Sunday, April 15, 2018

Thoughts on Drawing - Lexi Bateman

As an animator and graphic designer, most of my work happens digitally. That being said, there are more than a few occasions when I've needed to hand-illustrate components of a design project or characters and scenes in an animation. I decided to take Drawing 199 — alongside Figure Drawing — because I wanted to bolster my drawing skills so that I could improve my animations. While I've always been a drawer, I've never approached drawing as a serious endeavor and never devoted a great deal of time to it. Drawing 199 demanded time, and it challenged me both as an artist and as a student.

Admittedly, my drawing preferences are not for doing observational or realist illustrations. I enjoy making abstract portrait drawings and recreating other artists' works. Because I had no previous experience doing observational drawings, I found the class initially very frustrating. I was drawing the lines I saw, but not producing a drawing that looked like the scene itself. As each week went on and we learned more techniques like line quality and shading, my drawings began to look more and more realistic. I also discovered — fairly late in the semester — that the difference between an abstracted observational drawing and a realistic observational drawing is most likely time. At the beginning of the semester, I was spending between 3 and 4 hours on my drawings, which is not nearly enough! My last two drawings, the most realistic-looking pieces I've drawn, took upwards of ten hours a piece. I really believe that it was the time, care, and effort I put into those pieces that set them apart. Sometimes, devoting that much time to a piece was difficult because I wasn't inspired by the prompt. I think this class would be more interesting if our drawing prompts weren't confined to Duke's campus.

I liked the sketchbook component of the class because it allowed me to continue to work on and explore other types of drawing. While many of my entries are observational, realistic, or based on other artists' work, some are also entirely conceptual without reference to any image. I liked having the opportunity to draw from my imagination using the same skills we were working on for our observational drawings. I did find it difficult to find inspiration for four weekly sketchbook pages, but luckily the internet is full of sketchbook prompts and fun, creative images. 

I'm glad that I took Drawing 199 because it helped me set aside creative time for myself and helped me really start to understand the technical side of drawing. I feel that I've gained hard skills in this class that I can apply to my work both in graphic design and animation. Drawing is time-consuming, tedious, and a little frustrating, but it's a great skill to have and this class really reignited my interest in it. I'm excited to continue keeping a sketchbook for myself and working on my art. 

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