I have been interested in drawing since I had the ability to use a writing utensil. As a kid I would have my parents buy me coloring books of my favorite cartoons and I would add my own personal color changes to make them look different from what they appear on TV. When I was in third grade, I became more interested in building physical structures like Legos and plastic model cars, trucks, and airplanes. I loved being able to build something with my hands from a bunch of small tiny pieces that didn't mean much separately, but once put together, it would turn into a masterpiece. Building plastic models and Legos taught me how to be meticulous with my hands, pay attention to small details, and how to create something recognizable from small pieces. I was able to use my creative side to paint the models whatever colors I wanted to make them my own and take miscellaneous Lego pieces and turn them into huge structures. These elements also helped me when drawing. When I wouldn't be building Legos or models, I would draw in my room for hours. My favorite thing to do was tracing an image of a cartoon character or company logo and putting my own twist on it. I would do up to ten different iterations of the same image, but with varying color schemes and background pieces. I remember having my drawings spread all over my bedroom floor and bed, and I would have spiral notebooks full of sketches so that I could go back to them for inspiration on my next piece. Building physical pieces and drawing on paper felt very similar to one another, so it was easy for me to enjoy both as a hobby. I still have a few of these drawings on my desk back home and I love seeing my creative mind in elementary school because it's like going back in time to see who I was as an artist.
When I was in fourth grade my friend and I created an entire cartoon book of this creature called the Fatbat. It was essentially a circle with bat wings, little feet/legs, and eyes that I learned how to draw from watching Family Guy. We created nearly 100 different variations of this Fatbat character. I would draw them in class, at lunch, and when school was over I would go to my room and draw even more. I filled an entire spiral notebook of these drawings, however I am not sure where they ended up or who threw them away. As I went through middle school and high school, I became a notebook doodler as I like to call it, because I would write notes in class, but the rest of the empty space was filled with small random drawings of anything that would come to mind. It definitely kept me awake in classes that were not especially entertaining. When I came to Duke, I pretty much had to give up any free time I had for drawing or any other hobby I had because college football became a full time job and I needed to focus on studying. Even in class I would either be typing notes or trying to write fast enough to keep pace with the professor talking. My junior spring here at Duke I took Experimental Drawing with Professor Seamen. It was a really fun class and even though it was creating art on the computer through photoshop, I was able to put my own personal touch on pictures taken outdoors and channel my creative side.
I have been meaning to take a drawing class during my time at Duke because I love drawing, no matter the requirements. My first thought of the class was I thought we could free draw anything we wanted in any style we chose. When I realized we would be learning more about the techniques of drawing, I was actually pleasantly surprised because I never took a drawing class that actually had the professor teaching you how to draw lines, shade correctly, use negative space, and draw from realistic images. I definitely improved my drawing skills and I was able to find my own style, which I believe is important because it allows you to become confident in your work and can do it with ease. This doesn't mean I didn't struggle in class either. My first in-class drawings looked terrible, I couldn't figure out how to my perspective onto paper without skewing it horizontally or vertically. By the end of the semester I was to correct my drawings to make them much cleaner and realistic. Even though I would spend five to six hours or more on a drawing, I definitely learned a lot and have a bigger appreciation for artists and their talents. I will miss this course, and I will always continue drawing in some form or another to bring out my creative side. Drawing has been a great outlet for me and I hope it continues to do so in the future.