Monday, December 4, 2017

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.

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