Wednesday, December 7, 2016

To Draw is to be Human

Lizzet Clifton
Thoughts on Drawing

Drawing is, to me, the most primitive form of art there is. However, I don’t mean primitive as in “unsophisticated” or “rudimentary”. I mean primitive as in “natural” and something that is inherent in human nature. Nowadays, there is the widely-held notion that drawing well is something that is learned. While it may be true that the eye can be trained to notice the way light hits a particular object or the way that different hues can create shape, humankind has never been forbidden from drawing because of a lack of experience. If I define drawing as the creation of an image, that means that a drawing can be made in any place, with any object. A drawing can graphite on paper, charcoal on wood, ink on skin, or a finger through sand. It can happen spontaneously or after thorough contemplation. The act of drawing is for everyone, and no one should leave this part of themselves undiscovered. “What can one learn about himself through drawing?”, you might ask. I believe it’s a lot. Imagine you were asked to measure someone’s character. What would be the simplest way to see a person’s innermost and essential self? Ask them to draw you a picture of a dog:

Draw me a picture of a dog.
What do you put in the background? Do you draw a house, you realist? Do you add toys and a lake to make a canine paradise, you visionary? Do you leave it blank, focusing solely on the task presented to you? Do you plan it out first, before making the first marks on the clean white paper and risking everything with spontaneous streaks? Do you add color or see things in more than one dimension? What is your dog doing? Is he sitting, content where he is? Or is he running, heading towards something?
This drawing will determine your character. A dog is something we see daily, something we all know; however, it is the difference in the way we interpret something so simple that makes us diverse. Our characters are projected through this act. With this drawing, we each reveal how we perceive reality and how our dispositions alter this image.

Anybody and everybody can draw. One does not need to be taught how to create. In fact, those who are experienced in drawing often seek the freedom that comes with being untrained. Picasso himself once said “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”. Here, he is pointing out what is most beautiful about drawing: the most important thing is imagination and risk-taking. Children rarely have any inhibitions about their thoughts. They grasp at everything and make it unique. The more experience that an artist has, the better he or she will be at depicting reality. However, the more that a person draws, the more likely he or she is to form tendencies. These behaviors that occur when someone draws can be anything from the style they use to making certain objects the same way every time.

I find that at times when I draw, I am scared of making mistakes. This is what keeps my hand constrained and my lines from being fluid. When I rid myself of this intimidation and desire to draw well, I let my ideas guide my hand and things become organic. I can connect with myself. I think this is the most important part of drawing. Letting yourself be free enough in your actions to create truth. Moreover, how can one create truth when he or she is unwilling to show the bad parts of truth. In order to grow as an artist, one must let his or herself see their weaknesses and then build on them.

I think that this drawing of mine represents the dynamic and experimental quality that my best sketches have.

I like drawing in this imperfect style, however, I think that it is a safety blanket for myself. I think that if I want to improve as an artist, I need to focus more on depicting things in a more realistic way. Once I master those, I think I will be able to make abstract drawings that are better. This is one reason why I really enjoyed this class. I would usually not make myself draw things from still life, observation, or photographies. This class made me step outside of my comfort zone and it made me confident that my abilities could grow in that direction too.

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