Nomi Wagner Portrait Artist

Drawing on My Experience: Words of Wisdom from a Portrait Artist

by Nomi Wagner

Here are some things I’ve found out about drawing:

  • Most people, including myself, were not born knowing how to do it.
  • It doesn't matter if you “can’t draw a straight line.” Straight lines can be boring, and that’s why God invented rulers!
  • Though not easy – at least for me – it can be learned, and it can be FUN!
  • You don’t have to draw things out of your imagination. You can copy anything you see.
  • It's ok to start with tracing paper.
  • Like most skills, the more you do it, the better you get.

It’s Never Too Late to Learn

My first experience with learning to draw was at age 47, at a Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain 5-day intensive course. I was a professional photographer and had heard that drawing would improve my business skills. Since childhood I had harbored a secret wish to be an artist, so I figured that learning to draw would be icing on the cake. Little did I know that the class would lead to my eventually becoming a full-time artist … not Michelangelo obviously, but good enough to find personal fulfillment and to make my clients happy.

A Partner in Learning

I talked my husband Gerry into taking the class, too. 

Gerry doing his homework
Voila! Gerry's portrait of Nomi

Since that first course, I have spent countless hours in classes as well as on my own … drawing people in airports, copying from art books in the car while Gerry drives, copying from the masters in museums, and drawing every day for my work. I am currently figuring out how to draw on my iPad.

So go ahead and draw! No one is looking. It can be your little secret or you can overcome your fears, take classes, and share your drawing with the world. You will be amazed at how you have never really “seen” things until you actually draw them.

And guess what … you will become better at business and everything else, including other art forms. Drawing will help develop a balance between your perceptual skills and your critical thinking. Your right and left brains will thank you. Best of all, you will hereby be proclaimed an artist and eligible for your Artistic License!


Nomi's Drawing of Two Darling Sisters