Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Over the course of this semester I have truly learned how much work art is. I took this class because I love doodling and working with paper. Although doodling does not take much structure - it can really take any form you want. I feel like this was my biggest challenge this semester, learning the different drawing techniques. By doing the assignments every week, I gained a skill which contribute to my ability as an artist.  Whether we used charcoal, pencil, or the smudge stick, all are necessary to producing our works for class. I had never worked with any other material other than pen - so this class was an experiment. It’s been such a wonderful experience learning the different techniques that go behind drawing. 

Thoughts on Drawing Sam Woog

Drawing to me is a lot of things: challenging, painstaking, enjoyable, rewarding, frustrating, invigorating, time-consuming, physically taxing, and more. I used to draw more as a child and teen, as my grandmother is a local artist and we would draw and watercolor paint together all the time when I was younger. It was a hobby that I couldn’t sustain throughout high school or the beginning of college, so when I had the chance to take this course, I was really excited to rekindle the love I had had for drawing many years ago.

What I initially found during this process was that I really just liked to draw things that I knew how to draw and that I was good at drawing. Sure, it might’ve been a little repetitive, but drawing the same things well over and over was a helpful self-esteem reinforcement, and it wasn’t until this semester that I was really forced to try anything else. Although I was open to anything, it was still a psychological hurdle in the beginning to even put pencil to paper. I remember just staring at our still-life objects and being so intensely overwhelmed by every bad possibility and wrong outcome of the situation. Before I had even put anything down, I would find myself inescapably concerned about the final product, and the potential judgments that I and others would make about it. My mindset change began when I decided (or, more accurately, just had to) pick a place to start and work from there. It took me a long time to trust that what I was drawing didn’t have to be permanent, and that our pride shouldn’t obligate us to settle for whatever we drew in the beginning if we end up not liking it. I still struggle with this more in terms of using charcoal and other more permanent/less removable media, but I'm happy to say that now, when I pick up the charcoal, I'm excited to utilize its suggestive and messy nature to my advantage. I started the class obsessed with dimensional perfection- I wanted every proportion to be perfect and every line to be unwaveringly straight. It would drive me insane because I was putting so much pressure on every single stroke, because I felt if I got one thing off, it wouldn’t be possible to proceed successfully or accurately because every line is relative to the lines around it- by that logic, everything has to be perfect or else the whole thing is a bust. It was frustrating when I saw that something was off, but couldn’t identify it or didn’t have the time to change it because I’d already done so much. I used to see every mistake as a total net loss and a failure, and resolve to just trying again next time, but now I see the value in trial and error. It all is a cumulative contribution to my drawing skills, which are always a work in progress. It’s been a good exercise in forfeiting control and perfectionism, and valuing whatever contributions I can make to the art world, even if they’re not perfect. I’ve made some things that I really like in this class, and I’ve made things that I don’t care for as much, but I experienced the important realization that I didn’t have to like everything that I drew, and that it everything is still a valid attempt regardless. I’ve also learned that we all may have varying inherent levels of ability with anything, but practice is what allows us to develop these gifts.
This class has been an educational opportunity unlike any I've had thus far at Duke. It was the  perfect way to express my creative license while navigating some of my personal obstacles as well. I'm so glad I took this course and look forward to a future that continues to be full of art. 

Thoughts on Drawing - Sabrina Tucker

Although it's been well over ten years since I last took a formal art class at school, I decided to follow in the footsteps of many seniors before me and take a drawing/art course while my schedule allowed me. Despite the long gap between my academic art experiences, I had been casually painting with watercolors throughout high school and college but formal drawing turned out to be much more different from painting than I had anticipated.

While the thickness and blurred nature of watercolors can easily hide any mistakes or misshapen subjects, drawing but not sketching with pencils seems to only highlight your errors; this ended up being a double-ended sword, however, because the act of fixing your mistakes so frequently actually improves your skill, I believe. Though experimenting with charcoal was fun and a wholly novel experience for me, I wasn't able to get a hold on how to cleanly execute lines and shapes with it without making a mess of the page or using sketchy lines and shading. However, the fact that I now own charcoal pencils and have the instruction to utilize them now means I'll most likely try them again soon when I'm feeling a bit more patient and brave.

While the time required to finish the drawings increased exponentially over time (especially after our graduation from only line drawings), the accomplishment I felt after completing each assignment also grew with it. There were times when I would take a step back to look at the drawing I was working on after hours of sketching hunched over my desk and be in amazement that I could draw something that decent while there were definitely times when I felt the opposite.

If anyone asked for course recommendations for semesters when they wanted to test their creative capabilities, I think this course and many others in the ARTS/VIS department would be right up their alley.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Thoughts on Drawing - Maya Patel


I have always really enjoyed arts and crafts and drawing/doodling for fun. Growing up, I did art summer camps and in middle and high school took a few different art classes. I really fell in love with printmaking through two different classes I took in high school, and I was SO excited to enroll in printmaking this semester at Duke. I’m a senior, and I finally had extra room in my schedule to take a fun elective; I had honestly been eyeing the printmaking course every semester during book bagging, but was just waiting for senior year to hopefully take it. To my initial disappointment, the printmaking class conflicted with one of my required engineering courses. I was mostly devastated by the fact that the required engineering course wouldn’t even be meeting during the allotted time, but I still had to be officially enrolled anyways. 

