Tuesday, 9 April 2013

drawing geek

When I was small I would always look forward to being better at drawing in the future.  I knew that if I kept at it, my developing brain would magically understand things that had been total mysteries to me not six months earlier.  It was a great feeling.  I used to go back and draw improved versions of pictures next to their originals in my old sketchbooks.  As a little more time went by I would look back at these improved drawings, realise they were rubbish after all and draw a new improved one beside the other two... Then one day my brain stopped growing.  I would look back at old sketchbooks and think, damn, that looks just the same as the stuff I'm drawing now!  Finally I stopped waiting for things to improve on their own.  I realised I was actually going to have to make a conscious effort to learn new stuff if I wanted to.

As time has gone by I have tried to learn about all sorts of things that have previously baffled me.  It is always a really exciting thing to do.  There are few better feelings than the one you get when you understand something for the first time.  Last year I tried to learn about colour.  It turned out to be a HUGE and vastly complicated subject (who knew?) but I was able to learn a great many things that have helped me immensely since.  I moved the frontier a little bit and next time I go back and try and learn more, I can start from a little bit further in.  For example, I would really like to know how  and when to paint those amazing luminous colours you get when light shines through something translucent like a leaf or a cloud or an ear...  I've tried guessing and it always looks very wrong!

Anyway... I was going to be taking a long train journey the other day and I was looking for something to read.  I saw a book called Perspective for Artists.  My first thought was, I know about perspective already.  My second thought was, I tried to read that once - it was impossible.  Clearly I didn't know about perspective after all.  Like so many things in my professional life I just kidded myself I knew it because it's sort of embarrassing to admit you don't!

Three pages in on the train and I was learning new stuff.  It turns out that my entire knowledge of the theory of perspective could be expressed in two pages of text.  Hmm.  No wonder I don't draw many buildings!



  2. That's next month! ...on second thoughts maybe I should write a book about horses descending spiral staircases for you to illustrate ^-^