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  • Hi.

  • I've got a question for you:

  • how many people here would say they can draw?

  • (Laughter)

  • I think we've got about one or two percent of the hands going up,

  • and it's interesting, isn't it?

  • It's a little bit like people think of spelling or singing.

  • They think,"You can either do it, or you can't."

  • But I think you can.

  • Because when people say they can't draw,

  • I think it's more to do with beliefs rather than talent and ability.

  • So I think when you say you can't draw, that's just an illusion,

  • and today I'd like to prove that to you.

  • When I say "draw",

  • I'm not saying we're all going to draw like Michelangelo.

  • We are not going to be painting the Sistine Chapel's ceiling.

  • But would you be happy if, by the end of this session,

  • you could draw pictures a little bit like this?

  • (Audience murmuring) Oh, yes!

  • (Laughter)

  • Or even a little bit like this?

  • (Laughter)

  • Actually, there are only two things you need to do to be able to achieve this.

  • One is have an open mind. Are you up for that?

  • (Audience) Yes!

  • And two, just be prepared to have a go.

  • So grab a pen and a piece of paper.

  • OK, so here's how it's going to work:

  • I’ll show you the first cartoon we're going to do,

  • so just watch to begin with.

  • Here we go.

  • Just watching.

  • That's going to be our first cartoon.

  • It's a character called Spike.

  • I'd like you to draw along with me.

  • I'll draw the first line, you draw, and when you've done that, look up,

  • and I'll know you're ready for the next line.

  • Okay, here we go.

  • Start with the nose.

  • Now the eyes.

  • They're like 66s or speech marks.

  • That's it.

  • Next, the mouth. Nice, big smile.

  • Now, over here, the ear.

  • Next, some spiky hair.

  • Next, put the pen to the left to the mouth, little line like that.

  • Pen under the ear, drop a line like that.

  • Pen to the left of the neck, top of the T-shirt.

  • Line to the left, line to the right.

  • Just hold your drawings up and show everyone.

  • (Laughter)

  • How are we all doing?

  • (Laughter)

  • OK.

  • OK, fantastic.

  • So, it looks like you've just learned to draw one cartoon,

  • but you've actually learned more than that;

  • you've learned a sequence that would enable you

  • to draw hundreds and thousands of different cartoons,

  • because we're just going to do little variations on that sequence.

  • Have a go at this.

  • Draw along with me.

  • Nose.

  • Eyes.

  • Smile.

  • That's it.

  • Now some hair.

  • Pen to the left of the mouth,

  • under the hair,

  • little V-shape for the top,

  • line to the left, line to the right.

  • So we've got another character. Let's call her Thelma.

  • (Laughter)

  • So, we've got Spike and Thelma.

  • Let's try another one. Here we go.

  • Another little variation. You're getting the idea.

  • Starting with the nose.

  • But this time we'll change the eyes slightly.

  • Look, two circles together like that.

  • That's it.

  • Then, two little dots in for the eyes.

  • And this time we'll change the mouth slightly. Watch.

  • Little circle colored in there.

  • Have a go at that.

  • Next, the ear.

  • Now, we'll have some fun with the hair, watch.

  • Nice curly hair.

  • Then same thing: pen to the left to the mouth, little line like that.

  • Under the ear, drop a line.

  • Top of the T-shirt.

  • Line to the left, line to the right.

  • I think we'll call him Jeff.

  • (Laughter)

  • We'll do one more.

  • One more go. Here we go.

  • You're getting the idea.

  • (Laughter)

  • So we'll start with a nose again.

  • Notice we're doing little variations.

  • Now we'll change the eyes, so we've got them apart.

  • We'll put some little dots in like that.

  • Next, the mouth slightly different.

  • Let's put a little V-shape like that.

  • Triangle.

  • And a little line across, and we'll just color this a little bit in.

  • Now, watch this bit carefully; some hair, watch.

  • Here we go, little line like that.

  • Next, a bit more there.

  • And watch, a couple of triangles to make a little bow.

  • Triangle at the bottom, rest of the hair.

  • Pen to the left of the mouth again. You get the idea.

  • Drop a line for the neck.

  • Now the V-shape.

  • Line to the left, line to the right.

  • There we go.

  • Let's call her Pam.

  • (Laughter)

  • So you've done...

  • (Laughter)

  • So you've done four cartoons. You can have a little rest now.

  • (Laughter)

  • Take a rest.

  • You're getting the idea. All we're doing is little variations.

  • I'll just demonstrate a couple to you.

  • We could go on all day, couldn't we?

  • You could do someone looking unhappy, a bit like that,

  • or you could experiment with, perhaps, someone who is

  • just draw a straight line, someone looking a bit fed up.

  • Or perhaps, you could do anything you like, really, just try things out.

  • Look at this. Little squiggle. There we are.

  • So, all sorts of things we could do.

  • Actually, one more I'll let you do, one more idea.

  • This is a great little technique.

