I asked my 8 year old daughter what drawing was. She looked at me slightly aghast as if I were stupid to begin with but then replied ‘well it’s using a pencil and a paper’. I think many of us regardless of age if we played word association with ourselves and thought about drawing, the first words to come into our heads would include paper and pencil. Even the online dictionary defines drawing as:
noun: A picture or diagram made with a pencil, pen, or crayon rather than paint:‘a series of charcoal drawings on white paper’
mass noun: The art or activity of making drawings: ‘she took lessons in drawing’
Is this really all drawing is?
Well, the very first warm up activity in this course blew that definition away as we were encouraged to experiment with making temporary marks with a variety of different materials. So it is clear from the start that this course views drawing as much more than making marks on paper with a pencil.
I have started collecting books from the required reading list for Drawing 1 and this week the first arrived in the post. ‘Drawing Now – Between the Lines of Contemporary Art’ Edited by Downs et al. It was interesting to read in the preface that TRACEY the online peer reviewed journal who share editors with this book was set up with the aim to challenge what drawing can be. How drawing can be thought of in the familiar way as landscapes, figure drawings etc but how this can also encompass abstract and conceptual themes. They also state their main concern is with the subjective nature of drawing that might sometime challenge the signs of a ‘good drawing’.
In the introduction on page ix another interesting point is raised about how they selected drawings that had an emphasis on how the process of making the drawing contributes to its content too. Again this is something we have been asked to focus on from the very start with the mood drawings. As someone from a science background I have always found the process interesting, both the process behind mark making but also the process of making the materials used. I genuinely like to research the materials used and I have a natural urge to experiment with them in different ways to see how they can influence the outcome. This is something I hope to do more of as the course progresses and as I read more.
Sources of Information:
‘Drawing Now – Between the Lines of Contemporary Art’ Edited by Downs et al. IB Tauris 2007.