Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Thoughts on Drawing - Daniel Song

Like many people, I started drawing when I was a kid, with random scribbles and misshapen doodles. I remember thinking that I wasn't too bad - I was definitely at least a bit better than most of my peers, I was sure. My confidence was founded on the fact that, in my free time, I would draw a lot: short but humorous comics, inspired by Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes and the like; fantasy characters due to a certain popular RPG a lot of grade schoolers back then played; and whatever else in my life that compelled me to put pencil to paper.

Despite my early interest in drawing, it never amounted to anything substantial. Aside from a fairly informal extracurricular art class I took as a kid, I never really developed my drawing beyond a passing hobby. Maybe it was because I wasn't enthusiastic enough in expressing my desire for a more formal education, or maybe my parents just didn't feel I was actually that interested. In any case, I ended up just drawing as a hobby for as long as I can remember.

When I look at my drawings , I can't help but feel that they're pretty bad. When I do something I like or enjoy, I'd prefer to at least be on a level where, while I wouldn't be up to snuff compared to a professional, I'd still have a respectable amount of skill. With drawing, I'd at least like to have solid fundamentals and the skill to draw the things that I like. Despite these relatively straightforward goals, I think I've still got a long way to go before I'm at a level where I'm satisfied.

Getting better at drawing, at least for me, is pretty different from getting better at many other things. It's straightforward in that you need to ensure you're practicing consistently; but at the same time, it's confusing because it's hard to know what you need to do in order to practice effectively. Since coming to Duke, I've been on-and-off in trying to further develop my skills, buying drawing books and watching video tutorials. And while there has certainly been a noticeable improvement from my drawings in Freshman year compared to those I can make now, I still feel like the progress I've made is small and insignificant - that simple things that I 'should' be able to do are still a challenge.

This class has certainly pushed my boundaries and, perhaps more importantly, showed just how weak my fundamental skill really is. It's not a bad thing, though - I can now see more easily in which direction I need to go in order to get better.

I'm definitely going to give lessons a shot. Hopefully next semester I'll feel that I've truly made progress.

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