06 March 2013


I studied drawing long ago at an artist's school on Whidbey Island in Washington State, but now I need to fill in some basic art credits to wrap up my graphic design studies. So, I'm spending my Saturdays in a beginning drawing class and drawing, drawing, drawing. It's pretty fun. I always like the interaction with the other students - chatting and comparing everyone's interpretation and approach to the same subject. I've been quite impressed with some of their work. This one gal who studied art in Korea is really amazing.

The class focuses mainly on duplication, which is not exactly what I hoped for because I feel that my weakness is that I tend to be too accurate. I can get all the angles, sizes and shades right, but I wish I could do that with freer strokes and not lose expression due to all the precision. I think I'd rather have an emotionally strong piece than a technically strong one, wouldn't you? That's what I'd like to work on as an artist.

Precision has its place, of course, and I am enjoying the fact that I'm getting faster at being precise. The still life of the bouquet on the chair seemed to materialize under my pencils, which was quite exciting, and let me tell you, it's extremely accurate. (Boringly so?) ...I enjoyed more the white-on-black drawing of the skeleton where I could play with the texture of the skull, and the free-flowing exercises -- drawing tools with squiggles and one-minute model sketches.

I wish I had completed a singular piece to share with you that I really loved, but that doesn't seem to be the nature of this class. The exercises are useful, but as you can see they're not resulting in incredible art. I can't even share all the work with you because some of it we had to copy parts from famous works, magazines and movie stills, so the art is not exactly original. It's kind of strange to do a class again after all this time. In recent years I've been mostly painting and creating purely from my own imagination and ideas.

Do you artists out there have any drawing exercises that you particularly enjoy? Or was there something you learned that helped you branch away from your usual style? I'd be interested to know!


Valerie Storey said...

These are beautiful drawings, Kimi. I would love to draw this well! You've inspired me to keep trying and aim for such strong quality. I understand what you mean about the "duplication" process, but I think that you can use it all as a springboard to move forward and add your own unique style to each subject as you continue. It's a lot like writing practice--I fill so many journals with writing that will probably never be published (I wouldn't have time to submit it all!) but if I didn't write every day I wouldn't have publishable work either, so it's something I have to do. And just like the drawing practice, it's a joy in its own right. Thank you so much for sharing.

kimi said...

Thanks for these kind and insightful comments, Valerie. I really like the writing analogy and the idea of building expression and style by repeating the "drill" of drawing (or writing). Thank you for stopping by!

B. Wanhill said...

Wonderful post and I enjoyed seeing the different drawing exercises you have to do in your course. It reminds me of having to take a drawing class a couple of summers ago to finish credits towards a degree and it was the best part of my day even though it was exercise-based like yours. It had been a long time since I'd been able to take 3 straight hours to just draw, every day and my instructor was very interested in showing us the importance and merit of precision. That was the most important lesson I learned: it's okay to aim for highly crafted work. And I also agree with Valerie, that the more you draw, the freer your strokes will become. (Mind you, can't speak from experience, because I'm back to drawing sporadically!)

kimi said...

Hello Barbara! Yes, I'm in that exact position as you were, and in some regards I'm grateful that they don't allow us to test out of art the way one does with math. It's a pleasure to "have to" draw six hours per week plus homework, and I'm getting back in touch with charcoal and pencils and improving in subtle ways. Portraits, especially, are becoming less daunting. I'll have to share some of those drawing next and will keep in mind your lesson about aiming for highly crafted work. :)