On recommendations from a couple of people, I dug out our copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence (Amazon affiliate link) today. (Turns out there’s a new edition. Must not buy.)
It seems that in my experimentation I’ve worked out the five basic principles of drawing, and they’re all to do with perception, rather than actual drawing. I’m kind of tempted to just go on experimenting and copying to work the techniques out myself given I’ve got this far, but at the same time, there’s a pull to take the short cut of reading the book. Decisions, decisions.
Anyway, one of the earliest suggestions is to do three drawings and date them, so that you can see how far you’ve come when you’ve read the book, followed the lessons and so on. The subjects are yourself, drawing from a reflection (selfie time!), a drawing from memory, and your hand. So I sat down and did these.
I had to have a little pause in between. I did that first sketch, popped it online, and then sat back and looked at it. And I was overcome by a wave of emotion – anger, grief, regret. All those years of thinking I couldn’t draw, when really what I was doing was looking at things wrong. And the book linked above talks about taking anyone who can hold a pencil from complete amateur to reasonable proficiency in 5 8 hour days.
If that’s really the case, why do so many of us get told we can’t draw? That we’re not creative? That you have to have special talent?
I’m sure that talent makes a difference. I’m sure that imagination, how you look at things, what you choose to look at, what you see, makes a difference to what you produce. And different people have different ideas, no two people are going to produce exactly the same picture even looking at the same thing. But art, creativity, it’s so very important to our sense of well being, and happiness. Drawing is making me happy. I’m glad that I’ve managed to find it under all those layers of “I can’t” that started back in the art room at school.