|my apple, yum, yesterday|
Tonight I created a Cy Twombly masterpiece of pencil marks and lines and circles on a piece of paper, as a getting to know your pencil exercise to ease us into our Return to Drawing. Tutor Sarah Sanders guided through the range of soft dark B pencils, and helped remind us about the basics of manipulating a stick of graphite. As someone who used to draw all the time, but who now spends all his time picking up shoes after lazy customers, and writing blog posts about noisy builders and mouldy food, it’s great to get back in to some drawing. Peering too closely at the paper and holding the pencil by the nib, jabbing heavily at the paper, or waving my arm around and looking at the walls, wiggling the pencil by the end a patting spots of graphite onto the paper. Just getting to grips with pencil wandlore.
Then we metaphysically and (more importantly) literally stare blank-eyed into the gaping yaw of negative space. We don’t. We are actually suggesting the outline of an apple by studying the shadow it casts. First rule of drawing is that things don’t really have outlines like a cartoon; draw the shadows and not the shape. This is also the first law (or, rule; whatever you prefer) to be broken when you don’t practice enough; you can then justify it to yourself by saying if it was good enough for Pablo Picasso/Walt Disney/David Shrigley then it’s good enough for me. Well, that’s just not good enough, I tell myself – I want to draw things wot luk reel n that, liek hot chicks n mutant robots n bad ass ligers. But first I must master the noble apple, that forbidden fruit. Then and only then I can graduate from scrawling spunking dicks on toilet walls and library books.
The act of deconstructing a seemingly simple object like an apple and recreating it using implied line and shadow on a piece of paper, is hugely rewarding and satisfying. Anyone who claims not to be able to draw (I can only draw stickmen, is an amazingly common lie) would definitely be able to draw a convincing apple after a couple of hours enjoyable learning with Sarah. It really isn’t hard to draw. It doesn’t take accuracy and timing like a musical instrument. It doesn’t take technical know-how like digital design. It doesn’t take a sophisticated palate and clear sinuses like cookery. It doesn’t take years of training and constant practice and research like brain surgery. I can’t perform complicated brain surgery, is the truth for most people; I can’t draw, is a lie for everyone. All it takes is a piece of paper, a pencil, an eraser and a little bit of confidence and patience. (short lecture over)
The rest of the group all created great pictures of their apples, each with their own unique take on the subject. Of course mine was the best (I wish that were true, unfortunately the opposite is true... my evil twin’s was the best) and my mummy wrote my name in the corner with a marker pen and stuck it up on the fridge. Then I did eat all me tea, and now I have to go to bed.
Next Returning to Drawing is in two weeks time on 20th April (£5, at BLANKSPACE, remember). Please do come, it’s great fun and you’ll learn a lot. Plus you missed tea and biscuits, and even some marshmallows. Tomorrow night at BLANKSPACE is the opening of No Such Thing’s show Perception/Deception (6pm-9pm at BLANKSPACE, free booze!).