  • Have a go at this: people with glasses on.

  • Just draw a nose a bit like Spike's.

  • Next, draw some frames,

  • so two circles like that with a little bit in between.

  • Now, just put some dots inside for the eyes like that.

  • Next, the ear.

  • So it's little bit like we did before, but this time we'll join up the frames.

  • That's it. Watch this bit.

  • (Laughter)

  • And this bit I really like. Watch.

  • (Laughter)

  • And then, little bit there.

  • Pencil under the mustache, line down,

  • top of the shirt, left and right.

  • So there we have it. We could carry on, couldn't we?

  • Hopefully, we've done enough to convince you

  • that in fact we can all draw.

  • And not just people here. I've worked with

  • I'm going to give you three examples of other people who've learned to draw,

  • and that actually surprised them, too.

  • I'm going to save what I think is my favorite,

  • most surprising example until last.

  • The first example is:

  • I've worked a lot with children and students in schools.

  • Actually the little ones, they just draw fine,

  • but when they get to about 15 or 16, most of them think they can't draw.

  • But I worked with them.

  • I worked this week in a school

  • where I was coaching them on using pictures for memory.

  • A girl was trying to remember what red blood cells do,

  • and she drew this little picture

  • of a red blood cell carrying a handbag with O2 on it

  • to remind her that the red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

  • That was a great one.

  • The other people I worked with are many adults in all walks of life,

  • and particularly in business,

  • and they often will want to make presentations memorable.

  • So again, a quick cartoon or sketch could be really good for that.

  • And again, most people think they can't draw, but take this example.

  • Couple of wavy lines,

  • little boat could be a metaphor to represent we're all in this together.

  • So that, if that was just drawn in the presentation,

  • would really stay in the memory, wouldn't it?

  • Yeah.

  • But the third example is - you shouldn't have favorites, should you?

  • This is my favorite.

  • Have you ever been at the party when someone asks you what you do?

  • It gets a little bit skeptical when people ask me that.

  • This lady said to me, well -

  • I said, "I do a little bit of training, and I teach people to draw,"

  • and she said, "Would you come along and do some for our group?"

  • She said, "I work with some people" - she was a volunteer -

  • a group of people who have suffered strokes.

  • So I said, "Sure, I could spare some time for that."

  • So I said I would, and I booked the time in.

  • Have you ever done that?

  • You get near of that time

  • and you think, "What have I let myself in for here?"

  • "Will I be able to do it?"

  • I thought, "What could I do with them?" you see.

  • "I know. I'll do my cartoon drawing. They'll like that."

  • But then, as I got near of the time, I got more apprehensive,

  • because then I was thinking,

  • "I've worked with children, with all sorts of adults;

  • I've never worked with a group like this."

  • It turns out it was all part of a charity called TALK.

  • This TALK charity is a wonderful charity that helps people who've suffered strokes,

  • but have a particular condition known as aphasia.

  • You might have heard of aphasia, sometimes called dysphasia.

  • The key thing is it affects their ability to communicate.

  • So, for example, they might have trouble

  • reading, writing, speaking, or understanding.

  • It can be quite an isolating condition;

  • it can be very, very frustrating and can lead to a loss of confidence.

  • Anyway, so I prepared all this stuff, what to do for this session

  • - for a couple of hours, tea break in the middle -

  • and I got more apprehensive.

  • But actually, I needn't have worried,

  • because I'm going to show you now the work that they did.

  • It was one of the best things I've ever done.

  • I'm going to show you the first slide.

  • I taught them Spike, just like I did for you,

  • and I want you to see the reaction on their faces when they did this.

  • (Audience) Oh.

  • What you can see here are two of the stroke recoverers

  • on the left and right,

  • and one of the volunteer helpers in the center.

  • Each stroke recoverer, there are about 36 in the room with volunteers as well,

  • there's one-to-one helpers.

  • You can just see the delight on their faces, can't you?

  • Let's look at another picture.

  • This is a gentleman called David, and he's holding up his picture,

  • and you can tell it was the picture of Spike, can't you?

  • In fact, I think he's drawn Spike even better there.

  • But what I didn't realize until even after the session

  • was that the number of the people in this session, including David,

  • were drawing with their wrong hand.

  • David's stroke meant that it affected the right side of his body,

  • and he drew with his left hand, as many did.

  • Nobody mentioned it to me, nobody complained.

  • They just got on with it.

  • It was an inspirational session for me.

  • It was quite a humbling session,

  • one of the best things I felt I've ever done.

  • At the end of it, I had a lovely email from doctor Mike Jordan,

  • and he's the chair of the TALK group;

  • happens to be a medical doctor, but he's the chair of the group.

  • He wrote to me, and I'm quoting, he said,

  • "Our recoverers learned today that they can draw.

  • It's a bit more than that;

  • this sort of activity really builds their confidence."

  • So I was happy, he was happy, everyone was happy,

  • they've invited me back again,

  • and I go in there now about every three or four months.