I have had very little experience in drawing prior to this class. Mandatory drawing/painting classes that I took in elementary and middle school were just about all the experience I ever had in drawing. Naturally, I was somewhat nervous coming into this class. In retrospect, however, I did enjoy drawing as a child. Back in elementary school, I was into sketching outfits, having . I drew Japanese animations for my friends as well. Last summer, I started taking traditional Asian painting, which led me to taking this drawing class this semester. Despite my initial worries coming into this class, the class material and assignments weren't overwhelming. I was surprised at the level of drawing some of my peers with more drawing experiences were at. But as Prof. Fick assured us that it was fine for everyone to be at different level of drawing skills, I was able to have more fun with my assignments and in-class drawings.
While line drawing wasn't overly stressful or difficult for me, as I habitually doodled on scrap papers or sketched in notebooks, when we got into shading and coloring, I had some trouble figuring out what exactly I had to do. I tried hard to resort to keen observations, but it was sometimes frustrating to be unable to express on paper what I see with my eyes. I tried using both charcoal and paper with the shading. At first, I was attracted to charcoal as it was something I have never used before. I liked the darkness and the expressiveness of it. But, I soon realized that I was better at drawing with pencil, partly because I wasn't too familiar with how to fully utilize charcoal, and partly because of my drawing style.
I actually had the most fun when we got into drawing large open spaces. I loved walking around campus looking for a good spot to draw, as I love our school campus so much. What I especially enjoyed was that I got to choose a perspective to draw from. When it came to fiction drawing, I had so many ideas that I had a hard time settling with one. Although I had to rework on it because I wasn't satisfied with what I had at first, I was happy to end with a final work that I was happy with. I think this class allowed me to approach drawing more fearlessly. The biggest takeaway was that you should not be scared about drawing and that you should begin by being a careful observant and trying to put down on paper what you see. This was by far one of the most enjoyable classes I had at Duke and I appreciate the opportunity. I would like to further have a chance to take more art classes at Duke or even outside of Duke.