Monday, April 22, 2013

Liam Engels

Writing about my experience drawing this semester reminds me in a way of the thoughts I drew on my sketchbook lately, since sketching with words is almost the exact opposite of writing about drawings.

The first thing I that springs to my mind when I reflect about either skills is the creativity involved in connecting ideas and transferring them onto a sketchbook in a presentable manner. In other words, what I'm about to write is not entirely clear nor is it hardly an easy task to realize. But this is where the beauty of art lies! This semester has taught me how to combine certain techniques we learnt in class, such as smudging to create shades and values, with the scattered spray of ideas that lives in my mind. If a list were given of the things I learnt from this experience, the first is that drawing and creative writing both amount to a similar degree of effort, dedication, and inspiration. I personally have come to realize that art cannot be made for art's sake, for there is no such thing to me. Although both are equally time consuming under normal circumstances, drawing requires a higher level of dedication and appliance, while writing is more about the sudden bursts of inspiration.
Also, as an English major who appreciates art for his own sake, I consider this class has given me the necessary instruments to judge artists and their work more competently. To be honest, though, I used the opportunity we were given earlier in the semester, whereby we had to do research on any artist of our choosing, to study my favorite one of all time: Hergé. Not only did I find him amusing and his comic books fantastic as a child, but now I also acknowledge the effort, dedication, and inspiration that conduced him to such levels of excellence and creativity. I very much enjoyed learning about his influence on the popularity and style on the comic books world of art, for now I feel that I can empathize with him almost as well as any other Tintinologist. Although I most certainly will never reach his level of competence, in either writing or drawing, I aspire to work my way towards it.
Lastly, but certainly not least, throughout this semester I've expanded my horizons by reducing the creative and increasing the attentive, perspective, and empirical elements in my drawings. As a child, I hardly received any formal drawing education, which is why most of my experience has been centered on anime and use of imagination. Encouraging me to draw mostly from observation (on top of the aggregated skills and techniques I developed throughout this semester), say for instance, Baldwin Auditorium, has given me the confidence to go out and explore new fields of possibility. Realism, surrealism, foregrounds, backgrounds, and so forth, are entirely new concepts that I hope to further explore while I develop in more depth other skills I acquired to draw.
On the whole, the three things I enjoyed the most about this class was first, the opportunity to do research on an artist of my preference, Hergé; second, work on my sketchbook and develop a skillful combination of poetry and drawings; and thirdly, getting if at least a preliminary feel for "classical" art and the possibilities it creates for better creative enterprises. That is, the last two final drawings I made illustrate a synthesis between a realist setting and a fictive narration (the one before last not as much as the very last, although the inserted objects are figments of my imagination). If I were to re-take this class, the two things I would change would be first of all, quit rugby to avoid any head injuries that may cause me to lose my original sketchbook and a final drawing, and secondly, I would seize more opportunities that I let go by, such as the Art Annex and the Nasher Museum. Upon my recent visits, I have been inspired by certain things in both places, which I wish I would have discovered earlier in the semester. As a final note, although I may or may not follow a path that borders along the lines of art, I will always look back at this class with a smile for it has been the best 'studying' experience I had at Duke, because if homework is doing what you would like to do in your free time anyway, what is the reason not to be happy?

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