Monday, December 4, 2017

Thoughts on Drawing

As a wise-fool (sophomore) at Duke without any prior arts classes at this university, I needed to fulfill the ALP requirement. I did not want to choose something that I wasn't interested in, what would be the point? With the thought of being in college and wanting to explore different areas of interest, I thought that it would be a travesty if I did not try something new. I first heard about this class from my friend who took it the year prior. She highly recommended if I was into drawing. I took one year of graphic design my freshman year of high school. I enjoyed the art aspect of it, but I also wished that it was on a different medium than that of a computer. I thought, "Why not? This is an art class that does not require the use of Adobe Illustrator. I dig it." With that thought in mind, I decided to enroll in the class.
I had no knowledge of how to draw anything before this class. I occasionally doodled in my notebook, but ultimately, I am sure the best I could draw was a stick figure with hair or a hat. Straight lines? Forget it, I could not even draw straight lines for geometry homework. Shading? I am sure my finest shading work was for algebra homework when it was required to graph an inequality equation and shade part of it. Organic material? As I previously mentioned, my stick figures were the best I could do.
After the 14(ish) weeks of being in this class, I can say that I definitely learned. I have extended my list of items I am able to draw to include landscapes, negative space (which is very messy btw, do not make the same mistake that I made; do NOT wear white clothes), and pictures of various objects or material. Granted, I am no Picasso or Warhol, but I have improved from where I was previously. At the beginning and during the middle of the semester, I consistently ha a hard time making dark lines. I was afraid that it would look worse, so I left it alone. I can say with some confidence that after I made the transition of using dark lines, my drawings became much better. I liked my drawings more after I made the change, and I learned that I should not be afraid to be more confident with my lines and details. I still have a hard time shading dark objects because I press too hard with the tip of the pencil, so when I try to blend it, it does not blend all the way and looks terrible.
The part I liked about this class was the sketchbook. I enjoyed the freedom to draw what I wanted. Most of the time, I had no idea what to draw, so I started this trend of drawing pictures that can be associated with random phobias. I learned that, similar to "There's an app for that," that if you are scared of something, most likely there's a phobia it can be linked too; so "There's a phobia for that." It kept me motivated to not only learn about weird things people may be afraid of, but also practice drawing various objects. I never found my style of drawing, but I hope that if I continue sketching, I'll eventually find it. It was very nice doing something that wasn't swimming or schoolwork. The part I disliked about this class was how we never varied from the type of drawings we drew for the projects due every week. I wish we learned how to draw other art forms than realism, abstract for example. I wanted to explore the art realm because, most likely, I am not going to take any more art classes in undergraduate college. Overall, I'm glad I found something that I'm passionate about and would consider pursing further after college.

Thoughts on Drawing -- Micheal

I've been making art of various sorts for a long time. And I've been drawing for quite some time, as well. The idea of spending free time drawing is nothing new to me--I took this class knowing that. I know, too, that I really enjoy drawing and should probably continue to pursue this because when I hold a pencil or pen (or some other writing instrument) I feel comfortable. I love doodling; I do it all the time. If I have a something to write with and something to write on, chances are I’ll end up filling the page with scribbles—it’s compulsive, I suppose. It’s natural for me to pick up a pencil and start drawing. I often doodle when I’m nervous. I’ve had teachers tell me that they could hardly read what I've written on tests/essays because I’ve subconsciously scribbled little shapes and doodles during every moment I wasn’t too busy writing.

Although, I do get stressed out drawing, as well—as many people do, I'm aware. I used to take weeks to finish a relatively simple piece, just because I would have a piece of paper in front of me, and some idea that would require careful work and technical skill, and I could not bring myself to put marks on paper. I’d sit in front of that drawing and do nothing. I get indecisive when the choice of what to put on a final work presents itself to me. It’s this kind of stress that used to make me wonder if I should even continue drawing and making art, but it also made me think about my style—and what exactly I feel comfortable making. Because, as I’ve come to realize, works requiring a lot of precise detail are my bane (yet were what I used to work toward). It’s only recently that I’ve figured out I should really stop trying to be precise—as I’ve realized in my doodling, I work best when I let my hand speak for itself and move, not by my brain, but by my intuition.

