Why people believe they can’t draw - and how to prove they can | Graham Shaw | TEDxHull

  • Published on Apr 1, 2015
  • Why is it that so many people think they can’t draw? Where did we learn to believe that? Graham Shaw will shatter this illusion - quite literally - in a very practical way. He’ll demonstrate how the simple act of drawing has the power to make a positive difference in the world.
    Graham specialises in the art of communication and has helped thousands of people to make important presentations. He is perhaps best known for his use of fast cartoon drawings to communicate ideas and is the author of ‘The Art of Business Communication’.
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at ted.com/tedx

Comments • 17 708

  • Faraday Sage
    Faraday Sage Hour ago

    by the first minute he is telling people they can't draw. WTF, Ted?

  • Faraday Sage
    Faraday Sage Hour ago

    Next up on University of Hull; how to smash a car for taking your parking space

  • WavelinerMDMA
    WavelinerMDMA 16 hours ago

    How could this species become so uncultivated after thousands of years making the greatest efforts imaginable? What is happening on this planet? 😿

  • dorota urbaniak
    dorota urbaniak 22 hours ago +1

    Thank you you made me more confident

  • Stan Moua Art
    Stan Moua Art Day ago +2

    Wait, what was the point to this? I didnt hear how he proved we could draw.

  • Russell Thorburn
    Russell Thorburn Day ago +1

    I proved that I can make a poor copy of what someone else draws.

  • blxia
    blxia Day ago +1

    My math teacher showed me this

  • showman139
    showman139 Day ago

    Does cartooning have the same mental benefits as realistic drawing or painting?

  • Angela
    Angela Day ago

    Me (Artist): The anatomy is all wrong and didn't everyone already know how to do this it is no secret. Anyway i still enjoyed it

  • Monochromatic Mirror

    9:05 isn't that Hataraku Saibou 😂

  • The Cereal Guy
    The Cereal Guy Day ago

    Beautiful voice

  • Abdellah 02300
    Abdellah 02300 Day ago

    Albert Einstein will be mad of that drawing 🤣

  • Dota Game
    Dota Game 2 days ago

    Instructions unclear, im now doing sculpture.

  • Detktive Black pants

    Great now I’ll sell “art” for living

  • Sergio Rojas Calvo
    Sergio Rojas Calvo 3 days ago


  • FOXY time
    FOXY time 3 days ago

    Now anime

  • Angela Kadeer
    Angela Kadeer 3 days ago

    Why did so many people not like this, it's just a bit of fun.

  • Brandon Castillo
    Brandon Castillo 3 days ago

    3:18 Hey! Vsauce! Michael here...where did pens, come from?

  • Erotic Tomato
    Erotic Tomato 4 days ago +14

    *when it's the holidays and you have too many customers*
    _"line to the left, and line to the right"_

  • Júlia Leal
    Júlia Leal 4 days ago

    So cute

  • Denis Sulovic
    Denis Sulovic 4 days ago +1

    Waist of life

  • Ionut Tutui
    Ionut Tutui 4 days ago

    How can I communicate with Graham Shaw? Anybody knows how can write to him?

  • Ausar0
    Ausar0 4 days ago +1

    Yes, I too can draw if I'm copying someone step-by-step.
    I bet you nobody in that room could draw something unique that wasn't just small variations of this stuff after they left.

    • James D.
      James D. 2 days ago

      That's exactly how you learn how to draw! You follow something step-by-step, practice that "tutorial" a bunch of times, you get confident and start to make your own modifications and in the end you get something unique, something that is yours!! The goal here is to show people that everyone can draw and I bet most of those people got out of that Tedx believing they can actually draw something, even if its variations of that :)))

  • Alejandro Uribe
    Alejandro Uribe 5 days ago

    i thought he was going to talk about professional level draw. I know how to draw simple cartoon style; is very easy.

  • hb123 0o
    hb123 0o 5 days ago +1

    this is what happens when Netflix decides to do adaptation of Japanese anime

  • اسلام صبحي
    اسلام صبحي 6 days ago

    Drawing is only a TALENT

  • Karl Robert Reinart
    Karl Robert Reinart 6 days ago +5

    This doesn't prove anything, this proves I can follow instructions. But I couldn't come up with these drawings myself. Or if I could I could do so after 100s of hours of learning, as is the case with playing music instruments.

    • MrWolfy
      MrWolfy 3 days ago +1

      Um, no? It obviously takes practice, but you aren't practicing ideas in your mind, you are practicing parts of your mind that will later come up with their own unique ideas.

