Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Thoughts on Drawing - Mary Lin

Drawing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My parents have a home video of me doodling people when I was two years old, and my grandma kept a collection of my drawings that I made when I visited her on summer vacations. When I was growing up, drawing could keep me entertained anywhere as long as I had a pencil and paper, and I could spend hours creating imaginary stories in my drawings.

Throughout my time drawing, my favorite subject has always been people. I love the nuance and beauty of drawing faces, and am fascinated by how light and shadow have such transformative and defining effects on the character of portraits. Though I used to almost only draw from my imagination and without direct references, in recent years I have come to realize the incredible value of reference images. The use of these images has helped me to refine my skill in creating more realistic portraits, as well as to study the subtleties of how shadows compose an image.

While this has sharpened my attention to detail, my perfectionistic tendencies often come out a lot more when I draw. It is very easy for me to spend hours relentlessly picking away at minute details of a single drawing, trying to find the most ideal, accurate representation of a face. But despite the satisfaction that a painstakingly realistic image can bring, this sometimes takes away from the freedom and style that makes drawings interesting. Fortunately, this class has challenged me to recognize that ‘perfect’ can be a bit boring, and has helped me to learn to embrace abstraction and to accept messiness in drawing. By stepping outside of my comfort zone of sketching figures and portraits to draw more natural settings and scenery, such as greenery and clouds, I have learned to use rough, random, or scribbled marks to bring dimension and texture to my work. This more liberal use of abstraction and texture has not only taught me to create natural sceneries for the first time, but also has brought greater complexity and variety of values to my portraits.

This class has also helped me to challenge myself in terms of the scale of my drawings. When this semester started I was hesitant and intimidated by the scale of the work that we had to produce, as I had only ever drawn at a fraction of that size. But I came to realize that working bigger was, in many ways, much easier than working small, because I simply had more space to include variation in value, and adding finer details was more manageable. Working on a larger scale to draw an entire scene, rather than a single object or figure, also helped me to pay closer attention to the composition of a drawing, as I needed to learn to adjust the relative sizes and placements of each constituent part. Thus, as a whole my experience in this class has really pushed me to think more critically about my work, and I hope to continue to improve upon my drawing moving forward.

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