Of course, part of this is that I lack technical skill—a lot of my stress about drawing comes when I try to draw a thing­—when I move away from intuitive gestures and toward representing some object(especially when I’m trying to depict that object somewhat realistically). At first, in this class, I tried a little bit of that... Before immediately realizing that was absolutely not what I was willing to do. I should—it would increase my skill and my ability. But I won't. I just don’t enjoy it. Having to make drawings in an environment (i.e. this class) with time limits, subject requirements, and an immense amount of other work, I’ve learned exactly what it is I don’t like to spend time doing.

I cannot express in words how much I hate with a searing passion: Bricks. Clouds. Shiny objects. Anything else that is tedious and boring to create. As soon as I leave the realm of the gestural, I hate whatever it is I’m working on. If I could scribble faux-leaves and shade round-ish objects until the end of time, I would be just fine. Clouds piss me off in a special way: I’ve found that I’m not into the fluffy, silky look—isn’t it so weird how we can see a drawing of a cloud and go “that looks fake” even though clouds can take almost any physical/textural form? I hate ‘em.

It’s only in the last year or so that I’ve realized how much I love playing with texture—and not the smooth, silky kind, or the close-up, detailed kind, but the rough, loose kind. Literally—I basically scribble values onto paper, completely ignoring the rule that, when hatching/crosshatching, I should be lifting my pencil between strokes and drawing smooth, parallel lines. Frankly, I don’t have the patience to not scribble. It must be in my DNA or something.

I’ve been told that I draw as if I were painting, which is funny, because I’m kind of awful at painting. I imagine much of that is a lack of practice/confidence, but I also just lack an eye for color. It’s just never something I thought about. I had a teacher for many years who would always tell me, that in every little thing I put on paper, I always need to clearly distinguish darks from lights, even when painting. And this teacher would also always tell me that my obsession over things looking correct didn’t matter—what mattered was that they looked right, that the viewer could know what I was drawing, even though the details might not match exactly match up with reality. Though, sometimes that didn’t even matter, as long as I made something visually interesting. I suppose this is where a decent part of my style comes from—from saying to myself, do I really care if this thing looks exactly as it does in real life/the photo? Chances are, I don't.

It’s quite hard to believe in my gestural style when the last 400 years have been filled with ideas of drawing as a technical, precise sort of practice. I spent years trying to become a more technical artist, often influenced by other artists who always seemed to have such perfect economy in their strokes, and could make the right marks/values on their first try. I think maybe practice will help, but it’s still somewhat frustrating when I try to depict a box and end up redrawing every line ten times because I can’t get the proportions right. And I still don’t have a grasp on how to choose my source images—I accidentally end up with a headache of a drawing, all the time. But I don’t plan on stopping; despite the headaches, it’s fun.

Thoughts on Drawing

Taking this class was actually a really interesting experience for me. I did art for all four years of high school—and by my junior and senior had really developed my own “style.” Since high school, I haven’t done a lot of art—little sketches and projects here and there, sure—but nothing like the constant work I did before. I was a little concerned that I’d have lost a lot of ground from going such a long stretch without really practicing. But I was relieved to find when I started this class that that wasn’t the case.

I’ve never given too much credence to the saying that our art is a reflection of ourselves—but I was definitely surprised by the differences between my art in high school and my art now. When I started drawing again—and especially doing sketchbook pages—I found that some aspects of my style had naturally changed, without me even trying. My artwork in high school was a lot more visually busy—with expressive (or messy) lines and brushstrokes everywhere. Now I’ve noticed my work has become more tidy and geometrically-based. My use of color is similar both then and now though.

Example of my art from high school

A sketchbook page from this semester

I’m not sure why my work’s taken on a more modern aesthetic, but I definitely like it. I like that I’m more comfortable with simplicity and negative space. It’s like I’ve lost the need to “prove myself” or something. I also find that I relate to my current work much more than I do to my earlier work—which suggests that my work in this class is a more accurate reflection of who I am now. It’s interesting to be able to track these changes so clearly.

Thoughts on drawing - Michaela Anderson

Drawing has always been interesting for me because of how dynamic my view of it. I relate to many artists in the sense that one minute I can love my art, and the next I can hate it; but I've always been surprised by how easily my view of it can change. I believe drawing, and in extension, art, will always be an integral part of my identity, and that my perspective of it will always be changing--and that that's a good thing.

While it may be vain or potentially shallow, one of my favorite parts personally of drawing is how it can be such a comforting thing. It allows me to retreat from anxieties and stresses by simply sitting down and drawing what I want. Drawing has always been a consistent, stable thing for me that I can rely on it to always be there. While I can't consistently draw well, I can always draw, and that's something precious to me.