  • Whos mcloving
    Whos mcloving 6 days ago


  • Jax
    Jax 6 days ago +1

    This guy is great and everything but I would love to prove him wrong lol idc what anyone says I cant draw and I definitely cant write neatly 🤷🏼‍♀️

    • MrWolfy
      MrWolfy 3 days ago

      Ah you're just complaining lazy girl.

  • gloorbit *
    gloorbit * 6 days ago

    I thought the last one was Kurt Vonnegut or Mark Twain.

  • Robert Raichev
    Robert Raichev 6 days ago +2

    The most important thing to learn when trying to draw, is to fully incorporate the White of the paper you're drawing on. What I mean is this - When we try to draw, for example a human head and face, or maybe a cat, dog etc, we draw the full shape, i.e. we draw a full circle for the head and try to add things to it, or we draw the full shape of a cat and then try to add a tail etc, but what Graham Shaw wants us to realize, and something I realized after seeing countless of videos etc, is that you don't need to draw the full shape, but rather, you need to utilize the White of the paper. Just like in the video, you draw a few lines where you want the neck to be, or the ears to be etc, and then the rest of it is already filled in by the White background of the paper. This is the biggest barrier that most people have when it comes to drawing. A person needs to realize that most drawings create the illusion that a full picture is in front of you, even though its just a few drawn lines that represent the basic shape of an object, and then the paper itself fills in the rest and creates a full image. Everything is in the imagination. When you draw, you should be relaxed and not overthink it. It takes practice, and of course, a lot of imagination, but this video is correct, everyone can draw, you just have to realize that a lot of drawings are creating the illusion of a full picture, even if only a few lines exist on the paper itself :)

    • Jon Dough
      Jon Dough 4 days ago +1

      Why does this comment only have 2 likes

  • ronald mcchesney
    ronald mcchesney 6 days ago

    I can’t draw but after watching this I can’t draw. Drawing takes practice to master just like anything in life. Some people are better than others . Some people enjoy drawing and continue to do it for there entire life and become artists. Michael Angelo .....

  • ImpendingJoker
    ImpendingJoker 6 days ago

    For me this video was pleasing to the ear. It was filled with the sounds of people laughing and giggling at themselves, because they had just broken through a self imposed barrier in the mind. That is what I call, "the sound of knowledge attainment". I have learned things that caused me to absolutely laugh at myself for many minutes on end, with me uttering the phrase, "I have gained knowledge!" There is nothing quite like grasping something that you felt was beyond your understanding. It is a wonderful feeling, and it is a wonderful sound to the teacher. I was following along and enjoying the video and when he showed the happy faces of the recovering stroke victims, I shed a few tears. This is a wonderful thing that Mr. Shaw is doing, and he is a hero, and should be lauded as such. Thank you very much, Mr. Shaw.

  • Spanky Jeffro
    Spanky Jeffro 7 days ago

    What I hear when someone says they can't do something is: "I can't learn.". A statement which is completely false.
    Everyone has an ability to learn to do something, you just have to try.
    What most people mean when they say they can't do something is: "I am not perfect yet.".
    When someone says they can't sing, they are comparing themselves to someone who can sing very well. The person can sing, just not as well-trained as someone else.
    I think that comparing yourself with a better can help you succeed, but, all too often it hampers progress when you start to believe you can't progress.

  • Dustin Funk
    Dustin Funk 7 days ago

    good job on your work

  • Huynh Nam Anh
    Huynh Nam Anh 7 days ago

    I see a lot of comments of people actually drawing. I think I should have a go at it too...

    Nailed it: abstrac art

  • Gordon Welke
    Gordon Welke 8 days ago

    mY WIFE AND I watched and drew along with you and it WORKED! Thanks so so much for adding another edge to our creativabilities.

  • Cats Neko
    Cats Neko 8 days ago +1

    Drawing takes practice

  • Lane Elmore
    Lane Elmore 8 days ago +2

    Jeff Bezos has really gone down hill since the divorce

  • Simone Liberatore
    Simone Liberatore 8 days ago +2

    He: "Let's call him Albert"

  • Arlene Veloz
    Arlene Veloz 10 days ago +2

    Wow! I loved this video. Really inspiring. 🤗

  • Logan Maher
    Logan Maher 10 days ago +5

    My favourite part about this whole talk is that this could be applied to every part of life no matter what the issue. He came in to teach everyone how to draw but taught everyone technically hot to do everything.

  • vince yall
    vince yall 10 days ago

    I need a teacher like you. Not scary.

