As I often do, I spent a good few hours yesterday drawing in the studio, working through ideas and playing with shape and colour. Drawing for me is such a positive way to connect my thoughts and feelings with the world and it truly is a buzz! As I worked I got to thinking about drawing and how it manifests itself in the different work I create. My current practice embraces drawing in so many different forms, across many different mediums and approaches. I draw on paper, in sketchbooks, using a variety of digital formats, on cardboard, with wire and through live projection. It's something I am hardwired to do, and I believe it's something we are all hardwired to do; to share thoughts and feelings through mark-making.
It's staggering the number of people I meet who are adamant that they can't draw. When this view is questioned and you try and drill down to the source, decoded it tends to mean I can't draw in a representational way and render a finish piece that looks like a photograph. It also turns out that many adults I speak to have had a bad experience with art at school and were told they couldn't draw at a relatively young age (actually I was one of these pupils and was discouraged from studying art at exam level). Somehow a good drawing has become synonymous (to many people) with a slick super realist representation of something. The reproducing of photo-like images through drawing certainly has its place, and requires a certain amount of skill and technique (which can be taught), but it's just one small example of what drawing is and what drawing can be.
For me drawing helps in reflection, in thinking, in working through ideas and in making sense of the world. It's a great process for observing, exploring and understanding. And it's also a great outlet for expression and individuality. In the same way that we all have different handwriting, we all have a different way of drawing, and every single one is valid.
I was talking to an art teacher friend of mine recently and she was expressing her bewilderment that her 11 year old son during his first art lesson at his new secondary school had been asked to draw his shoe, as a way for the teacher to assess the level each student was at in terms of drawing. Like the age old practice of drawing crushed coke cans during 'creative' art lessons, this exercise offers up a 'norm' of what good and bad drawing is, especially when used as a way of assessing skills. This type of lazy and unimaginative teaching really undermines drawing as a practice and only serves to sideline a large percentage of pupils as bad at drawing. People everywhere (and especially children) should be encouraged to draw more, have fun with line and tone, to express themselves through making marks, and to use drawing as a tool for exploring and maybe sharing ideas about the world we live in.
So go on, doodle, scribble, make marks and Draw More!!