Why drawing needs to be a curriculum essential

Why drawing needs to be a curriculum essential

August 18, 2021

By Jedida Okonkwo

The curriculum is a fancy word for a guide. It encompasses all the student is expected to know to be a functional unit in society. While language and arithmetic are undoubtedly curriculum essentials, there is more to society, being alive and being human, than ABCs and 123s. 

As social beings, we long to connect with other people; we love to share experiences, tell stories, live and relive moments. Generally, we aim to be a part of a higher calling, a social movement, belonging somewhere, and being appreciated. There are many ways you can achieve this camaraderie, but one that is universally accepted is drawing. It knows no color (no pun intended), border, or boundaries, and it persists for as long as we are human. 

But first.

What is drawing?

As defined by Wikipedia, drawing is a visual process of marking paper or any other two-dimensional surface with whatever instrument the artist chooses. The key takeaways from the definition are visual process, markings, and a two-dimensional surface. Immediately these conditions are satisfied, you become an artist, not licensed or certified, but an artist all the same. 

Ask someone what comes to mind when they hear drawing, and they would probably discuss the Mona Lisa in the Louvre or any other classical Leonardo da Vinci paintings. But drawing as an art form is older than DaVinci, and the Louvre combined. Evidence for drawing can be seen on rock paintings and cave walls a good 30,000 years ago as a communication tool before the advent of written communication. 

Drawing is innate. It is inherent in our human DNA. But if you are not sold on the idea of including drawing as a curriculum essential, let’s have a look at how much better life can get when we all embrace our inner Picasso. 

A new way to communicate

Drawing is an underrated avenue to communicate not just our conscious thoughts but also our subconscious. If you find it hard to reconcile how you can use drawing to communicate, you have not examined your environment properly. Every day we use artistic cues to send unspoken but clear messages. An example is during a presentation, charts, color schemes, and graphs are creative messages that communicate information the same way words and numbers do. 

One advantage drawing has over conventional communication methods is that it is open to interpretation. It allows you to communicate one message that could mean different things to different people. It is even possible to send yourself messages that would change over time. It displays your thoughts on a deeper level and allows you to have a visual. Literal peep into your state of mind. Very few art forms give you a window into your subconscious. This unique attribute makes drawing an essential addition to the academic curriculum. 

It is easier to express yourself by drawing

There are times when you are not sure how you are feeling, Times when you are collapsed in a myriad of emotions, where there are just layers of different moods that are difficult to put into words. One way out of this uncertainty is to draw and play with different shades and colors; it is therapeutic and fun at the same time. It allows you to unintentionally lay your mood bare for you and the world to see. When used this way, drawing is a form of expression that will enable you to go deeper than words would allow. 

You do not need to be a pro; at least when you start, pick up a pen, paper, or whatever else you are comfortable with and let the emotions move you into creating your masterpiece. If you asked me, I’d say this is one of, if not the cheapest form of therapy. 

Set memories in stone

I know what you are thinking; you can already do this with a handheld camera or even your mobile phone. But isn’t that like asking what the need to ride a bicycle is when you can go zoom zoom in your car? Well, it is not the same. Just like riding a bike, drawing allows you to take it all in and enjoy the process. It enables you to savor the pencil strokes, the thick shades, the guilt that comes with making mistakes, and the satisfaction when you correct those mistakes. 

Drawing allows you to immortalize moments, memories, things, and even people in a personalized manner. Unlike digital photos that just take a shot, drawing a picture allows you to add some emotion and add fun to the design, like making a caricature of the item or individual being drawn. The result is a picture with a lot of sentimental value. This image makes an excellent present that any and everyone would appreciate. Imagine losing out on an opportunity to create magic because drawing was lacking in your curriculum. 

Builds character and personality

We are an aggregate of our experiences. We are walking jigsaw puzzles of our interactions with people and activities we indulge ourselves in. The more we partake in an activity, the more likely it is for that activity to shape our being. Drawing as a case study requires the artist to be meticulous, to pay close attention to detail, to be decisive, intentional, and at the same time flexible with decision making. If you draw more frequently, it increases your chances of internalizing all these helpful traits and attributes. All the tips and tricks that make you a good artist are guaranteed to spill out in your everyday dealings and transactions, making you stand out among your colleagues and peers. 

With this in mind, it becomes evident that the introduction of drawing in the curriculum only plays to make us the best version of ourselves. It introduces and enhances virtues that are necessary to become functional members of society. 

Get paid to do what you love

According to data from the world bank, 5% and 4.3% of people living in the United States and the United Kingdom are unemployed. And when you consider the fact that the US and the UK have a combined population of about 400 million people, you then realize that is a staggering number of people without jobs or a source of livelihood. With the world population continually growing, it is expected that the unemployment rates, not just in the US and UK, but the entire world, would continue to rise.

But when you have drawing on your resume, drawing as an outlet and skill gives you one more weapon in your arsenal to beat this sad statistic. It gives you an opportunity and avenue that remains closed and inaccessible to people that did not have drawing in their academic curriculum. 

The following are lucrative career opportunities open to people who love to draw and how much they get paid. 

  • Animator/Multimedia artist: An animator uses 2D and 3D images to create computer animations that can be used for video games, music videos, movie special effects, and general commercials. This job opportunity is available in several industries, and the average salary, according to payscale, is pegged at $56,646
  • Architect: The Architect is tasked with designing buildings, complexes and restoring old buildings. While you would need to bag other professional degrees, the ability to draw surely comes in handy. The average salary for an architect, according to payscale, is pegged at $62,289.

  • Graphics designer: Graphic designers use their knowledge of drawing to create content for online and print media. They get to work on product packaging, posters, websites, magazines, etc. The average yearly pay, according to payscale, is $46,560.
  • Game designer: Game designers are tasked with using code to design the components of a video game. This career path requires you to get other professional knowledge, but the ability to draw would come in handy. The average yearly pay, according to payscale, is $66,321.
  • Fashion designer: Every costume in your wardrobe started as an idea that was then translated into a drawing before being made into an attire. Costume designers have to design clothing styles that we purchase online or in malls. The average salary for fashion designers, according to payscale, is $65,560.
  • Art teacher: There are few things more rewarding than passing knowledge to the younger generation. Being an art teacher allows you to pass on the very thing you love to a younger generation of artists. The average salary for an art teacher, according to payscale, is $46,147.

In conclusion

The above are only some of the reasons why drawing needs to be added to the academic curriculum. I could write more than a dozen pages more to bolster my points, but I am sure you already caught my drift. Drawing is not just a hobby. It is not a want but a need. The ability to draw should be encouraged in many ways, and adding it to the curriculum is only the starting point.