  • Linaza23
    Linaza23 10 days ago +1

    I loved the ending part, so inspiring! Thank you! God bless you :)

  • mark pubien
    mark pubien 10 days ago

    I bet you guys didn’t even notice he didn’t draw ears for Albert Einstein

  • Nerde O Eski Günler
    Nerde O Eski Günler 11 days ago

    Sirf su konusmalari amlamak icin Ingilizce ogrenicem

  • Khushboo Rafiq
    Khushboo Rafiq 11 days ago +1

    Thank you for motivating us! Now as a teacher, I am motivating others. Yes we can what seems impossible! :)

  • Black Bull
    Black Bull 11 days ago

    is there any part 2 version of this tutorial ?

  • pele german
    pele german 12 days ago

    Thanks! Super!

  • Ianfel
    Ianfel 12 days ago +1

    the true question is why people who draw horribly think they are the best artist in the world

  • Саша Бокша
    Саша Бокша 12 days ago +2

    Einstein is that you?

  • WBoneB
    WBoneB 13 days ago +4

    My high school art teacher taught me how to draw with just one sentence. "Draw what you see, not what you think you see." - Ms. Patricia Peak, Newcomb High School, Newcomb NM

    • 131419 man
      131419 man 9 days ago

      Goat Свалка but this works for beginners I guess, still a nice quote :)

    • Goat Свалка
      Goat Свалка 9 days ago

      But then you wouldn’t use your imagination and won’t create things

  • Barry Barry
    Barry Barry 14 days ago +1

    This is such a futile irrelevant exercise... and only a few astute individuals know why!!!

  • Barry Barry
    Barry Barry 14 days ago +1

    If only all that enthusiasm could highlight the fact that every thirteen seconds a child dies from starvation!... nah!, i want to draw weird caricatures on white sheets of paper!!!

  • savage satan
    savage satan 14 days ago


  • Dracopol
    Dracopol 15 days ago

    Yes, drawing is very democratic! You can even draw realistic portraits of other people. 30 years ago, Betty Edwards published DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN. It's not a matter of learning new techniques, but of harnessing your right-brain which is patient, which sees images as a whole, which takes its time. Most people try to draw with the left-brain, which developed to simplify, to summarize, and so the left-brain makes a mess of drawing. But by re-orienting your outlook, you can achieve fantastic drawings.

  • Richard A
    Richard A 15 days ago

    Our brain is like operating system, each endeavor linked to a software application installed, people who can naturally do things have the 'full' application by default, Graham just talked how to upgrade Artistic Program in our brain and after watching this, I clicked Subscribe, welldone Graham

  • Jonathon Weasel head
    Jonathon Weasel head 16 days ago

    8:31 he looks like that main character on breaking bad 😂

  • कुमार उत्सव

    Wow man....you just changed the way I looked things .....and that too in just 15minutes. 🙆🙆🙆🙆

  • Julian Pacheco
    Julian Pacheco 16 days ago

    Pam and Jeff

  • TheGreat Nature
    TheGreat Nature 16 days ago +1

    Thanks Graham Shaw for sharing, you are such a positive and inspiring person!

  • Vageesha Jajur
    Vageesha Jajur 17 days ago

    Remember: Always start with the nose.

  • Elizabeth Taylor
    Elizabeth Taylor 17 days ago

    Wow I can draw...

  • Sr. Ernesto Benfilh
    Sr. Ernesto Benfilh 17 days ago

    Eu posso desenhar...

  • Some Art Nerd
    Some Art Nerd 17 days ago

    Bob Ross is that you

  • Jake Ifraimov
    Jake Ifraimov 18 days ago

    Yeah but these look terrible. Not everyone has the right hand-eye coordination.

  • Helaili Messipssa
    Helaili Messipssa 18 days ago

    \ | /
    C ?
    U- /

  • Hello
    Hello 18 days ago

    I say I can’t draw because I’m too lazy to spend hours creating something that won’t even look good in the end. It also frustrates me when nothing turns out how it’s supposed to.

  • DeShan Smith
    DeShan Smith 19 days ago

    Instructions unclear I work for marvel now

  • Komandarm Knuckles
    Komandarm Knuckles 19 days ago

    3:17 hey vsauce, Michael here

  • kaneki_ken Algori member
    kaneki_ken Algori member 20 days ago +1

    When you realize this video was actually uploaded on -April fools- day!!

  • J0W3x
    J0W3x 20 days ago

    It makes me happy and I thank you for that. Thanks a lot !

