As a person who loves artwork, appreciates creativity, and spends endless hours painting - had you told me a drawing class would give me anxiety - I would have laughed. Considering the fact that I have done several projects before, I would never have thought I would have been so anxious when it came to drawing.
I originally decided to take this course because, given my love of art, I wanted to take an art course at some point in my Duke career. My decision of a drawing course specifically stemmed from the fact that I already love to paint. I wanted to understand the stylistic techniques of drawings in order to gain a background in sketching, in order to improve my paintings and to foster a basic drawing skill which I did not believe I had.
When I use the word anxiety - this is not necessarily in the negative sense, rather simply as an observation of my personal reaction to an art-based class. This “anxiety" pushed me out of my comfort zone in a way that taught me several things about myself and the practice of drawing.
So - you might ask, where did my anxiety stem from?
Well, for one: the length of the process of drawing. This semester I couldn’t just ‘do the assignment’ the night before. I needed to prepare a time for myself, generally several times, where I could sit and really work on my drawings. I had to make the time to do the study drawing, to analyze where I could improve, to work on the final, and then to make the edits I felt were necessary before I could submit my piece. This lengthy process also came with the cost of location - I didn’t want to carry my drawing board to every place I went to study, so I really needed to dedicate hours to a location and to the task of drawing. This was particularly difficult for my in the empirical drawing - spending hours on the floor of the library rather than in my standard drawing location of my apartment.
Reason number two came from the difficulty in seeing perspective. My brain and my eyes have definitely had their fair share of differences when it came to creating works for this course. I have really tried to draw exactly what I see, and somehow my brain, what I know exists, has come to take over what comes onto my paper. That said, it is for that reason that I particularly enjoyed shading - while my line-work had difficulty deciphering between information coming from my brain and eyes, I enjoyed working with the different pigments that the pencils were capable of producing. I felt that I had the opportunity to add elements of depth to my pages without necessarily creating those with structured lines. The topic of shading also most reminded me of painting - even though it was all still grey-black, the option to choose the depth and strength of the color was one that i appreciated.
Reason three came from my comparison of my work to other’s. From this process, I have come to conclude that my talent is not in drawing realistic images. There are people in the course who have created masterpieces, and have a deep passion and love for drawing realistic images. While I appreciate their works, I felt embarrassed for my work to be placed next to theirs. I felt that my work was unworthy of being placed next to such works of art - and this is something I found difficult to overcome.
However, from this experience I realize that have grown to have an appreciation for the artwork that others have produced in a way that I have yet to experience. Even though I have produced artwork in the past, I have never taken a course in the topic, and I wholeheartedly believe that the countless hours with my pencils, paper, and erasers have more deeply developed my appreciation of art and detail.
Overall, I have really appreciated what I have learned in this course, and am very glad to have taken it as one of my last courses here at Duke. I definitely see a drastic difference in the works I have produced and the way I see lines and objects in spaces. I really do believe that I have improved over the course of the semester. That said, for me, I have come to understand that my handiwork in realistic imagery is still at the 101 level. While I definitely have an interest in continuing to improve in that sense, I am excited to explore the opportunity to sketch more abstract works!
In addition: I have included some of my favorite sketchbook drawings below!
Thanks again for a wonderful semester!
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