Learning to Draw Matters
You have a magic carpet/That will whiz you through the air
To Spain or Maine or Mexico/If you just tell it where.
So will you let it take you/Where you’ve never gone before?
Or will you buy some drapes to match/And use it on your floor?
Learning how to draw well requires that you view the things in front of you with what artists call an “innocent eye”.
If you are thinking “apple” when drawing an apple, you will not get a very accurate drawing of the apple in front of you. This is because we are used to thinking in visual symbols, so if you think you are drawing an apple you will create a circle with a stem coming out of it.
Unfortunately, I have never seen an actual apple look like that. When looking at an apple carefully, you can see the stem comes from the middle of the apple, not the top. You will discover that it is asymmetrical and has bumps and all sorts of other delights waiting for a careful eye to discover them.
Seeing with your eyes, and not assumptions and symbols, is the essence of having an “innocent eye”.
With a well-trained eye, you can pull information out of thin air, extract joy from every day occurrences, and be drawn into a world of aesthetic pleasure. It’s like learning to see the entire world all over again, with all of the exciting discoveries waiting to be explored by your visual senses.
When you learn how to draw really well, all of a sudden you are calling others over to look at a curl of a leaf, the strange color of the sidewalk patch, and the atmospheric effects created on the horizon. You become more careful and deliberate in your descriptions, and your communication skillset is expanded with new vocabulary and detailed accuracy.
Through drawing, you gain the ability to read visual cues and how they affect you and those around you. You can control the visual manipulation thrown at you by advertisers and others vying for your attention and wallet.
Learning how to draw can open your mind the way reading a book does. When you have to observe something carefully to capture it with your pencil, you have to think about every aspect of the subject in front of you. If you are incomplete in your observations, there will be literal gaps on your paper showing where your seeing was weak. To think about any object so thoroughly changes your viewpoint on not just that particular object, but on all future visual elements that enter your path of sight.
Drawing well, like reading, takes time, attention, and training under someone who has mastered the skill. But it is a worthwhile pursuit not just for artists, but for anyone who values knowledge and how that knowledge can enhance their mind, career, and visual pleasure.
To really see at the highest levels is a transformative experience. Like having a magic carpet, you can view things from a new perspective that not many others are able to share.
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