  • DaniGusta
    DaniGusta 20 days ago

    He sounded like C3PO speaking

  • Jim Zawalich
    Jim Zawalich 20 days ago

    Love these TEDx videos, I actually did a few drawings and was surprised that it was easy. ;)

  • Ruby Scoville
    Ruby Scoville 21 day ago +1

    I feel that when most people say they can’t draw, they don’t mean little cartoons. Obviously anyone can do that, they mean that they can’t draw things from life. And the truth is, without dedication and practice they can’t. No one can draw right away like a real artist, and that’s what’s expressed when people say they can’t draw. Anyone can draw, but only experienced people can draw well. All he’s proven is that all people can draw poorly whenever they please. This is fine as feel good nonsense but it will mislead a lot of people.

  • CaptainCosmic
    CaptainCosmic 21 day ago

    4:44 The eyes and nose, of Homer Simpson

  • Trang Le
    Trang Le 21 day ago

    Omg he is just soooo cool

  • Wizard Wannabes
    Wizard Wannabes 22 days ago

    I was shown this in school and watch it in my free time, it’s so interesting and fun!

  • Ирина Кондакова

    great video!))))like it very much))

  • Nargis Khoso
    Nargis Khoso 22 days ago

    It's fabulous example of confidence that if we want to do we can do each Nd everything...I'm fond of painting...I like it.

  • Tagai_Love777
    Tagai_Love777 23 days ago

    I thought i couldn't draw when i was younger but i didnt give up and kept practicing now i paint draw sketch all the above.

  • Alex Thiyam
    Alex Thiyam 23 days ago +1

    everyone knows they can draw like that atleast half of the people, but when they say they cant draw they dont mean they cant draw at all they mean they cant draw the way the talented artists does. The concept that is shown in this video is rather misleading.

  • brunzmeflugen
    brunzmeflugen 23 days ago

    I wish my mom had someone like this to help her with her stroke. It really does destroy their confidence

  • NJG
    NJG 24 days ago +1

    Not my style, but it’s a cool video.

  • 99Creatorz
    99Creatorz 24 days ago +1

    LOL I can't draw help. I can only copy

  • Jacob Dodson
    Jacob Dodson 25 days ago +1

    The reason people say they can't draw is because they want to draw like a pro and easily give up when they fail. But they fail to realize that the pros put in years of effort. And they don't consider that when they give up. Anyone can draw but they give up way to easily

  • H Music Visions
    H Music Visions 25 days ago

    I like to paint but I don't think myself as a good sketch artist and I don't draw cartoon and faces. But with this video I realized that I can do it. I did it

  • OGC Gaming
    OGC Gaming 26 days ago

    5:22 anyone else see Gorginho Giovanni? 🤔🤔🤔

  • Marc Normandin
    Marc Normandin 26 days ago

    None of them have chins...

  • خليل الاسعد
    خليل الاسعد 26 days ago

    what kind of art that is called?

  • Aditya Gupta
    Aditya Gupta 26 days ago

    I actually once drew a sketch for the police to catch a criminal

  • I Mutyalrao
    I Mutyalrao 27 days ago

    Paper wastage for just a cartoon pic

  • Dávid Holczer
    Dávid Holczer 28 days ago +1

    It's not even good drawing so most of the people still can't even draw.

  • Soouupz
    Soouupz 28 days ago

    4:38 that looks interesting

  • Kosmos de Kosmopoliet
    Kosmos de Kosmopoliet 28 days ago

    everyone can build a nuclear powerplant. everyone can write a book. everyone can design a robot. everyone can marry a top model. everyone can fix a broken computer. everyone can learn how to code. everyone can butcher a cow. everyone can build a house. everyone can tame a wild bull. everyone can swim across the ocean. everyone can play the saxophone. everyone can do everything. everyone smells nice. everyone is beautiful. everyone is kind. everyone will come home tonight. everyone will live long. everyone will raise beautiful children. *none of this was true*

  • Narnia _ Eclipse
    Narnia _ Eclipse 28 days ago

    My DT teacher showed this to my class last year. We all found this very good and useful

  • OjaruFan
    OjaruFan 29 days ago

    Did anyone else immediately grab a notebook and a pencil to draw along with him?

  • Scott Coleman
    Scott Coleman 29 days ago

    The guy drawn at 8.30 looks like the teacher from the incredibles. Coincidence? I think not!

  • ngozi eze
    ngozi eze 29 days ago

    Fantastic! This presentation made me truly joyous. Thank you.

  • Jube
    Jube 29 days ago

    every body gangsta til' spike become albert einstein