All this being said, I ended up going with Drawing instead, and I’m very pleased that I did. Although I really missed having the element of color in my art, I learned a lot. A lot of the drawings that I make in my free time are ‘salvaged’ by the vibrant use of color— color is hands down my favorite component to artwork and its probably the reason I like printmaking so much. I really believe that any simple drawing can be brought to life with a unique use of color.  But, this drawing class really taught me how to focus on what I was actually drawing since I didn’t have the crutch of just adding in some wild colors. One of the biggest things for me was adjusting to drawing large scale on the 18”x24” paper. I had also never used charcoal before, so it was a great introduction to a new medium. I had also never paid nearly as much attention to the details in what I was drawing before this class. Having to really analyze the texture, shadows, tones, and shapes of the objects I drew was exceptionally challenging for me. Through this process I think I also learned how important it is to invest time into drawing. It’s not a quick and simple process to draw realistically. 

I learned a lot more than I thought I would, and I’m really glad I took drawing this semester. As a senior, it was really nice to be able to spend time on assignments that required such a different way of thinking than my usual courses do. Though it was a lot of work, the class was fun and Professor Fick is great. Overall, it was really exciting to spend such a large portion of my last time at Duke drawing every week! 

Thoughts on Drawing - William Yang

Before taking this course, my experience with drawing was very limited. In fact, I could probably count the number of times I’ve attempted to draw something over the past few years on my fingers. However, learning to draw and being more engaged with art is something I’ve been wanting to get involved with in my free time for years. As a student majoring in Computer Science and Statistics, many of my classes over my Duke career have been highly technical. Coming into my last semester, though, I made to sure to open up a space in my schedule so I could take this course, and I’m very glad I did so.

This course forced me to finally start a habit of drawing often that I always procrastinated on before. As calming and enjoyable as drawing is, it does take some time to draw something, and it’s often hard to pause my other activities to make time for drawing. Furthermore, having little experience and little artistic talent, I was often discouraged from drawing simply because I thought I didn’t know how to draw. Once I started drawing for the class, though, I soon rediscovered the joy in learning a new skill and being creative. I really enjoyed exploring using different drawing techniques, from different shading techniques, to varying line weights and length, to using charcoal and erasers as additional tools to draw a variety of scenes and landscapes.

As my college career draws to a close, I’m glad that I was able to take a fun class on something completely unrelated to my majors and the work I’ll be doing in the future. For me, drawing is a new hobby that I intend to take with me wherever I go. It’s stimulating, relaxing, and enjoyable, and I hope that I’ll be able to keep up the habit long after I graduate.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Thoughts on Drawing- Mo

To be quite honest, I don't remember the last time I have taken a formal drawing class in school. High school freshman year, I took an art elective, but it was more painting oriented than focused on drawing. Yet again, the first time I carried a sketchbook was through the middle of my senior year in high school and I didn't really begin to draw in it till maybe the summer after that year. I carried that sketchbook everywhere across campus and would sit on the bench and draw what I saw or what simply made me happy. But I knew one day that I would try to enroll in this class, because drawing was one of those therapeutic activities that made me calm and was a great break from all the stressful work that Duke can provide at times.

So I tried- for two semester to enroll and finally I got into this course. All I can say is that this class has renewed my love for drawing. It has challenged me to become more creative with my pieces, to be observant of the positioning of my study objects, the my perspective and depth, and to focus on the making my line straight. I learned amazing techniques and discovered my tool preferences (pencil, not charcoal and small blending stick, not big blending stick) as I have crafted what is "my style" of drawing. When I look at the drawings I have produced for this course, all I can think is that there is something amount them that indicates they're mine. Maybe its the meticulous detail I had put into my line work or the shading that I do in one direction (I like my shading that way). I also love how I had to opportunity to create pieces that are meaningful to me and are representative of my various life experiences. 

Again to be quite honest, and I tell my roommate this- drawing, for me, is an amazing out-of-body experience. I find it amazing how I can imagine what I want, and sketch it down on a paper. Then look at the completed piece and ask myself "Did I really just draw that?" 

Thoughts on drawing: Allie Charlton

            Having never drawn before (besides the occasional doodle in my notes) this class was a very interesting experience. I loved the constant pull from my creative side yet I also dreaded to engage with it sometimes. I discovered that setting aside a Sunday afternoon or Thursday morning to drink coffee and draw was the very medicine which often calmed my soul. I loved listening to a podcast or music while also giving 100% of my mental energy into my drawings. While constant drawing brought me some comfort, it also was fairly exhausting to draw when I did not feel inspired to. I found that some of my drawings in my portfolio were more completed out of necessity and convenience rather than creative inspiration.

            This class has taught me the importance of always drawing even when at a creative block but also being ok with taking a break when I need it. I want to continue looking for things to inspire me in my daily life so I do not feel compelled to draw things that do not speak to me.
            After this class, I plan to continue with my sketchbook in order to compile my many inspirations throughout my day. I think I will move to a smaller notepad, however, because the one I was using was too bulky to carry with me constantly. Additionally, I would like to form a routine of drawing in the mornings while I wake up. This could be a very soothing habit to get into.