Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Thoughts on Drawing

Should anyone tell you that drawing is easy, do me a favor and slap them in the face.

(I'm joking, of course, and not responsible for any damages suffered as a result of taking the joke too seriously.)

Drawing, like any other creative or non-creative activity, is one that requires a lion's share of time and effort to be any good at it. Want to draw like da Vinci? Yeah? Want to spend hours studying anatomy and lighting; or toiling over the bodies of animals, plants, and people, dissecting them to reveal their inner workings?

No? Oh well....

And yet, the power of drawing is such that after hours of sitting in place, drawing with unsteady hands the environment's myriad features and the figures that, unlike you, refuse to remain still or well-lit, you come away from the experience in good spirits and having learned a great deal - even if that form of drawing isn't quite what you expected.

When I signed up for ARTSVIS199, I hoped to do some cartooning or abstraction. Or at least get practice with foundations (perspective, value, etc.) to inform my comics. See, it's easy to hide one's tendentious grasp of visual art fundamentals behind the limitless possibilities of the comics medium. From its course description, ARTSVIS199 seemed the perfect agent to change that.

So as you can imagine, when I discovered ARTSVIS199 was a life drawing class, I was more than a little disappointed.

At first I toyed with the idea of dropping the class. Spending an entire semester drawing still lifes was not high on that ever-growing list of things to do. In the end, I decided to stay, and was well-rewarded for my efforts, I'd say.

Yeah, the paper was bigger than I'm used to. Yeah, lugging that Bristol board around was a pain in the behind. And yeah, I'm still terrified of charcoal. But 199 taught me that observational drawing is equally useful as, if not more than, drawing from a book; that when in need of inspiration, all you need to do is step outside. You don't need a ruler or an instructor or a textbook (though each is helpful), because the toolkit is in your head. It's empirical.

And although my comics and drawing aren't quite where I want them to be, I'm very glad I took this class.

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