Friday, February 23, 2007

What Art Isn't

I find that some people have strange ideas about art. Let me tell you a few things art isn't. Art isn't always pretty, it isn't always easy and creating it doesn't require some kind of magic that you must be born with or suffer without. Artists don't just pick up a pencil or brush and start creating masterpieces. Sure, most artists have at least a modicum of talent, and some have more than others, but every artist I know also puts a lot of time, determination and dedication into their art. Artists need to practice the same way musicians need to practice scales and second graders need to study their addition facts.

With this in mind I spent last night practicing for my pen & ink class. I suppose I could say I was doing my homework, but the word homework often has such negative connotations and this was more fun than torture. I was practicing hatching - drawing vertical lines. These lines are needed for drawing grass and are also the building block for cross-hatching which is used for shading. I bet you are wondering why I needed to practice drawing lines. Well, give it a try. It's not as easy as you might think. It takes practice to start all the lines at the same height, end all the lines at the same place, make them all the same length and create adjacent rows which are very close but don't overlap. You can see the results of my practice below. Not bad I think.

Sorry for the bad image. I need to relearn the tricks for scanning ink work.

So while I'm talking about class, I might as well catch you up. The first pen & ink class was Wednesday night. Turns out it is a small class, only 5 students, which is great! The small class size allows us all to work at the same table. Working at the same table, we can see the various steps of a drawing and how the individual marks are made. Watching how the marks are made was very helpful to me and much easier to understand than reading or listening to a description of how they are made.

The first thing we learned was a broken scribble technique. We use this technique to draw a bush. My husband thinks my bush resembles the little oval guy in Zoloft commercials. Despite his urging I resisted giving my drawing a face. It was tempting, but no. You can see my faceless bush below.

I'm really looking forward to my next class. The teacher, artist Dave Sullivan, had some amazing and inspiring drawings. I'm can't wait to try some bigger drawings myself!


Jeanette said...

Isn't pen and ink such fun? I found it is much more forgiving than I originally thought, however it does make you think carefully and plan it out, rather like watercolour.

I look forward to seeing your progression in it. :)

Katherine said...

Stacey - what a good idea! And I so agree with you about the need to practice.

You might also want to try drawing an irregular shape and then hatching within it. The skill which took me a long time to learn is hatching close together but getting the length of the line spot on for what is required as dictated by the shape.