Seeing better – like reading – is a skill that can enhance nearly every aspect of day-to-day life.

My older sister learned how to read before me, the result of which made me believe for some period of time that she was magical. I particularly remember walking down the street with our family when she pointed to a sign and then proceeded to inform the rest of us exactly what it said. How did she do that? How did she pull information out of thin air?

What an absolutely amazing feat reading is– to translate letters into words, and words into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs in order to share knowledge and understanding with our fellow human beings. Most of us don’t remember how we learned to read, but it was a very intentional act on behalf of our teachers that took years of practice and rigorous training to achieve.

Realistic drawing or painting is really no different. Drawing or painting is a specific form of literacy – visual literacy – that can be broken down into manageable bites. And when what we see is studied intentionally and rigorously, it yields a visual feast of information.

We can all be magical and pull visual knowledge out of thin air just by looking carefully.

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But if you are not an artist, why bother trying to see better? In an age where entire conversations are held in emojis, and visual signals are the universal international language that is accessible to nearly everyone, there is much to be gained by understanding how visual imagery works in a nuanced and thorough way. We are being manipulated, inspired, and otherwise affected by imagery every day, and studying the many pathways of how imagery works benefits the understanding of all.

Imagine if you were walking through the world unable to read, like I was that day I was walking with my older sister, and unable to understand the varied and wonderful information you would not be able to glean from your day-to-day experiences. Visual literacy is no different – it can deliver more information with every new frame your eye absorbs. The more you study and critically analyze what you are seeing, the more information you intake, and the more you can learn and understand.

The best way to start seeing better is to learn how to draw realistically. This is because the close observation required to draw realistically forces artists to deeply analyze their subjects.

So what are you waiting for? There is no better time to start drawing than right now. Check our our free lesson plans to initiate your drawing journey today.

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