I had a lot of incorrect assumptions on how this class would be. I thought it would be the class where I could relax and take a break from my tougher classes. Although I did enjoy becoming immersed in my work, it often became incredibly frustrating when I was forcing myself to be creative or when the ideas in my head never quite came out right on the paper. Each week, as I came into class and saw the skills of my classmates, I became more and more humbled as I realized the weaknesses in my own abilities.
Unlike my other classes though, I felt there was a direct correlation with the quality of the work and the amount of time I devoted to it. For instance, I started focusing a lot on the minor details as the class went on, and saw that the content in my work greatly improved.
There were certain concepts that really helped my compositional abilities. In the past, I have only drawn people. I normally start with the eyes and build the face from their. Often this works because I feel as though I am uncovering a recognizable face. When it comes to a building or still life requiring a lot of perspective and proportions this idea of working on one small piece and building out is incredibly problematic. I would work very hard on a single object only to realize that it was much larger than it should have been.The concept of first focusing on the big picture before adding details really helped improve my work. I also really appreciated the advice to use your pencil or other objects to have a better understanding of perspective. More often than not, I would draw small objects unnecessarily large, or exaggerate angles according to how my brain perceived them.
Another concept that really worked for me was practicing ahead of time to warm myself up to draw. At first, I underestimated the importance of this, especially when it came to study drawings. The difference between my study drawings and final drawing was astounding. I almost felt the need to do multiple study drawings ahead of time. Even before drawing my study drawings, I really found it helpful to simply sketch to become more comfortable with the pen before I moved onto more meaningful work.
Throughout the semester, I only focused on using one type of pencil or one type of charcoal for my pieces, but began to find it useful to vary the softness according to the task at hand. This was really helpful when moving from heavily shaded areas to more sunlit parts of my drawings.
I think my biggest accomplishment from this class was learning how to better draw architecture. This has always been a huge struggle for me, since my work is normally much more fluid. For my final project, I really wanted to try to draw Duke's gothic architecture. In the end, the drawing was not perfect, but it was far better than I expected given my past struggles with the buildings (as seen in the previous works). It was also so nice to look back on my earlier works and see a huge improvement in my spacial workings.
Though I have always loved drawing, I never really made time for it, or felt that I could really successfully get very far. Now having the materials and the knowledge on how to create an artwork, I am really excited to work on pieces over breaks. All in all, despite this class being much more time intensive than I expected, I am really glad I took it because I am far more confident in my abilities!