When I was younger, my school required us to take art classes. I was never good at art and remember making the girl who was really great at art help me. I just wanted my final piece to look good and I didn't actually care if someone else drew the hard parts for me. When I got to high school I stopped taking art classes because they were no longer required. My mom always pushed me to take a drawing elective because she thought I was a good drawing. Actually, I wasn't. She just thought I was because I had other people help me or I traced things.
Finally, when I was abroad in Rome last semester there weren't that many classes that I would get credit for and my grades did not count so I figured I would take some art classes to make my mom happy. I took a sculpture class and a class called "Rome Sketchbook" where we went around Rome and drew things in our sketchbook. I took these classes with my friends and had a lot of fun in them. I had a little trouble in sculpture class because I would change my mind about what to create all the time. It took a little too much imagination for me. I did like Rome Sketchbook because I didn't have to make anything up, I was supposed to draw what I saw. By the end of this class, I realized that I could draw decently - all on my own.
I really liked my Rome Sketchbook class so I decided I would take a drawing class at Duke if I could fit it into my schedule. I was happy when drawing fit into my schedule this semester. When I got to class, it was daunting to hear that we'd be doing 2 drawings on the 19x24 paper every week on top of 4 sketchbook drawings. In Rome, I was supposed to do 2 sketchbook drawings a week.
Drawing this semester was definitely a huge time commitment. I am not at the point where I can draw quickly and still make it look good. I am extremely meticulous and found myself spending 15+ hours on all the drawings I produced that were actually good. On the weeks I let it become Wednesday before I even started my drawing, I hated this class. However, on the weeks that I didn't have much other work and was able to draw when I wanted to over the entire week (or 2 later in the semester), I loved drawing. It was a way to escape from the rest of my classes. It was great to be able to listen to music and be with my friends while I drew. When I study, I need absolute silence so I cannot be around others even doing work. Drawing was a nice change from this.
Over the semester I have figured out a little about my preferences and strengths/weaknesses with drawing. I do not like charcoal, I like pencil. I like drawing straight lines. I like drawing buildings and people and cars but I hate drawing trees. I don't get how other people can make their drawings so dark with pencil and have darks differentiated from darks. I have been able to use texture pretty well to differentiate objects but I need to work on my tone. I am bad at drawing from my mind. I like drawing from real life or from pictures.
After taking this class I have really changed the way I look at things. I'll be walking through campus and recognize the exact angle my classmates were facing when they drew their assignments. I also think about what would make for a cool drawing. A lot of time I think something would look good, but realize it is too overwhelming for me.
I hope to take the comic books class next semester. I have loved drawing the Batman characters in my sketchbook and final assignment so I think comic books would be fun for me. After I graduate, I hope I will keep drawing. I just need to find the time because if there is anything I've learned from this semester, drawing is physical labor that requires a lot of time but when you put the time in, the end result is something to be proud of. Looking back on some of my pieces from the semester, I have trouble believing 2 things. First, I created them. And second, they all started as empty, white, daunting pieces of bristol board.