This week I’m continuing my writing about art by showing an example of my drawing. Here is another example of me learning to draw. It’s probably from just before the first drawing I showed you which puts it in the SPring of 1987. It’s an art school life drawing. Usually such drawings are done on large sheets of newsprint paper which are then thrown out and lost forever. You can see why. It’s not a particularly good drawing. I didn’t even know it still existed until I looked in my old sketchbooks in order to write this piece. I must have not had my normal newsprint pad this night in class and so I drew in my sketchbook. I don’t remember ever doing that but I also don’t remember drawing in orange charcoal. And why does is say “Oh Well” on it?

Anyway this is an example of learning to draw from life. It’s one of the ways they teach you to draw in art school. They put a model in the middle of the classroom and everybody gathers around the model and tries to draw him. The teacher than wanders through the class and tries to teach an overall lesson to the class while helping individual students too. It’s not an easy way to teach or learn. Sometimes a student will get a bad view to make a composition from and that’s tough to overcome. Life drawing isn’t easy and breaks a lot of art students.

This is also a type of drawing that’s never meant to be seen. It’s student work that is about the student learning to make art. It’s a classroom assignment like in any other subject. No one would look at classroom math work and expect it to be anything but a person learning math. That’s where the expectations are different with drawing. We expect the student making the drawing to know how to draw. It’s an odd thing. Back in those days I would sometimes here a person say they wished they knew how to draw. Take a drawing class was usually the answer but then the first person would say that they can’t take an art class because they don’t know how to draw.

As bad as it is figure two is even the best of the figure drawings that I found in my sketchbook. The rest are more awful and show that I really couldn’t draw back when I took this life drawing class but I picked this one without even thinking about it because you never want to think that you can’t draw even when the whole point of taking life drawing is to learn to draw from life. So that’s my takeaway from this. Even when drawing is about learning we still want it to be good first. Even if it can’t be that’s the desire. The call of art.

Now I have to get out of my student years for at least a moment. I think this drawing is more interesting than the example of my student drawings but is along the same lines of drawing something. Starting with an idea of what to draw and then executing that idea. That isn’t the only type of drawing but it’s the easiest place to start. It’s where most of us begin

This is a drawing from somewhere around 2005 I’d guess. I’m not sure of the exact date since I only have this scan of it handy. Once again this is the type of drawing where I am trying to draw something. I was trying to draw a female figure. I was trying to do a little more than just a normal female figure by using various geometric designs to frame the negative shape of her body. I was drawing around her body to make her body. That’s a different approach for me but as a drawing I think it succeeds pretty well. Except it failed me.

As I said before drawing is usually not finished artwork. It’s one of the steps in the stairs that lead to a finished piece of art but it’s usually not a finished piece itself. As much as I like this drawing as an image I was never able to make anything finished out of it. I tired to make it into a print but couldn’t and it was the same for a painting. I couldn’t even make a “Finished” drawing out of it. You might ask why I couldn’t but I have no answer for you. I still like the drawing and still might try to make something out of it but as of now I look at it and sigh.

That is the nature of drawing and especially the nature of preliminary drawing. It’s there for the artist and not the viewer. That’s actually a hard lesson to learn when you’re learning to draw. I know when I was learning to draw I wanted everything to be beautiful and presentable. I wanted everybody who looked at my drawing to be amazed by them. Of course my drawings were no where near that good. That part I understood but the part that I didn’t understand was that they weren’t supposed to be that good. Not that they were supposed to be bad but they were supposed to support what I was trying to accomplish whether that was working on an a larger piece of art or just learning to draw. It’s not supposed to impress an audience.

Figure 3 isn’t exactly what I’l call a “Working Drawing” it’s more like a finished working drawing. A working drawing is a couple of levels of sketchiness below a finished working drawing. There is often a lot more figuring stuff out in them than you see here. I don’t have any examples on hand right now because those type of drawing often get drawn over and they are never meant to be shown. Other artists usually love to see them though. They are sometimes referred to as the guts of a work. Often you can really see the mind of the artist at work in such preliminary drawings. You can see the decisions the artist is making as they are being made.