Monday, June 29, 2015

Why We Should Draw More (and Photograph Less) or On the Importance of Drawing

Sketching is about thinking visually. I have always believe it to be the path to a higher conscience of the world and should be part of any education. All creative endeavors requires the ability to think visually, whatever the occupation or field of interest one has, drawing/sketching can help understand complex concepts simply. 

From conceptualizing designs and ideas to just doodling, there is great freedom in sketching. A piece of paper, a pencil and you, can be a transformational experience. It is a connection with life that forms an immediate and intimate dialogue with the subject. And yet sketching does not have be anything more than engaging our minds in play and fantasy, where we can enjoy the sheer pleasure drawing brings to our psyche.

A while back my wife and I visited Alaska, a great adventure with old friends now a much cherished memory. One of the highlights was the trip to Denali National Park. After an amazing journey through the park we stopped at the Eielson Visitor Center Denali that has a more than spectacular view of the mountain. It was pointed out to us by people from the area (sourdoughs) that this was an unusually clear day for viewing Mt. Denali. One gentleman telling me he has lived there for twenty years and never saw the Mountain so clearly. So as my compadres hiked around the area I settled down in an isolated corner of the centers patio and began sketching this amazing vista before me.

As I sat there in my little sketch spot one person after another stepped up to the ledge of the patio and shot a picture with a cell phone or camera. I sat there for about twenty minutes and not one person that walked up and snap a pic stood there for more than a minute. I did get a lot of sideway glazes as if to see what I was doing or if I had fallen down or something worse. I wondered then if any of these people actually saw this magical scene. Quickly snapping away, it was kind of as if that they had proof they were there but really they were not. Funny how the sightseers out snapping pics inspires me to paint outside more. Technology is good at giving us fast information but not at telling us what important and significant.

 With the sketch I feel an immediate dialogue with the subject and a personal interaction. I feel that with every drawing I learn something about the thing in front of me. I have to think about not just how I am going to draw this thing but how it fits together. There is so much to contemplate and consider. Drawing enables us to see more of the world around us and preserving those experiences this way makes them so much richer.

The video above from The School of life caught my eye and does a nice job of illustrating the points I am attempting to make. Have a look.

Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim

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