However, something I've always struggled with when it comes to drawing is originality. The unfortunate side effect of drawing being a comforting thing is that I usually resort to drawing that which is comfortable to me. Which means, in turn, a stagnation of originality--being too afraid to try new and potentially 'ugly' or 'uncomfortable' ideas. This is something that's been plaguing me my entire artistic career, but I hope I'll continue my efforts to resist the urge to resort to the comfortable and the well known, and try new things, because that's an important facet of creativity that drawing encourages.

Shifting topics a bit, my favorite thing to see in art is energy. Energy, dynamic poses, and expressiveness all appeal to me.


I've kept a small collection of art that appeals to me in a personal blog, and I've always been looking for how to capture the energy I find so appealing.


I'm still searching for just what I find appealing in art in hopes of better understanding my own tastes and therefore artistic goals.


Even past art, I find inspiration in photography, environments. Since those aren't "drawings," I won't include them, but I won't discredit the inspiration I draw from them.


Another huge inspiration for me is music. I'll play a song on loop just for the artistic inspiration it gives me--before long, I'll end up having played it over 20 times.


While it can be difficult for me not to get envious over other artist's talents, I very much value collecting and appreciating art that stands out to me to dissect what it is I like about it.


These have been just a few select examples from art that's stood out to me--While it's widely varied, I hope that I can find the common thread between my interests.

In conclusion, art and drawing are both very important to me, and I will hold them dear most likely for the rest of my life. I hope that I can continue to improve my technical skills, but most importantly, improve my creative skills and gain the confidence to do original work that matters to me, and hopefully others as well.

To Be Continued...

I've always enjoyed art; the process behind the finalized piece.  Before this class, I had never taken on Drawing as a skill. I was familiar with photography mostly, filming in some ways and even a little with painting. Still, there is something in drawing that had my attention. It is definitely time consuming but the good kind; the kind that keeps you intrigued until you are able to physically represent your mental image. Drawing allows me to say more than any other art skill; what you see, is what I see.

For that to happen, I had to become good at it, to learn the basic skills. I was used to doodling in notebooks, with no acquired or learned knowledge, as a lot of people do. But, I needed the knowledge, just like that I wasn't going to communicate what I wanted to.  I finally got a drawing book, it taught me a lot on faces, I was fascinated by the human face and the eyes mostly. I did some portraits, they looked better than they would have if I didn't have that knowledge; I knew I needed to learn more. That's how I got into Drawing 101. It felt like a challenge, so I took it.

I learned more than the skills that were taught in class. I learned to see... to see objects in raw materials and then see how every single details plays a role in the general image. Now, I see objects and immediately mentally place them in a paper, as if I were drawing with my mind. More than that I started to shape my style and playing with meaning and storyline. I want my work to go beyond the paper, to poke onto something in the viewer and create a link. I loved making the observer take action in my drawings, in each one of the last three we did, it involved a hand or some connection to it. On my last drawing I decided to play a little bit more with the observer, not to create an alternate world (fiction) but to involve the reality of what happens in the mind, with it I targeted emotions. I realized that this type of game and style is what I enjoyed doing. Therefore, even though every work took a really long time to accomplish, I was completely engaged to my ideas.
Drawing Duke was challenging, the buildings have a lot of small details but it also makes you appreciate the architecture more. It also limited, in some way, the freedom in the drawings, that made it harder to come up with an idea that you were passionate about. In my case, it took me a lot longer to find that idea, still I eventually found one for each project.

I ended up loving drawing. I still have a lot of room for improvement; for mastering the eye. But, I am improving; the more I practice the more natural it will come to me.

Look at this drawing artist: Monica Lee. She see's reality to its smallest detail and then puts it on paper, she does a remarkable job on portraying reality.

Thoughts on Drawing

From taking this class, I learned a lot about myself as an artist. I learned that I sometimes lack the patience it takes to complete a drawing that I might not be entirely inspired by. I also learned that I prefer using color instead of pencil or charcoal. Sketching in my notebook allowed me to discover this. I gained the most from my sketchbook because I had the most freedom. With my sketchbook I could explore what drawing means to me, and what I am most interested in. Since before this class I had done mostly painting, drawing in pencil for me became tedious, but I think it was important for me to experience using only pencil and charcoal because it pushed me to use more detail. I developed as an artist because I was forced to stick with a project, even if I became frustrated. After taking Drawing 199 I realised why this is a prerequisite for other courses. Once you learn how to observe space, it becomes much easier to begin a project, whether it is a drawing, painting, or sculpture.

