We all have the ability to reengage with the drawing process. Oftentimes when people say they can't draw they are not able to see. 

Check out the blog post, "What are you staring at!" for a story about the trouble with this new way of seeing!

The well-known graphic designer, Milton Glaser, coined the phrase, "Drawing is Thinking". A quite curious 5-year-old boy also said, "First I have a think, and then I draw my think". The first great English proponent of drawing, John Ruskin (1819–1900), devoted much of his pedagogical approach to getting students to use their eyes, to not take their environment for granted. 

When you draw you can understand the language of the world. If we can understand the visual world better, we can improve our visual literacy, and empower ourselves to engage in the visual world.

The great benefit of drawing is that when you look at something, you see it for the first time.
— Milton Glaser, designer

The Workout

This workout is called Couch Potato uniquely because you will need to sit in front of your TV or computer. It's up to you if you want to sit on the couch or not, but why wouldn't you! 

Choose a program or movie of interest to you that hosts real life people, places and things. For this workout let's stay away from animated shows. You will need to be able to pause and play. If you can't do that on your TV, I'd recommended playing a show from websites such as YouTube or Hulu. Grab your sketchbook or other drawing paper, some well-sharpened pencils and start pausing! When you arrive at a scene of a person, place or thing that interests you get started! You may even want to hand the controls to a friend and have them choose for you.  

Pay attention to details of your paused frame. Look closely and see the characters, scenery and objects in front of you as you are the detective solving a crime! Draw as quickly or as slowly as you would like. Play the scene and pause again quickly. Did the main characters move? Draw them again in this new position. You may find the second drawing goes much quicker because you have now stored observations to recall.  

Some Examples:

Here I took a screen shot of a TV show from the website Hulu. 

I took about 5 minutes and drew the landscape in my sketchbook while looKing at the paused screen. While it is not a realistically perfect drawing, I have now seen this area with greater depth and understanding!

These three fantastic women are my professors at Kutztown University. While i was watching their presentation videos on my computer i started sketching their faces on post-it notes. drawing often helps focus my attention. 

Share your results on Instagram using #drawfitcouchpotato

Materials:

  • Pencil or other drawing instrument
  • Sketchbook or other drawing paper
  • TV or Computer