Before taking this class, I did not have any formal artistic education, aside from the mandatory art classes in elementary school. My primary interest in drawing arose as a hobby in middle school, though I am sure that I doodled before then, and I continued with it throughout high school and some into college. However, the workload of being a premed at Duke, as I am sure many of my fellow students in the class know, leaves little time for relaxation due to the intensive course requirements and the extracurricular engagements needed to build a strong application. I found myself neglecting one of my favorite past-times, managing to draw primarily only during the school breaks. Luckily though, I managed to get all of my course requirements (both graduation and premed) out of the way early on in my academic career, and so I finally had the liberty to choose courses that interested me. When I saw this class on ACES it immediately caught my attention, as it would allow me to once again pick up drawing.
I initially had mixed feelings about taking a formal drawing class, as I was not sure of what to expect. Luckily though this class turned out to be great. Before this class the subjects of my drawings were all sci-fi or fantasy, and while I did continue to depict creations of my imagination in my sketchbook I was not upset by the class' emphasis on drawing from observation. I saw this as an expansion on what I was comfortable with and a challenge to create accurate representations of the world in my art. I liked the structure of the class and how each week we built on what we had learned from the previous one. Coming into the class I was only comfortable with line drawing, and that was without any of the variation in intensity that I learned about in class, and I had only been experimenting with shading for a month at most. In addition to learning all of the techniques, my confidence in my drawing ability increased greatly and I found myself relying less on my eraser as the semester progressed, and I was not afraid to experiment with different techniques. Unfortunately I did not have this confidence when we started working with charcoal and as a result I do not think I spent enough time practicing with that medium as I think I would like to now.
I really enjoyed this class. The techniques we learned were varied and helped develop a wide range of aspects in drawing, but I think what I truly value in the class is how it made me more confident and willing to take risks in my drawings. I was daunted with the initial projects of the semester because I was afraid of making mistakes, and I remember finding myself trying to use my pencil as an exact ruler when we learned this technique for fear of my drawing not being perfect. However, with more practice I learned to be better at getting an overall feel of the objects I was drawing and to perceive their proportions.
For me, drawing is a way to relax and to transform my thoughts into entities that exists in reality. As a kid I used to enjoy drawing and sharing my work with my siblings, each of us trying to come up with cooler things than the other. Now, I use drawing as a way to express my creativity and to relax. I am extremely glad that I took this class. I feel that now I can draw things from observation and that I will be able to use this to help me in my fictional drawings by using real-life objects as a reference for something imaginary, and in addition I feel that I have improved my drawing technique due to both the confidence and the new set of skills this class has provided me with. Thank you Professor Fick!