I do not think I will spend as much time drawing in the future, but I hope to take everything I have learned and apply it to other art classes I will take at Duke. I think I prefer other modes of art, but they all connect to each other, so I do not feel that this class was a waste. I am glad I took it because it pushed my patience and attentiveness to detail. I hope I have the motivation to continue sketching in the future, because it was a way for me to unwind after completing my other schoolwork.

Thoughts on Drawing

Where I went to school, there was an art requirement that lasted until the second year of high school. As a lanky tom-boy who was absolutely horrible at sports, a large part of our school community, I found art class to be a safe haven.  It was something that no matter how little ability I had in the beginning, I could work and work on to see some physical proof of how I was improving.  By high school I had determined I wouldn't make it through the stressful school days without some time to create art, stretch my mind, and take a minute for something I enjoyed.  That's when art began to feel like a safe escape for me, which has kept me sketching throughout duke even if its in the minutes I have before bed after a long night of studying.

My true appreciation of art came in the form of my parents best friends.  I always grew up wanting to be a doctor, and now here I am premed at Duke.  My parents best friends both run their surgical departments at UPenn, but also ensure to spend their free time on the art, one spending her time learning orchestral instruments one by one, and the other using his surgical equipment to hone his skills and create beautiful masterpieces.

I was 7 when I went into the studio the first time and Mr. Maguire put his large ophthalmology headset over my head and told me to look through the massively zoomed in lenses.  There was a beautiful and intricately detailed landscape painted on the back of a dime.  He showed me as he made brush strokes with a single strand of hair.  He also makes massive, multiple foot oiling paintings of cows.  And I, as someone who has always been more into math and science, had massive interest in the way he treated each piece as a new type of problem.  Many times he calculated out proportions perfect for the piece, and would segment it into tiny squares.  I would watch mesmerized as he painted each strand of grass, making it twist along in the wind as he dragged his brush across the canvas. It is the Small Bull painting below that I got to the process of its creation.

Here are some pieces from the first gallery opening he ever had.  No date is listed but I remember it being about 10 years ago.  Both are oil on canvas.
Large Inquisitive Cows

Small Bull

It was their influence that led me to write my Duke essay about how I wanted to combine a premed science with a concentration in fine arts.  I have always found art to be a really interesting way to learn how to problem solve, and to have patience and budget my days to make time for things that helped me feel better.  I see a parallel between the surgeon I want to be one day, and the artist I can be in my spare time.  I believe art is something that would greatly enhance such a career, as it challenges the mind to reinterpret things, and problem solve in a new way.  Also as the Maguire's would point out, "A great way to train your fine motor skills so you can adeptly operate on nerves of the eyeball!"

Thoughts on Drawing

      I enjoyed drawing this semester because each assignment / concept was built off the one before. We were also able to use our own thoughts and pick locations we wanted to incorporate. This class gave me a lot of freedom to draw with my own personal expression. Although I came into the course with little experience (besides my own drawings in my free time), it taught me a lot of techniques that I can use in the future. Even though I won't be minoring or majoring in an art based field, I'm glad I was able to take a class based off of my interests.

      The drawings that I enjoyed the most were the empirical space drawing and the fantasy drawing. Both of these I felt that I made a lot of adjustments between my study and final drawings and thoroughly enjoyed the most. I was able to incorporate things that were important to me in both drawings. The K Center is where I spend the majority of my nights doing homework after practice, and the Harry Potter series are my all time favorite books & movies that I grew up with.

      Our first blog post also opened my eyes a little to the world of other artists that I had not had a lot of knowledge in before. My artist (Andy Warhol) is now something that I try to incorporate when I can. Now that I am familiar with his work, I can share it with others and point out those specific to his style.

      This semester was very enjoyable in that I was able to learn a lot more than I had expected, and I was able to have a lot of freedom in my artwork. I have already recommended this class to a few of my teammates and shown them the assignments, and they were excited to sign up for next semester. I can't wait to bring all of my artwork home and share with family!

Thank you for making this class very fun & enjoyable!!

Thoughts on Drawing

Thoughts on Drawing

Looking back at my very first study drawing, this class has left me astounded by my evolution as an artist. In a short period of fourteen weeks, from being afraid to shade in objects, I feel confident building textures and landscapes. The importance of having the skill of drawing in one's arsenal is one that simply cannot be overlooked, and one I will be thankful for developing no matter what field I end up pursuing. 

