Seeing to Draw

"What I put down in a moment of ardor, I must then critically examine. "

-peter ilyich tchaikovsky

OPPOSITE: The greatest enjoyment lies in the artistic journey rather than the final destination.

A s enthusiastic as they are to begin drawing, beginners /% are often hesitant to put that first mark on paper. A -A. JL student of mine described her feeling to me quite vividly: "My nerves were raw as I sat with virgin white paper and clutched pencil that first lesson. I felt that if I could avoid bringing the two in contact with each other, I could escape failure."

Nerves are a natural part of starting something new and exciting, and that's not all bad. Anxiety provides us with psychic rocket fuel, the adrenaline that pushes us to leap into new territory with quickened responses and heightened alertness. If you're feeling a bit jittery right now, take some scrap paper and simply scribble, mark, doodle, procrastinate, and "mess up the paper" until you have burned off some of that nervous energy.

Avoid doing a verbal play-by-play whilejou draw.

Instead, try to emptyjour mind of words.

You'll find it easier to draw ifyou allow time for nonverbal, visual processing.

When you're fixated on the result and wondering if you have enough "talent" to draw, you can't pay attention to acquiring drawing skills; the talent search diverts you from the pleasure of drawing. The greatest enjoyment lies in the artistic journey rather than in the final destination.

In order to benefit emotionally as well as technically—and they work together—place your focus on each of the exercises as you get to them. Follow the mountain-climber's caveat: Don't look back or too far ahead; look for the useful footholds. Every mark you put on paper serves your purpose, either by showing you what you did right or what needs to be strengthened.

supplies for this chapter

2B pencil black drawing pen 24-gauge wire 14"-x-17" drawing pad scrap paper

"When we drew the wire, I felt good. I felt like the wire had character and I had captured that in my drawing. I was surprised by that and thought, Maybe this will rkfc worK tor me

I"

-student rita walker copping

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