I try to sketch in my sketchbook at least once a day, to spend the time focusing on the feel of pen on paper, allowing my hand to free flow across the paper. I get absorbed in the shading, in the expressive nature of line. It's a rare thing where I just sit with out any distractions and just draw, light music on, and no phone. I focus in on how the objects before me look, how the shape and flow of the stuff works together to create an image. I usually bring my sketchbook with me, so everything I draw is usually my life, my world around me - the people, the objects. Sketching really forces me to focus on composition, on being present in the moment. Before this class, I hadn't really formed the habit of drawing in a sketchbook - I will continue it, my version of keeping a visual diary I guess. I think it not only helps to improve technique and foster attention to detail, but to clear the mind. The sketchbook and practice of drawing for the love of it, is one of the greatest things I will take away from this course.
I appreciate a lot the amount of detail drawing requires, because I have spent more than I had thought on every piece - from composition, to sketching out my piece, to editing and shading. In doing a sketch drawing of five objects, before the actual drawing, I learn to practice composition first - to use a variety of objects of different sizes, heights, textures to create a compelling narrative. For example, in the shading project, I tried very hard to use a mix of fabrics and rough vs smooth textures and arrange them into different heights.
One of the most interesting things I've found in this class, is that the best way to find a mix of objects and to form a composition, at least for me, is to tell a story. In that same shading project, I found by telling a story of objects I needed for my day - ex: shoes, bag, books, etc. And I spent a long time adjusting the light source to better highlight light side vs dark side, and to create interesting shadows and contrast that would be cool to draw. I really liked this project in particular because it was one of the first pieces that I've both designed, composed, and drew in shading, rather than using a already fixed photograph to draw from.
I actually prefer drawing with color (such as pastels and paints), because I love the vibrancy in the world, and like to express that through bright color mixes. I love the sense of beauty color can show - bold and loud - but also, the sense of emotion the right color palette can evoke. More muted, or more bright. One of my personal things about drawing with color is I try to maintain clean colors that reflect the beauty of the pigment, nothing muddy or too dirty.
Through this class, I've found a new interest in pencil and charcoal for the simple beauty and difficulty of working solely in greys or blacks. It's a very different challenge to create a realistic world through just shades of the same color. It was hard to create the sense of depth through shadows and it really required a lot of stepping back from the picture and *looking*.
I learned a lot about drawing techniques and big picture ideas to keep in mind in both designing/composing art, and about how to work with drawing. For composition - wise, I really like the idea of foreground - midground - background. The idea of having something in the foreground to root the initial focus of the viewer is new to me, but I really like it. Then with the foreground and background, it creates a multi-layered story that really allows for the viewer to see all aspects and be pulled into the piece. I also really like how to create space and look at how to accurately reflect the world around me - not through positive space, but through negative space. I've really found that by examining how the negative shape looks, it helps me to nail down the objects.
Overall, I've honestly really loved the course, for challenging me to look critically at how I draw, and force a level of detail and attention to aspects of drawing - line and weight, shading, composition, and line quality. I also have found that some pieces I think are more suited to charcoal or pencil, which is an interesting realization. Pencil to me feels softer, charcoal feels more textured and rough, more bold and expressive. I've honestly really loved this class, and I hope to take more art classes in the future at Duke.