Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thoughts on Drawing by Joshua Lafond-Favieres

I love drawing more than most things. I've been drawing since before I can remember. My parents have drawings of mine from the earliest years of my life, and I can't recall any details about those days. I have journals from my elementary school days that are half-filled with grammatically incorrect writing assignments and have every other page loaded with sketches of whatever was on my mind. Growing up, I realized that I drew more often than other people my age and that I wasn't too bad at it either. I embraced drawing as a talent and practiced all the time, trying not to let it go to waste.

I never took classes on drawing because I didn't think that was a good way to learn. I was always super impressed with the work of other artists who I saw online, and I tried to learn it all from them. I would constantly copy their drawings to try and emulate their techniques. Some of the biggest teachers I had growing up were my three younger brothers and my older cousin. Like me, they started drawing at a very young age. Before my brothers were old enough I would look at my cousin's work and copy his techniques. I always thought his stuff was amazing as a young child because even though in reality we were on roughly the same skill trajectory, his skill was 2 years more developed than mine at any given time, and 2 years is a lot in those childhood years of rapid development.

Once my brothers grew up more and developed their skills, I was really inspired by them. The similarities in our styles was apparent, but we also had key differences that matched our personalities. My first brother Joseph is very different from me in personality and many of his interests. He draws fantastically imagined landscapes with beautiful designs that fill the whole page and that I couldn't begin to approach using all of my skills. My second brother Matthew is a lot more like me in personality, and he draws more like me too. He and I are both more skilled at drawing people than places, mostly in smaller drawing areas. Through our differences and similarities we have learned a lot about drawing from looking at each other's work. We get the added benefit of being able to look at our drawings both before and after their completion. This of course allows us to see the artist's thought process as well as physical drawing process. That's invaluable.

There are definite merits to structured drawing courses as well. It's nice and relatively easy to have someone define and teach techniques to you. It's also beneficial to have a practiced art authority figure present for critique and discussion. However, I think it isn't enough just to practice from lectures. One of the most important aspects of learning in my life has been self-teaching by emulating others' work. Doing that by yourself teaches you techniques that aren't defined and gives you a sense of ownership for your work. In conjunction with daily practice you can reach new levels of skill that let you make the drawings you want to in the way that you want to.

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