I wish I could say that at the end of these 14 (?) weeks that I find my soul set on fire by drawing. But alas, I cannot. I won’t say that I regret taking Drawing 101—it isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever done—but I can’t say that I feel particularly enlightened by the knowledge and skills that it brought me.
I think I came into this course pretty naïve. I knew that I was, at best, a mediocre artist. I also knew that I had very little interest in changing that. There are some things in life that you just have to accept—and I accepted a long time ago that I would always be fairly mediocre at drawing. Am I better than the average person at drawing? Sure. Am I better than a single person in my drawing class? Not by a long shot! I can appreciate the skills that the people in my drawing class possess and I can appreciate their love of their craft but I, however, will probably never share that love and passion.
Throughout this semester, I’ve learned a lot about drawing skills that I didn’t know before. And I think I’ve grown in skills that I didn’t previously possess. The biggest change I’ve seen, however, is in my attention to the architecture on Duke’s campus. I can’t even walk to class without noticing the patterns of bricks on the many buildings around Duke’s campus or the shape of the leaves on the varying types of trees. While I never again in my life wish to draw a single brick or struggle to draw another tree, I think my life is much more enhanced now that I can notice and appreciate the details in the things around me.
I think the reason that I don’t enjoy drawing is because it is a skill—a talent. You know what I’m good at? Math. I’m as good at math as most of my classmates are at drawing—better, even. But drawing isn’t systematic. It’s fluid. There is no set way to draw—no exact way to move or place your hand. No clear-cut answer or formula to get there. Some people find beauty in that—I find frustration. In high school I played varsity basketball and I also played violin in the symphony orchestra. I was better than average at both. These are both skills that are less systematic than math, but still ones that follow rules—they’re more fluid but can still be taught precisely. There’s a beauty in systems and conventions. A beauty that I, for one, appreciate.
Who knows, though? Maybe if I had picked up drawing at the same age that I picked up basketball (age 10) or even the violin (age 11) then my story would be different. Honestly, second grade me would be so proud that I took a drawing class—all I wanted to be was an author/illustrator back then—but sophomore in college me is pretty glad this over.