Monday, June 3, 2019

Time to Learn How To Draw! (Guest Post by Ian Vance, Part 1/4)

Time to Learn how to Draw!
Part 1 of 4
Author: Ian Vance, Intern with Arlington Artists Academy at Gallery Clarendon.

Hello there, fellow potential art enthusiasts! My name is Ian, reporting directly from the Arlington Artists Alliance gallery in Clarendon, Virginia. I am an aspiring music major that is currently working as an intern with Arlington Artists Academy at Gallery Clarendon, about to graduate from Washington-Lee High School and soon to be attending George Mason University in the fall. Despite this, apart from music, I have what I would politely refer to as less-than-desirable artistic skill, least of all drawing. The best that I could do up until joining was just making tiny doodles when I’m bored or to accompany presentations at school. 

However, come my first day here working with Mary Jennings, Director of the Artists Academy at Gallery Clarendon, I am given an offer: to begin learning how to draw and blog about my progress each week. I was a little skeptical at first, given my amazing skill with a pencil, but I was handed a book titled Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. From what I was told, it was a very effective tool in developing drawing skills, so I decided to give it a go. I will be reporting on my progress weekly, in four parts, during my internship. 

The book set forth a number of drawing exercises to work through. In the interest in everyone’s time (and to avoid basically spoiling a drawing guide), I will only be referring to a few of the exercises. The first one that I was given was to attempt to draw a face from memory, be it my own (which I chose), or somebody else’s.

Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me, although this was just a means to have something to compare the final results to. Despite that, I sort of just took a step back and chuckled at the… interesting take on a face that my brain seemed to have. 

The book went on to talk about the differences between the left and right side of the brain, where the left was naturally focused on verbal and numeric functions, or, in other words, the boring stuff, while the right was based on spatial and creative functions. Apparently, it’s possible to shift focus to the right side by simply not paying attention to the functions of the left, with which the reverse is also true. 
To me, though, the most effective way of learning this mentality came in the form of an exercise in which one copies an illustration upside down. 

 I was quite impressed with the results, and from what I read, so were many other students who did this exact exercise. The primary explanation for how someone with even the least amount of drawing skill can perform much better under these circumstances is that one doesn’t know what they’re drawing. They can’t really assign names or labels to what they see, forcing the right side of the brain (the creative one) to take over. 

Already, I can tell that learning to draw within the next few weeks will at least yield noticeable improvement. I look forward to writing about it. With that being said, I will be sure to keep you all posted. 

Thank you, and take care!

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