I personally enjoy drawing for the same reason I computer science. While this relationship may seem odd, there is a lot more similarity between the fields than one would think. Both give me the freedom to express the things I am most passionate about. Whether it be experimenting with things I see around me and capture in my sketchbook to expressing the inspirations around me in lines of code. 

Personally, I love more technical -be it design or architecture related- drawings. Drawings with great attention to dimensions and design are fascinating, and one of the primary goals I had going into this class was building this skill. Works like the ones below by Christo are some of my favorites because of this very attention to details and architecture. 


This class definitely expanded my appreciation for more free expression art. Having come into this class afraid of drawing bold lines and making mistakes, I think the key skill professor Fick helped me build was my confidence in truly expressing the textures and designs I envision and overall the confidence in my strokes. This lead me to discover artists like Phillipe Vandenberg, whose drawings follow no constraints, and beauty lies in pure creative expression by the artist. How an artist can create something so beautiful and meaningful with bold doodles astonishes me, and below is one of my favorite drawings. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Thoughts on Drawing

I believe drawing is the single more important skill for any visual artist to acquire, whether they are a painter, illustrator, graphic designer, or fashion designer. It is simply the act of "seeing" made visual. When one learns how to draw, what there are really learning is the ability to see more clearly and communicate what they see or can imagine. Essentially, drawing is a tool for study before it is a tool for making art.

I honestly believe that everyone can draw - some people might just be better than others. I am happy that I took this class because not only did I get to practice my drawing skills and enhance my abilities, but I was able to learn from my peers. Drawing in class forced me to draw things out of my element and in ways I had never tried before. I've practiced drawing from observation and I usually draw from photos; however, I had never drawn an empirical view or played with positive/negative space.  I had always believed that drawing was relaxing, but when taken out of the classroom setting - to draw things on bigger paper than I was used to - it became something that frustrated me.

In the end, this class taught me that drawing/doodling is a necessary skill to have. Drawing is a tool that is stress-free and constantly changing. It is a skill that will help you, not hurt you. I will continue to use the tools and techniques I've learned in class for my other work in or out of a classroom.

Drawing isn't for Everyone

I wish I could say that at the end of these 14 (?) weeks that I find my soul set on fire by drawing. But alas, I cannot. I won’t say that I regret taking Drawing 101—it isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever done—but I can’t say that I feel particularly enlightened by the knowledge and skills that it brought me.

I think I came into this course pretty na├»ve. I knew that I was, at best, a mediocre artist. I also knew that I had very little interest in changing that. There are some things in life that you just have to accept—and I accepted a long time ago that I would always be fairly mediocre at drawing. Am I better than the average person at drawing? Sure. Am I better than a single person in my drawing class? Not by a long shot! I can appreciate the skills that the people in my drawing class possess and I can appreciate their love of their craft but I, however, will probably never share that love and passion.

Throughout this semester, I’ve learned a lot about drawing skills that I didn’t know before. And I think I’ve grown in skills that I didn’t previously possess. The biggest change I’ve seen, however, is in my attention to the architecture on Duke’s campus. I can’t even walk to class without noticing the patterns of bricks on the many buildings around Duke’s campus or the shape of the leaves on the varying types of trees. While I never again in my life wish to draw a single brick or struggle to draw another tree, I think my life is much more enhanced now that I can notice and appreciate the details in the things around me.

I think the reason that I don’t enjoy drawing is because it is a skill—a talent. You know what I’m good at? Math. I’m as good at math as most of my classmates are at drawing—better, even. But drawing isn’t systematic. It’s fluid. There is no set way to draw—no exact way to move or place your hand. No clear-cut answer or formula to get there. Some people find beauty in that—I find frustration. In high school I played varsity basketball and I also played violin in the symphony orchestra. I was better than average at both. These are both skills that are less systematic than math, but still ones that follow rules—they’re more fluid but can still be taught precisely. There’s a beauty in systems and conventions. A beauty that I, for one, appreciate.

