In high school, when I was given the chance to choose between art or the orchestra as an elective. I had been in art classes before, both at school and outside of school, so taking art seemed like the natural choice. I knew if I joined the orchestra, I would get to go to Disney World for a concert later on in the year, so I chose orchestra. Since then, I haven’t picked up a drawing pencil. I haven’t sat down and drawn in a long time, which is why I enrolled in the class. I wanted a chance to get back to a practice that once kept me busy for hours.
Starting back up was a lot harder than I expect. Simple skills like drawing straight, steady lines and knowing how to shade were difficult tasks now, and it was frustrated at first. I felt stiff and when we drew in class, it took me a long time to get in a rhythm. The more time I practiced and put hours into drawing, the better I got. And even though it might not be obvious, I think I have gotten better at drawing this past semester. I definitely wouldn’t consider myself to be a gifted or a particularly talented drawer, but I am still proud of how far I have come in this class. In the first week, I couldn’t even draw a square object with out messing up the proportions.
It was intimidating to see how talented and well-practiced some of my classmates were. I compared my work to theirs, knowing I should, and I think I decided early on that I was not good at drawing. I put a lot of effort into my assignments, but still got anxious when I came to class, worried that I would have to present them to the class. It was hard not to consider the work of my classmates, but I remembered something my mom told me in the sixth grade after I was upset because I had gotten a good grade on a test but not as good as my friend’s grade. “Comparison is the thief of joy,” she told me. This phrase is kind of dumb and silly, but it kept coming back to me throughout the class. I need to focus on my own progress and my own growth and not get distracted or depressed by the work of others. Only when I realized I needed to focus on my own progress did I feel content with my particular style and works in the class.
After these fourteen (is it fourteen?) weeks exploring my talents of drawing, I am not sure if I have a new outlook on the artistic process or the medium of drawing. It is a lot harder than it looks, I’ve realized, and I have the upmost respect for artists whose principal medium is in fact drawing. I am not sure its the medium for me, but I plan on continuing experimenting and exploring my style as a sketch artist.
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