Okay, I’m thinking it’s about time I learned to draw. I mean, properly draw, not just any old rubbish. Currently, I would say I’m kinda… okay… at drawing. Not dismal, but not particularly anything to write home about either, and besides, my pictures never come out the way I imagine them to in my head. My style is far, far too cartoonish, which is great when I mean to draw cartoons, but not so good when I’m not. It seems no matter how hard I try to make my pictures look muted and soft, they always come out too vivid and colourful (see my last post for an example). That was meant to be very subtle, it was meant to evoke feelings of loneliness, and that quiet, calm, achey feeling you get when you’re all cried out, but instead it looks like something out of… out of Neopets.
GCSE Art was a total waste of time. Not once did we ever learn any drawing techniques. Not at all, ever. My teacher – I will call her Ms C – actually refused outright to help any of us, just because half the class were messers.
I performed consistently at grade D, until the final exam project – Change – when I eventually succumbed to the pressure to be pretentious. Yep, it didn’t make the slightest difference how well you could draw – or not – what it came down to was how well you could pretend to admire other artists and ‘be influenced’ by them. All I had to do to bolster my grade D to a grade B was to add all these silly footnotes to my sketches about how deep and signifying they were, and write lots about how I was SOOO influenced by this, that and the other.
Although, actually, the last one was kinda fun. Because the theme for the final exam was Change, all I really had to do was copy another artist’s work and change it around a bit. The best thing I remember doing was some Fauvist artist’s pic – I can’t remember who – but it was a picture of a bridge, I just drew a (cartoony) copy of it. Tada! Change! Then I had a better idea. I painted a copy of the Lichtenstein WHAAAAAAM! painting – you know the one – and replaced the crashing aeroplane with Michael Schumacher slamming into the tyre barrier – Silvertone 1999 – with Mika Hakkinen driving away in the foreground. Then I went back to the Fauvist dude, replaced the boat with Mika Hakkinen’s car, added captions to both paintings to incorporate the comic book theme and there you had it! See? That’s how easy it is to get a grade B at GCSE Art. By poking fun at others’ misfortunes, and being pretentious.
The genuinely pretentious students were the most annoying.
Anyway, I digress. Back to my recent attempts to learn to draw. I am reading a book called How to Draw Anything, by Mark Linley. It’s not bad you know, and the author – a self-taught artist, which is heartening – has a cool sense of humour. Drawing is not a talent – it is a skill and can therefore be learned by anyone who has the ability to write the alphabet. The biggest barrier to learning to draw is the belief that you cannot do it. So now you know.
So far I have done three of the tasks, and I have to say, I am quite pleased with how far I’ve got. And already I have learned more about drawing than I did in the entire two years of Art GCSEs.
Anyway, I will leave you to judge my first three lessons. Please bear in mind that I was lazy and did not draw the pictures in pencil first. I did them straight in pen, so all my mistakes are there in their unaltered glory!
That’s all for today, folks. My target is to attain such a skill level that I can draw this Pit picture – without tracing – because profile portraits have always been so hard for me, but you never know. I’ll let you know if I get there!