Saturday, April 21, 2018

Thoughts on Drawing - Eric Xu

I've always enjoyed being artistic, whether it was making sculptures with clay, making prints, or taking photographs. Though I've been heavily invested in the performing arts playing music, I haven't had any formal training in the visual arts for many, many years. I figured in my last semester here I'd try drawing. 

I don't think drawing was ever my favorite type of visual art, but I did always like to doodle and sketch random inventions in the margins of things I had to work on or read when I was younger. My sketchbook in this class ended up being representative of such things, and I'm glad I was able make more creative sketches. On the other hand, I had little experience making large scale scene drawings like we did in class. The assignments made me think about using drawing to tell a story, something I previously only thought about when taking photographs. I did come to find out that these large drawings can take up days of time to create. It was important to resist trying to draw every detail that I saw for the sake of not spending hours on one thing. Large drawings also change the movements of the arm and wrist required, requiring more control to avoid upsetting proportions. 

While narrative drawings were fun, I often found it difficult to imagine narratives to draw. I think my imagination works better for drawing objects with high detail but in isolation. I liked playing with animate and inanimate objects in my sketches, often morphing living things with machines that served fantastical purposes. Then I would draw in how I thought those things ought to work, omitting any sense of responsibility for proper engineering or practicality (that'd be a real engineer's job).  

Overall, this class was a nice departure from the usual types of classes I've taken. I've gotten better at drawing from observation just through practice and learning to recognize what I see and what the brain thinks I see. I think we could practice using shading and texture more before we are launched straight into drawing full narrative scenes. Most of what I learning in those areas just came from trial and error, but sometimes I just did not know how to make a texture look how I imagined. Maybe it is difficult to formally teach these techniques and the best way to learn is through trying it for ourselves. I'm sure I'll find more opportunities to practice and learn new methods of visual arts in the future.

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