To be perfectly honest, I don’t really enjoy drawing. While a lot of people find it relaxing, I find it incredibly stressful. I visualize things in three dimensions, not two, so converting a three-dimensional object onto a piece of paper has always been particularly difficult for me. When I think of a chair, for example, I see the front, back, side, top, and bottom all at once. I can rotate the object in my head to see all of it. As someone intending to study architecture, this is a relatively useful skill. For me, drawing a plan, an elevation, or a section is simple. Even axonometrics aren’t too difficult because they are mathematically very precise. But looking at a building or an object and simply drawing it on a piece of paper with some sort of three-dimensionality is a great challenge to me, and I knew I was going to have to face this challenge head on in this course. VisArts 199 is a major requirement for the Architecture concentration. I knew I was going to have to take this course during my time at Duke, so I decided on this semester.
Throughout this course, I admit I struggled. Finding the motivation to complete an assignment was difficult at times, mostly because I knew it would be difficult, but I definitely feel I gained a better understanding of my drawing abilities.
With my final project, I chose to include Gross Chem as my building from Duke’s campus. Architecturally, the exterior of the building is relatively simple, especially the side I chose to depict. As I was drawing it, I yearned to reach for my ruler, my scale, my triangle—anything to make the perspective more precise and exact. But I forced myself to draw it using the empirical perspective we had learned a few assignments ago. Although the lines are not perfectly straight and the lines probably don’t all converge at one vanishing point, I feel I was able to correctly capture the proportions of the building on a two-dimensional surface. This was a huge accomplishment for me, especially since one of my first sketches included a measured sketch of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye. I was able to hone a skill that will be invariably useful to me in the future. Although I still don’t look at drawing with a bounding sense of excitement, I am definitely grateful of the new skills I have developed and am looking forward to being able to use them in my career.