Match Frame

Thoughts from an American editor and filmmaker in New Zealand about film and video production and post-production. Plus whatever else I feel like talking about.

Name:
Location: Balmoral, Auckland, New Zealand

A work in progress.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

learning to draw

this is not a metaphor.

I decided to try to teach myself to learn to draw. Of the many gaps in my education/learning/abilities, two that I find particularly vexing are my lack of ability to draw and my lack of knowledge learning foreign languages. Why I find these more problematic than, say, my lack of competence with power tools, my inability to surf, or lack of understanding of advanced sciences, I don't know. I just do.

So anyway, I have had this in the back of my head for a while. Then, at the library the other day, I noticed DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN, a book by Betty Edwards. It's a book I've taken note of before, and oft thought of trying out, but hadn't got around to buying, perhaps out of fear of it going on the kindling pile with so many other things I get into but never really get deep into.

Anyway, after a few days picking up most of the stray odds and ends the book recommends, I did the first three exercises tonight, which are to draw yourself from a reflection, a face from memory of somebody else, and your hand. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the quality of the first drawing, despite having to look at my face and realize that it was looking a wee bit pudgy. It wasn't a great drawing - or even particularly a good drawing - but a reasonable person, I think, would look at it, look at my face, and say, yeah, that's the same person.

Not so with the second drawing, a rendition of a person from memory whose name I won't mention, lest she someday say, hey, can I see that drawing you made of me from memory, only to recoil in horror when I produce it. (Apparently, the point is that it will suck, but also to reveal the "symbol systems" we use to produce drawings instead of drawing the actual lines. This makes a lot of sense to me - when I drew my nose, I was shocked to realize I couldn't really see a strong vertical line, so I didn't draw it, and it still came out looking remarkably noselike. In my memory portrait, I tried to draw a nose as I imagine it should look like. It looked like ass. (Not an ass, mind you, but still.))

The third drawing was a hand. It was also not particularly good, though I suspect that part of this was impatience and part of this was trying to draw broad sweeping lines, then trying to stitch them together.

Anyway. I doubt I will give my four or so readers a blow by blow of every step along the way. But hopefully at some point I will make a drawing I'd actually like to share.

Lots of other things going on - just finished doing a music video, working on an animation project, and have learned a ton about Photoshop with both; I'm going to be doing some backgrounds for another project this week in After Effects, which is pretty exciting, since I don't really know how to use the program. One of the things that's good now is that, because I'm working with many different-but-similar programs, there's some continuity in usage that means that my learning isn't always just additive but actually ... multiplicative? Probably not a word. Whatever - I was just pleased when, on a hunch, I dragged my cursor with the shift key across the visibility markers for layers in Photoshop, and they all toggled off, just like how you use the shift key and dragging for deselecting layers in Avid. I still need to get a long-term gig, but these short term projects are nice and fun. (And the animation project is actually long-term, and is actually very exciting, but it's completely unpaid.)

Tonight, going to Okkervil River shortly. I have DSL now at home, which means I'm exploring YouTube. My room is a disaster. You may be interested in none of these facts, but here you are.

I hope you are well, whoever you are, and if you feel like it share something in the comments you've always wanted to learn and never tried. Then go try it.

3 Comments:

Blogger Scoutie said...

You know hands are the hardest thing to draw? It's actually a well-established fact, and the reason many "fancy" pieces of artwork don't feature the appendages. Anyone who can draw a hand well deserves massive props. Yo.

10/9/06 5:12 AM  
Blogger Jarrett said...

Scout, I thought the eyes were, because so much of our time is spent regarding the eyes of those around us, getting them right is a beyatch. (I'm trying that out.)


Drawing is the only talent I'm truly in awe of. Given enough time, I can take a nice-looking picture (tho probably not a brilliant one), I can sing well enough (tho not *well*), etc, ad nauseum. But I can only badly-to-passably draw what I can see. Making something out of whole cloth, or drawing from memory is completely - wholly, entirely, fundamentally - beyond my skill or hopes.

I agree with the painter Ingres who once said, "Drawing is the true test of art." Sketches, cartoons, artfully drawn portraits - each of them impresses the holy hell out of me, and seeing them always makes me want to grab a pencil and paper and give it a go. (This is one reason I've never been into comic books: I start drawing and stop reading.)

I'd give anything to be able to draw. Anything. A foot, my hair, my vagina - anything but my hands, which I'd need to hold the paper and make the marks.

10/9/06 1:47 PM  
Blogger ThePaintedCardinal*ART*Boutique said...

How true about the hands!!! Every illustration I've ever drawn has begun with the face, and ended with their hands. I always do them last, I hate them the most, lol. Eyes are my fav!!! They are always done first, I feel it gives my portrait life right away ~

15/9/06 3:38 PM  

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