I’ve always been a color type of girl. When I was young, every Christmas list included a wish for a fresh 120 pack of Crayolas with the handy sharpener on the back, a replacement for last year’s pack that had since become dull and broken. I spent hours coloring various characters and scenes in coloring books, even to the extent that I can still identify half of the ridiculously-named colors, such as “Macaroni and Cheese” and “Purple Pizzazz,” and can differentiate between “Green Yellow” and “Yellow Green.” I was ecstatic when my parents registered me for art class and I was introduced to the magic of watercolor and acrylic paints, a passion I have continued to enjoy and have expanded since. My friends and family always ask me about naming specific shades or matching colors, and I love helping people decide on paint swatches for house walls (or, to be honest, playing with color swatches in general).
Hence, I overlooked “Introduction to Drawing” when I was considering an art class for this semester because my eyes were first drawn to painting, photography, and digital classes. However, in discussing my art class choices with a similar-minded friend who had taken Drawing 199 last semester, I reconsidered my choice. She raved about the class’s ability to bring down stress level and discover new ways of thinking. Though I had never taken a classical drawing class or really learned any techniques of drawing, I wanted to expand my boundaries of art. At first I was hesitant, anticipating an entire semester of creating art that only consisted of blacks, whites, and shades of gray, but I soon decided that this could be an aspect of the art form to embrace.
Though it has been especially challenging with an overloaded schedule, deciding to pursue drawing was definitely a decision I do not regret. With so much varied work for my other courses, whether writing, reading, analyzing, computing, studying, etc., it was sometimes frustrating to force myself to spend four—or later in the semester even ten—hours total with my drawing board. Rather than thinking of drawing as a break, it took me a while to come to the realization that drawing work, though of a very different type, is an equally legitimate use of my time as working on tasks for other classes. At times I had to force myself to sit down and make a conscious effort to block out stressful thoughts of everything I had to do for my other classes and focus simply on putting the graphite or charcoal to the paper. It takes so much concentration and thought to fix something that isn’t working out “quite right” and to render objects as you see them. Yet, there is something inevitably satisfying about taking a step back from a piece after endless hours of meticulous work and knowing that you have accomplished something worthwhile and to the best of your ability.
Throughout the semester, I have learned to fall in love with drawing and embrace its unique identity as an art form. Rather than expression through color, I now appreciate the subtleties of shading, line variation, textures, and values, all of which I hadn’t explicitly thought about before. Because of the class, in some ways I see the world around me differently. I’ve found that I better appreciate the complexity of architecture after spending hours trying to mirror it on the drawing pad. Rather than seeing expanses of grass, pavement, or stone as empty planes, I notice the nuanced textures and think about how they could be rendered on paper. I pay attention to shadows, especially how they differ from objects themselves and change throughout the course of a day. I see interesting shapes for the negative and positive spaces that they create. In all, the class has been invaluable for me not only in expanding my artistic boundaries but also in altering the way I interact with the world as a creative individual. Thank you, Professor Fick, for enabling and encouraging this transformation and for a great semester!