This article is solely to empower and encourage my fellow art lovers; especially for those who say "I cannot at all draw. I can't draw because I am not talented" or "the best I can draw is a stickman"......
One thing I hear the most from my friends, my students, my social circle, and so on is "you are so talented, I wish I could draw like you".....Well, you don't need to wish, you just need practice, you can draw really well. After all, art and specifically, drawing is just a skill mastered over time. Isn't it? If you are a strong believer that art is a talent and not a learnt behaviour, I am here to prove you wrong, unfortunately.
Now, how is pencil drawing or any other kind of visual art a skill or learnt behaviour?
Here's how: to LEARN drawing or art, you need to know a few main things. First thing is learning and understanding the basic fundamentals and principles of art (and drawing - these are same across styles/mediums). You can easily find lots and lots of good books to read this through. And you have checked the first step towards learning drawing or even painting or any other visual art discipline.
Second step is to choose a medium: you can use pencils, charcoal, oil pastels, conte crayons, watercolors, and basically anything and then start creating something. The trick is patience and not over-cristicising yourself for not drawing or painting like Leonardo DaVinci. DO NOT COMPARE YOUR WORK TO OTHERS.
You need to keep creating something regularly (not necessarily everyday); if you find it harder to create from imagination, don't be afraid to find references around you like something from a magazine or from a newspaper or even buy a book with practice drawings. You can even use a free stock photo website. The main thing is to keep creating something.
How does regular practice help? Because...
With regular pratice, your mind starts to learn to control and understand the MEDIUM you are using. Same way how we learnt to write when we were kids. Patience and dedication is key to ANYTHING you want to learn. In time, your eyes will be trained to create with more attention and will distinguish lights and contrasts better.
This is a long process, remember to not be scared of the time it takes to build this skill but be scared of not even trying at all. Once you are able to control your medium really well, now is the time to find a technique for even better control. At this stage, explore the world of other artists, and what their techniques are; find inspiration. Be sure to keep doing your pratice while you explore. You will find lots of artists will give free tips and techniques on how to improve artwork. One mindset you need to develop is "I don't know everything but I will consume and add-on to my existing knowledge whenever I get the opportunity".
And guess what - if you do the above few things I mentioned, there is nothing that can stop you from learning drawing or any art discipline.
Nothing I mentioned above requires talent but only dedication, interest, and patience. So, to the question - is art a skill or a talent? - the answer is Art is definitely a Skill.