So, one of my new years resolutions was to learn how to sketch. It is a pretty amazing thing .. being able to draw. I was distinctly average at it all through out my childhood. I don’t mean that in a bad way .. I wasn’t horrible. I could copy biology diagrams and maps from text books just fine. But when it came to drawing / painting contests, I was stuck in this no mans land between bad and good. And as a lil’ guy, you care more about kicking peoples asses in Cricket than painting right?
So, fast forward 20 years or so and I haven’t thought too much about sketching / painting myself till I discovered this link on hackernews. I was going through the books in that list and found this little gem called “Drawing on the right side of the brain”. It piqued my curiosity. I thought drawing and painting were gifts you were either born with or not. And now there’s this little book that promises to teach anyone how to draw. Their before and after paintings were orders of magnitude more legit than your pet weight loss program’s. So, why not, right?
First up, the book is brilliant and I would totally recommend it to any newbie learning how to sketch. I’ve scoured the internets and decided that if I was to learn to sketch, it had to be this book. It approaches sketching in a very n00b friendly / logical way. Without spoiling too much .. let me just say I was enlightened in the first few hours of working through the book. It gave me belief that I’ll end up being reasonably good at drawing pictures.
So, naturally, I’ve progressed to reading and learning about paintings in my spare time in the past week. I’ve learnt about the renaissance, baroque, romanticism till upto cubism / abstract-art. The last two have been very hard hitting philosophically. It forced me to ask myself the question – “why do I sketch?” Obviously any old point and shoot camera will do a better job at capturing a subject than anything even the best artists could come up with. So why? I guess the logical extension is that you give up on depicting real-world subjects in paint. Painting then stops being about how well you can depict reality and moves to what is your interpretation of reality. I admit, I’m as clueless as you are when it comes to paintings by people like Jackson Pollock, but it does give a framework to think about paintings by the impressionists, post-impressionists, cubists and the fauvists.
That about wraps up what I wanted to vent about today (And to think I wanted to tweet this!). Next few blog posts, I might end up posting a few sketches I’ve been making =)