Saturday, August 20, 2011

So, Drawing is HARD

... in case you were wondering.

But it's not impossible. You don't have to be born with 'talent' to learn it.

Talent is a word that tries to wash away understanding and hard work. When someone (untrained) sees exceptional work, there is a tendency to assume that the artist has some ethereal gift. There is an assumption of effortlessness, because the non-artist sees the work from their own no-effort perspective.

Because of this, though, people have always been enchanted by good art... there's an air of magic and mystery because the artists devices are hidden to the lay person.

We all assume that our perception is rock-solid. Ron Lemen, an exceptional artist and art teacher, suggested in one of his videos that some of his art students--when making mistakes--can't understand that an unpleasing final drawing was their own fault. It was the students' own mistakes that led them to a bad drawing. Ron says he doesn't get that... but I kind of do.

We rely so much on our perception and will often tell someone else that they are wrong about something--even an authority like Ron Lemen--if our perception is challenged. People's perception lets them down when they're first learning draftsmanship, so they assume that an outside force ruined their drawings.

Learning art requires changing perception. There is so much to it that it may seem like an impassible barrier stands between the student and great drawing. But unless the student understands this, s/he may think that art requires talent. Art may, but good drawing requires many simultaneous skills which are acquired through hard work alone.

An understanding about drawing that I gained through hard work (animated)

The pathway to these skills is shortest when someone receives good instruction--instruction that lets the student know a) what there is to learn b) how to learn it. Then, the path is walked by the student alone. The best instruction makes it possible for the student to discover his/her own mistakes along the way... though critique and an outside eye is often needed to tune the student's perception.

The sense of effortlessness in a drawing or painting is achieved by a skilled artist. The lay person assumes that no effort went into the result, and that the work came about through either exceptional talent or tricks. Those who assume trickery (who also want to draw well) are the ones who buy thousands of dollars worth of art books and instruction, hoping that the act of buying stuff alone will supply them with tricks. Again, lazy perspective coming from a lack of understanding.

In the end, it's good that the lazy are barred from producing competent art... because the sane world can't support the visions of the lazy. There's already so much lazy writing out there on the blog-o-sphere (as alluded to in my first post).

Till next time.

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