Monday, July 18, 2005
After the exercise
Since you were not looking at the paper, the drawing will probably be a mess, globally, with lots of lines that fail to intersect properly (see the examples above). Do not worry, this is normal (notice however how amazingly accurate your drawing is, locally). The point is that through this exercise you made a direct connection between the model and the paper. And most of all, you observed the model very carefully. You started to see what was really there, beyond symbol, beyond what you think you know. And, no matter how awkward the drawing looks, you have drawn something that is an actual, detailed observation of the object: a direct experience of it, not a symbol. Notice that the amount of detail you can get in is just limited by what you can see (depending on light conditions, distance and eyesight) and by the amount of time you take. If you go really slowly you can find a dozen crests on what can seem a single straight line in a faster drawing. You’ll be amazed at how detailed you can get. And how much you can learn of what a hand, face, foot, whatever, really looks like.
This is a student’s first liberation from his symbolic machinery. By going down in scale, the symbolic part of your visual brain has lost focus. It does not apply at the scale of simple, small, meaningless contour lines, therefore it shuts down and frees you to be able to actually look and, very simply, copy what you actually see.