Daily Archives: May 16, 2012

Talent and hard work

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[Today’s run: rest day]

I college I took two semesters of freehand drawing.  I never was very good at it.

But, I was pondering this morning,  I really had the wrong attitude when I took that class.  I remember feeling like there was some secret to it, that other people in the class knew more about how to do it and that I just didn’t have a talent for drawing.  Mechanical drafting class had some “how-to-do-it” rules and steps.  But freehand drawing was just put it down on paper the way you see it.   Class after class it was a deer-in-the-headlights feeling.

I think my attitude is changing.  Partly that is because I now see my wife doing such a good job with her oil paintings.  And she didn’t have any training in drawing or drafting  (that I know of).

Another thing.  I thought at the time that there was a “right” way to do freehand drawing.  Like it would be cheating to lay things out with a ruler, or take a picture and then trace the picture.  Now I’m not so sure.Before cameras were invented, various gizmos were around which could be used to project a scene into a flat surface.  An artist could put some paper on the flat surface and trace the outlines of the scene.  Anyone who has actually tried this knows that it makes things sound easy, but it really isn’t much easier.  There is still the need to simplify down to the basic elements.

So my point today:  if you are learning to draw/paint, or learning a musical instrument, or a new sport, or how to write sonnets,  it is not cheating to use whatever means are at hand.  The number one thing needed when starting out is persistence.   Almost anyone with average hand/eye coordination can eventually learn to draw a straight line or a pretty good circle.  But it takes a lot of work.  Using some helps, if they help you persist, maybe will get you into a part of the learning curve where your talent can start to come out.

I do remember some starting-out exercises we used in the freehand class:

1 – make two dots on your paper, not too far apart.  Draw a straight line from one dot to the other.   Do that a lot, until you can almost always hit the dot in a straight shot.  Start spreading the dots farther apart.  Do it right to left, left to right.

2 – draw a line.  estimate the center point of the line and draw a dot there.  You can test your center by folding the paper in half so the ends of your line meet.    Do that a lot.

3 – draw a straight line, estimate the center.  Draw another line that goes through the center dot of the first line.  make marks on your two lines, 4 marks, all of equal distance from the intersection.  Draw arcs to make a rough circle.  Do that a lot, making your circle more circlish.  Eventually try making a circle by just selecting the center and four radius dots.



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May 16, 2012
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