I am the Professor now...

As of yesterday, I have accepted a position at the College of Southern Maryland as an adjunct faculty member in their Department of Fine Arts and Humanities. My first class will be a drawing class. I have been thinking a lot over the last 24 hours about this opportunity- beyond the syllabus, etc…. What is drawing and how do you teach it?

My belief is that drawing, as in most things, must start with the fundamentals, the bare bones basics. So what is drawing? At its essence, I think drawing is the ability to observe and then represent those observations.

In my opinion, learning how to draw is mostly learning how to observe. You need a firm understanding of how light and shadow play upon the surfaces of objects; you need to be able to abstract what you see in such a way that you can imagine complex objects as constructs of simpler forms; you need to have the ability to see the movement of things as gestures. I would estimate that 75% of drawing is training yourself to see things differently. The remaining 25% is the technical aspect of drawing. The capture….

The technical aspect of drawing is in reality training your brain and hand to capture what you have observed. Acquiring the technical expertise is a process, a matter of doing and checking what you have done with your observation and then redoing until you have captured the observation to your satisfaction. This is what most people think of as drawing. As you gain confidence and your muscles and brain become attuned to the process you are able to do more and express more.

Drawing, to me at least, is very similar to learning to speak a language, you learn best by immersion. To speak a language you must speak the language. It is only by trying and making mistakes that you learn new words, you correct your pronunciation, and you extend your vocabulary. In my opinion the most important physical tool for drawing is the eraser and the most important non-observational skill is the ability to use your eraser wisely and mercilessly. Approach every drawing knowing it will not be perfect. Every drawing is in essence a map of the process by which the drawer has tried to capture their observation.

Eric in a Word: haptic

Book of the Day: World War One British Poets

Song of the Day: Save Tonight- Eagle-Eye Cherry

Sketch Medium: graphite,sumi-e ink, and coffee on watercolor paper

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