Who knows, though? Maybe if I had picked up drawing at the same age that I picked up basketball (age 10) or even the violin (age 11) then my story would be different. Honestly, second grade me would be so proud that I took a drawing class—all I wanted to be was an author/illustrator back then—but sophomore in college me is pretty glad this over.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Thoughts on Drawing

In high school, I took every art class my school offered. I have always loved to draw, as I found it enjoyable and relaxing and a way to express my interests. However, as time went on, I found myself enjoying art less and less as I found myself constrained by assignment specifics and obligations. While drawing used to be a hobby that I would use to relax, it has became somewhat stressful. In this class, I enjoyed the in-class assignments because they were challenging and we were made to practice different techniques. However, I often felt stressed and didn't enjoy the assignments out of class because I never had the time to put as much effort into them as I wanted to.
As for the subjects of our drawing assignments, I did like drawing some parts of Duke because they were beautiful and challenging. However, I felt like I couldn't be very creative and was forced to only draw certain things, which took the fun out of it. While the assignments were challenging and made me think, I didn't find them very enjoyable and viewed them more as an annoying obligation than relaxing. For me, whenever a drawing is for an assignment rather than for fun, I get almost no enjoyment out of making it, no matter what the subject. In addition to this, I find myself having less and less time to draw for fun as I get older, and it's a hobby that I wish I could go back to but can never seem to find the time.
I'm glad I took this class, because I did learn new techniques and how to apply them to different types of drawings. I hope to be able to draw more in the future, and will definitely keep in mind the skills I learned here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Drawing at Duke

I love art, but I have found that I dislike drawing. I have always had the best of relationships with painting, and considered myself most creative, expressive, and liberated when working with paints and a canvas. I took Drawing 199 because I thought having a drawing background would give my paintings more strength and character. I think the main reason that I have a distaste for drawing is that I find it infinitely more difficult to express myself. For me, art has always been about originality and freedom of expression; I have found I simply cannot do that with pencil or charcoal. I think this disparity between drawing and painting arises from lack of patience and movement of the medium. With acrylic paints, the medium dries very quickly and forces the painter to blend and adapt to the paint as it dries. I love working with paints because it is fluid and organic, the paint brush becomes almost an extension of my arm and I find myself lost in the blending of colors and shapes. Drawing is so much more precise and meticulous in comparison to acrylic paints.

I have found Drawing 199 difficult for me because, as my first Visual Arts class at Duke, it is much more restrictive than any other art class I have taken before. In high school, I had the same art teacher for all 4 years. He taught me from studio art to painting to AP Drawing, and he had a profound impact on my work. He preached that art takes time, art has no deadlines, and art should be a reflection of what and who you love. I know this same lax environment cannot be replicated at Duke, and of course I understand that there must be deadlines in this course for students to receive a grade that reflects their work and effort; however, this was my first class where art had strict deadlines, and the deadlines came before creative expression. I was also surprised by the number of still-lifes and little room we had for artistic independence in the beginning of the semester.

Overall, I have found my experience with drawing at Duke helpful. Although I cannot indulge and lose myself in my work the way I can with paints, I have come to appreciate the patience and precision that drawing demands. I think that this course will help me in my future endeavors with art at Duke and in the distant future because I have gained valuable skills about persistence, endurance, attention to detail, and patience. I think the beautiful thing about any art class- whether you enjoy it or not- is that you will always walk away from the class with invaluable new skills and abilities that will help you in not only your art, but also in your academic and social life.

A Relaxing Chore

I have a very clear love-hate relationship with drawing. On one hand, drawing relaxes me and does not feel like work. I can draw for hours at a time while sitting in front of the tv or listening to a good podcast or some music. I have done this already for this class many times, mainly on Saturdays or Sundays when I am playing catch up on that week's assignment. On the other hand, drawing can be very stressful when burdened by deadlines and grades, something inevitable in college. When pressured to produce quality drawings week after week, drawing becomes stressful and unenjoyable in a sense. However, it would be unfair to blame this on being enrolled in a drawing class, because the truth is I probably would not be drawing as much if it was not for the class. College just is not an ideal time for me to draw. With so many things available here at Duke and so much work and activities to keep up with, taking the time to draw seems to be too costly.

After placing drawing in such a bad light, I should clarify: drawing is still enjoyable, just not always practical. The engineer in me wants to be the most productive and efficient person possible, and that inevitably involves prioritizing tasks and leisure time. Unfortunately, in a college setting, that optimization pushes drawing out of the picture.

