I am reading a book I haven’t looked at for many years “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. This is a great book about drawing and sketching, along with her other book “Drawing on the Artist Within.” In both books she focuses on sketching as a technical skill, not a talent.
But why is sketching important, and is it only important to artists and architects. The answer is that it is important because sketching is not about art, it is not just about drawing, it is about looking and seeing the world, it’s about perception. Edwards believes that teaching the skills of drawing helps students to see the world and it helps them to use the right side of the brain to “see in new ways, with hopes that they would discover how to transfer perceptual skills to thinking and problem solving.”
This makes drawing a very important skill that should be taught to everyone at school. This wasn’t the case in my high school. You had to choose art if you wanted to draw. But the art teacher was useless. She sent us out to sketch things and when we returned she would critic our work, but she offered no lessons on proportion, observation, or any lessons on how to draw at all. So if you had no native talent, of course you couldn’t draw. As Edwards says in Drawing on the Artist Within that it is like giving a book to a child and asking them to read. When they can’t read the words, saying to them, “I’m sorry, you have no talent for reading.” That was my education at high school exactly. Lucky for me I had some great teachers at university.
In my previous post about sketching on an iPad I used software that allowed me to trace over photos. I’m still using the same software, but I’m also trying to draw with out the photos, “live drawing.” I see what Edwards is getting at, I am looking at things that I want to sketch more carefully, I’m looking at proportion, I’m looking at the scene more critically.
I came across this blog (http://laura.mtarx.com/the-importance-of-drawing/) that talks about the importance of drawing as an architect, but I think that drawing is much more important than that, that everyone should be able to sketch (in a rudimentary way) the idea or concept they are trying to describe.
If we want our economy to have people that are better at design, who are better at inventing, or better at describing their ideas, then we need to teach drawing to everyone.
Here is one of my latest sketches, Suva, Fiji.