Monday, April 25, 2016

Thoughts on Drawing_Conquering My Fear of Shading

At the beginning of the semester, drawing was a hobby that I had spent a lot of time with in elementary school but had since given up. Most of my compositions back then entailed line sketches of anime and cartoon characters, partly because these subjects consisted of solid lines with relatively little complexity in shading or line value. I took a lot of pride in being able to accurately reproduce the structure of what I saw before me by using pencil and paper, but I always shied away from adding my own variations to my work. My drawing style ever since has, in a way, reflected my penmanship -- neat, straight, and symmetrical, but somewhat devoid of style or flair.

Drawing 199 has honestly become one of the best classes I have taken at Duke. I came in with the expectation that I would simply refine my line skills and acquire training with shading and value, but now I'm leaving with an altered paradigm with which to approach and visualize my world. Whereas before I would interpret my surroundings in terms of what my eyes saw, I'm now better able to see things in terms of how I can use them to create something new that I can call my own. I've been amazed at how much I've improved, just by looking at my first drawings and comparing them to what I can produce today. 

The main difference, I think, has come in the form of confidence. Instinctively, I tend to approach art with a desire to strive for accuracy. For this reason, shading has always scared me because I'm afraid that doing so would ruin the exactitude that I worked so hard for in my line drawings. But this class challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and add dimension and depth to my work. Initially, I had no idea what I was doing, but looking back, every single one of the mistakes and frustrations was worth it. 

One of the compositions in my sketchbook is a mundane piece with my backpack as the subject. I love looking at this drawing because it shows how much I've grown as an artist. Before this class, a backpack drawing of mine would try to be rigorously exact in terms of line placement but would forego any shading or value. All the nuances and folds and dimensions of the subject would be ignored. But thanks to this course, I'm no longer afraid to fill in all the blank white spaces with complexity and depth. 

The biggest change has come in my posture -- whereas before I would be timid and hesitant when approaching a drawing, I now carry a mindset of diving in and taking action whenever I set pen to paper.

This class has helped me develop my skills and love for visual art to an enormous degree, and so I want to thank Professor Fick for equipping me with the posture and perspective I'll need to further cultivate this passion of mine in the future. 

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