Drawing is precision.
There is something to be said for the unique ways in which an object occupies space and one’s understanding of how to recreate those same edges and contours onto a paper. One must learn to cast aside the ever-imposing biases of the brain, and look instead at what is. Rather than relying on our perceptions and preconceived notions of how lines are angled and shapes arranged, one must force past those ideas and take the scene for what it is – not what we think it is, and want it to be. It is a matter of staying true to your eyes and portraying that in front of you exactly as it appears. There is special attention to be paid to depicting an image in just the right way, as any perceptual bias can easily distort the desired product. One must not only have mental control over conflicting bias, but also physical control of materials. Any tool used to create or remove value demands a certain degree of precision. Whether drawing lines or shading spaces, one must exercise control of how the pencil is moving, how hard one is pressing, and how much of the area is being covered. It is one of the few things in life that can be altered no matter how may times one may have made mistakes previously, and instead craft the exact desired outcome.
Drawing is expression.
In a class on observational drawing, I was slightly discouraged that we would not be able to explore more abstract or interpretative approaches. I felt almost limited by the fact that we would be focusing on real objects and scenes, but soon found that those concerns were completely unfounded. Drawing from observation challenges your skills as an artist because the visual depiction must mirror the original real life object or scene. Anything that is not accurate is evident, whereas a conceptual piece gives more freedom for deviation. I have also learned that drawing from observation is not at all limiting, even though you have the material in front of you. In a given classroom where each student has an object in front of him or her – each identical, from the same perspective, in the same lighting – there will be a different depiction of the object on each paper. There is always room for personality. The ways people accentuate certain lines, the painstaking care in which they fill in detail, the boldness of their lines, the depth of their values. There is much for the individual to add, and there is always room for that personal touch. There is room for expression, for feeling. For capturing essence. This applies to both the essence of the scene and the feeling one is trying to convey, and the essence of the artist him or herself. In mirroring that which already exists, variety stemming from individual projection is still present.
Drawing is therapy.
This has been by far one of the most difficult times in my life and the times where I can sit and just sketch for hours on end are some of the most relaxing. I find solace in the process of creating a full narrative from what used to be a blank page, in projecting myself into my work through my attention to detail and precision of line, in carefully tweaking an image until it is just so. It is one of my only opportunities in life in which so much forgiveness exists. I have the ability to constantly alter a piece until a get it to where I would like it. It is one of the few things I know a favorable outcome is not only possible, but also achievable. It gives me a sense of control when absolutely everything else falls out of my hands. In life, nothing is guaranteed. The chance to correct previous mistakes, redefine the narrative as you wish, or change your mind entirely and start fresh is something that is not as easy to attain as when one is drawing. Drawing has been my escape from all the times when everything else begins to overwhelm me, as my full focus is devoted to that which I am creating. It is not only a distraction where I do not think about interfering issues, but also something in which I can actively apply myself and engage.
When asked to explain what makes it so amazing, or why I love it so much, I can rattle off a list of qualities or feelings that I associate with it, but at the end of the day, it just is.