he replied, “Sir, I don’t even suspect anything.”

Art materials are just as stupid.

Pencils And Paintbrushes Know Nothing About Art

Yet many aspiring artists seem obsessed with an illusion. That somewhere there are just the right pencils and paintbrushes that will make a big difference in their work.

I noticed this at a monthly meeting of an art group I once belonged to. Part of the program at each meeting was usually a guest artist who did a painting demonstration.

At that month's meeting the guest was Eileen Sorg, a colored pencil artist.

 I don't, as a rule, like colored pencil art, because so often it is a hyper realistic copy of the photograph the artist used.

In Eileen's case I was impressed. Yes, she was very realistic, but she went beyond realism. She added originality and whimsy to her art.

But all through the hour-long demonstration the focus of all the questions was about the drawing materials she used.

What brand of colored pencils did she use? What kind of paper? What brand of watercolor for the underpainting?

What astonished me most was not one person asked how she came up with the ideas for her art.

Many beginning artists seem to believe, or at least hope, that if they use the exact same art materials as an experienced artist, it will make their art successful too.

Pencils And Paintbrushes Are Not What
You Should Focus On

An artist becomes successful, because he or she has learned to create images that touch other people in some way.

Their work shows creative ideas, originality, imagination.

Artists can create images in any medium, using any brand on the market.

They only work in a particular medium, because they've found that medium suits their personality and the way they like to work.

The medium they use won’t impart any secret knowledge to you.

Instead of obsessing about what a particular artist uses to create his or her art...

Focus on the ideas that artist uses to create those images.

Ideas you can borrow and use to improve your own work. That's why artists have studied and learned from each other for centuries.

Strive to create images that are based on your ideas and feelings for a subject that excites you.

You'll gradually find your own unique voice in your art and...

...learn which pencils and paintbrushes you like best.

Best Wishes,
Gary Gumble
Founder of
Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. (George Bernard Shaw)

P.S. This idea that pencils and paintbrushes know nothing about art also applies to computers and software.

They are only tools that create what’s in your mind.

I mention this for a reason.

I’ve mentioned before that I am in the process of developing a course on how to add more excitement and emotion to your work.

One important part of doing that is organizing my ideas so they will be interesting and exciting to see.

The other important part is gradually learning how best to use online tools to present a course.

You could think of these online tools as my pencils and paintbrushes.

They know nothing about art.

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