The Benefits and Importance of Drawing
The real and perceived pressure ‘to draw well’ puts many people off trying, prevents people from appreciating ways it might be used within a process of research which can be a huge obstacle to learning. Drawing can become the tool to explore other professions, greatly enriching creativity (Chorpening, 2014). It can also be a means for understanding the world around us, as a tool for learning. Drawing is the platform where ideas can be shared, an inter-disciplinary form of expression.
Drawing has much to say about how artists think and look at the world and express themselves on the page. It lies behind almost everything around us in the modern world, from building plans to sketches of cars, from smartphones to clothing design. Drawing is everywhere. It is how we communicate with each other; telling stories through the timeless language of pictures. The act of drawing is also a complex and elusive process (Cohen & Bennett, 1997, p. 609). How is it possible that some people can easily, realistically depict an object onto a page while others become physically paralyzed and turned off by such an activity?
Drawing, whether from life or from memory, involves relationships, articulations, connections. Like teaching rhythm, tempo, and scales so that a student has many tools to express themselves through music, so too is there a need for a skill-based education in the visual arts. Rhythm, timing and patterns of perception are recurring themes. Vinacke (1952) stated “no matter how original or valuable a creative conception, it cannot result in a work of art… unless its originator has the requisite skills to convert it into tangible form” (p. 253).
Drawing permits a designer to consider several alternative ideas simultaneously, sometimes referred to as ‘the thinking bit’. “Your hand is part of your brain, It’s as though your brain is drawing” (Schenk, 1991, p.170). When we draw, we teach, and when we study a drawing, we learn. If we take the time to study our own drawings, we learn even more. The best way to learn to draw is by intentionally drawing to learn. Milton Glaser, a well-known and experienced graphic designer, has said that when he looks at something he does not see it unless he makes an internal decision to draw it. Drawing it in a state of humility provides a way for truth to emerge (Glaser, 2008, p. 11).
Drawing serves many purposes. It engages visual perception, enhances eye-hand coordination and creative expression (Jensen, 2001, p. 63). Drawing is the artist’s act of thinking and can serve students as a tool for designing ideas, investigating an object, practicing a skill, constructing a final artwork, and expressing an idea. However, most people find drawing to be an intimidating and difficult task.
Drawing puts us in direct contact with the conscious mind and sometimes with the unconscious one. It is a medium that speaks more freshly, directly, and immediately than any other about the mystery that goes on in the mind. Looking at drawings are like talking to them or reading their diary and is where artists dwell on what they love. Drawings can transport you to different areas of the human mind. Children’s drawings are an inherently instinctive activity and then around the adolescent stage something happens and drawing carefree and uninhibited disappears.
Our complex world is full of visual imagery that can best be understood through seeing objects with both our mind and hand. It is my firm belief that to provide students the ability to unlock the secrets of drawing is to bring them to a heighten state of confidence that prepares them to freely express their thoughts about their world and their place within it. Drawing is a unique skill that calls upon each of our senses and functions as a way to heighten our understanding of complex processes. Whether doodling or drawing from a live model the ability to feel at ease with one of the oldest and most universally accepted communication methods ever is one of the greatest gifts an art educator can impart to his or her students.