I developed an interest in drawing when I was a child. On most Saturday mornings before dawn, while the rest of my family was asleep, I could be found in front of the television with paper and pencil watching a show called “The Nature World of Captain Bob.” This was an instructional drawing show that was broadcast on a local channel in the Boston area back in the seventies and eighties (yes…a long time ago).
Each week Captain Bob would pick a subject from nature and teach the viewers how to draw it. At the same time he would teach you everything you would ever want to know about that particular animal. It was amazing how he could turn simple lines and shapes into amazing life-like drawings. It wasn’t long before I was committed to learning how to do this myself. I would tune in each week to see which animal Captain Bob was going to draw next. By the end of each show, I would compare my drawing to Captain Bob’s. Most of the time my drawing was way off the mark. But I would still work on it after each show ended. Over time, I was able to come much closer to the realism that he was able to capture.
What Happened to Captain Bob?
I was surprised to discover that there aren’t many videos of this show available other than the two clips below on YouTube. It’s a shame that whoever owns this archive of shows hasn’t decided to share this content with the public.
“The Nature World of Captain Bob” inspired me to not only become better at drawing, it inspired me to take an interest in art throughout my school years and later go on to art school and study graphic design.
The childhood memories of drawing with Captain Bob reminded me of the simple joys I used to get from drawing just for the sake of drawing. However, over the years I realized that I was taking very little time to draw. In fact, apart from some simple sketching now and then, I just wasn’t drawing very much at all. These memories have inspired me to once again make drawing a regular part of my life. While I may not draw every day, I really do try to draw whenever time allows. When I’m able to draw regularly I find that this becomes a real game changer for me.
Some Benefits of Drawing
- Seeing everyday things differently: When I choose to draw something, I tend to see whatever it is that I’m drawing in a different way than I would if I was to shoot a photo of that same subject. I really take the time to see each and every subtle detail. Then I make conscious decisions about how I’m going to record each of these details with my pen on the page.
- Becoming “present-state-aware”: Anyone who is familiar with the practice of mindfulness or meditation knows that being in the moment is one of the primary benefits of these activities. I find that when I’m drawing, I’m quieting my mind. The stresses of the day fade into the background and my mind focuses on observing the subject that’s in front of me in that moment.
- Becoming more relaxed: As I draw, I experience a heightened state of relaxation that is different than if I was just lying on the couch in front of the television.
Make Drawing a Habit
Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist I encourage you to make some time to draw. Simply start with a pen and a piece of paper (check out my resources page for my drawing tools). Find a quiet place and pick a subject that won’t overwhelm you, like a chair or a bowl of fruit. Start slowly and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The key is to suspend judgement on the lines that you put down on the paper. Don’t expect perfection. Just record what you see in the way that you see it. You will experience some frustration in the beginning. This is perfectly natural. But if you consistently repeat this process, I’m confident that you’ll begin to get some of the same benefits and enjoyment that I have experienced from drawing regularly.
Check out some of these websites for more drawing inspiration: