Monday, February 2, 2009

Drawing as Thinking

Ask most anyone (who is not an artist) to draw you a map to their favorite store. Give them a pen and paper and you'll get a map with all sorts of streets and landmarks. Ask them to doodle while talking or listening and you'll be amazed at what you'll see.

Give that same person a pencil, tell them you're an artist, then ask if they can draw. They'll usually say no. (That's been my experience.) It's time to get over the mind-set.

The truth is that anyone who can write, can draw. The eye-hand coordination necessary to shape letters and the understanding of symbols (the letters and their combination) is a form of drawing (ask any calligrapher). Making that drawing beautiful or up to whatever standard you have for yourself is a different subject. Even if you're drawing "ugly" drawings, you're still drawing.

And -- even if the drawing is a very realistic looking rendering, it is still a map of the artist's thoughts. That is what I love so much about looking at drawings -- they are very clear representations of the artist's thought process as they looked either with their eyes, or in their mind's eye.

So own up to the drawing you do, no matter what it looks like. Do more drawings, and when you look at them rather than assessing whether they are "good" or "bad", notice how your mind traveled and what you placed your attention upon (the reason one part of a figurative (realistic) drawing may be out of proportion compared to another part of the same drawing).

Note: Both of my drawings shown here are very different because they are conveying different things. I made the drawing of the Caring Hands to illustrate a poster for the play "Of Mice and Men". The goal for the piece was to look realistic, rustic and a little foreboding. The drawing of the Marching Man was created to illustrate a design concept related to shapes. Both of my original pencil drawings exhibit different intellectual and emotional goals.

The Marching Man drawing is available for sale through High Desert Gallery. High Desert Gallery has locations in Sisters, Oregon and Redmond, Oregon.

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