At the end of the day, however, I will continue to draw. I used to draw when I was younger and freer from responsibilities and I know I will keep drawing when I am older, but for now, in this very fast paced and stressful part of my life, I must take a short break.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Emma Gabay - Walt Disney

While Walt Disney made his way to New York City, his backer, Charlie Mintz, was going behind his back. Mintz saw little value in the Disney Brothers because Walt could hardly draw. Mintz set out to create his own studio, convincing the entire Disney crew of animators to join him. Stunned by the betrayal of Mintz and his employees, Walt vowed never again to work for anyone but himself in August 1927. This was a defining moment not only in the history of Walt Disney Studios, but in the history of American entertainment.

Riding back to California, Walt sketched almost every type of character that was already used by other cartoon makers. His mind alternated between his friend backstabbing him, terrified by the need to start all over, and drawing an entirely new character. Inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic, Walt drew a story about a mouse that builds a plane to gain the attention of a girl. His name was to become Mickey Mouse.

Some would say that Mickey Mouse was much like Walt himself – he often failed, but always bounced back. When faced with a setback, he would get up, dust himself off, and start all over again. Turning Mickey Mouse into a success was to become a test of perseverance and faith. Trusting in his own creative judgment, Walt had his team work on a third Mickey Mouse cartoon called “Steamboat Willie,” which was influenced by Charlie Chaplin. He needed a way for his cartoons to stand out among all other cartoons. Walt wanted more than just sound and music to the cartoon. He insisted on music match-up. His creation made history.

I grew up around everything Disney. Walt Disney may not have been able to draw much, but he is an “artist” to me. His ideas and sketches are what brought Disney characters to life. Walt Disney created much of the early animation himself and realized he needed Ub Iwerk to help him clean up his final designs. In the end, Walt Disney was able to make Mickey Mouse entertaining as well as educational. 

Walt Disney’s entire industry all started with a dream to carry the wonder of childhood to people of all ages. Walt’s dream fueled a great comeback:

“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that is was all started by a mouse.”

Barrier, Michael. The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney. University of California Press, Ltd.,
Landry, Robert J., et al. A Mickey Mouse. Edited by Garry Apgar, University Press of Mississippi,
Susanin, Timothy S. Walt before Mickey: Disney’s early years, 1919-1928. University Press of
Mississippi, 2011.

“That It Was All Started By a Mouse.” Youtube. Uploaded by, Julianna Bove, February 22, 2016,

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Philippe Vandenberg, by Jahaan Mukhi

Philippe Vandenberg, by Jahaan Mukhi

“During my youth, I was forced into a system I didn’t believe in,” Philippe Vandenberg

    The above quote by Phillippe Vanderberg came from an interview with fellow artist Ronny Delrue, regarding his upbringing in Belgium.  It stands to illustrate the philosophy behind much of his work and was part of his unyielding spirit that made him a cult favorite among so many. "At the heart of the Philippe Vandenberg's work is a primal poetry, one that emerges both from the images he brought to life and from his formal invention".

    I chose this artist, not only because his art really spoke to me, both stylistically and metaphorically, but because I relate to his ideologies and upbringing. In India, I was raised in a society and school bound heavily in rules, and love the idea of setting free on a canvas, unconstrained by style or theme. Each of his works is unique in that he almost goes out of his way to make sure he isn't conforming to any particular style or practice, and the results are truly spectacular. 


Philippe Vandenberg, De ogen (The Eyes), 1994

"A key aspect of Vanderberg's paintings is his treatment of surface--his emphasis on accretions, accidents, and reworkings--is of equal importance". This is especially seen in the below painting. His work seems to be covered with grubby, muddy strokes, representing the organic process of painting and repainting. This leaves the surface of his paintings almost as rough, primitive and violent as the imagery they represent.

Philippe Vandenberg, La Notte (The Night), 1990.

In this next work, we see the artists signature style of starting with an abstract composition. After which he layers onto it cartoon figures, depicting everything from bizarre acts, like what appears to be a man drilling into another's head or a couple in bed. A key aspect to draw from this shows how unconstrained by themes or styles this artist is, as he seems to go wherever his mind takes him. He could go from depicting cheerful picnics to a lunatic asylum. 

Philippe Vandenberg, detail of No title (From the book Il pleut des bites [It’s Raining Penises]), 2000

Once again we see how this sketch not only refuses to conform to a particular style but also just shows the artists sheer lack of care, regarding the rules or thoughts of others on his work. And although this drawing is different to his previous abstractions It is similar in its attitude and serves to demonstrate that the artist goes wherever his wits taken, unstoppable by anything.

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