In response to Mark Crilley’s video entitled “Why Do You Draw?“.
Lately I’ve been the in the market for “How to Draw” books, because I feel like I haven’t gotten better in my recent attempts at teaching myself illustration. I suppose this is due to the fact that illustration takes years–decades, even—of training your brain to listen to your eyes and translate that information to your hand. Or I’m just lazy and impatient.
Anyhow, I stumbled across a copy of Betty Edwards “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. In it, she talks about how as children, we essentially like to draw so much because we don’t have the faculties to observe our drawings critically. We know that the sun is a big yellow thing in the sky, that a house is shaped like a triangle on top of a rectangle, and that Mom and Dad are supposed to to be bigger than their children. We don’t care about how it’s supposed to look because we only know what we can directly observe. Plus, when we are children, we are not expected to produce hyper-realistic drawings.
Yet when we get older, and don’t bother picking up a pencil to draw again until a school project, we still retain our childlike skills. Criticism instantly floods in. We know what things are supposed to look like, and when they don’t fit what we know, we reject it. It’s even worse when the creator casts it aside.
Essentially, that’s where I might becoming from in this whole process.
However, regarding Mark Crilley’s question as to “why” people create things, he refers to the “pure artist” that creates art for themselves vs the “extrinsic artist,” as I refer to it—the artist who creates art solely for the approval of other people. Since I happen to be dabbling in many artistic fields at this time, my answers vary.
I draw because I was inspired by a friend of mine who never gave up at her dream to become an artist. (I also love art when it’s not in a classroom setting, because the teachers grade you at a level you’re nowhere near). She worked tireless hours and produced some of the finest work written and visual that I’d ever been exposed to. And so, me being the child who hardly ever picked up a pencil to draw, is try to becoming a better visual artist, because the general majority of those who have found the rhythm between their eyes, their mind, and their head are seriously under-appreciated. I also wish to bring my written characters to life in more mediums than writing alone. (I still have the notion of possibly writing a comic book someday).
I started writing music because I didn’t like playing it on the piano. I took piano lessons for a few years and grew tired of having to sit at the piano doing scales over and over again. My sight-reading skills at were also very deficient, which made learning songs so much slower than they needed to be. But I have a great ear and penchant for rhythm; once I learned heard a piece I could memorize it and only be looking at the keys instead of sheet music. I could’ve been a pianist if I wanted to, but I decided I’d try composing instead, and am enjoying it on and off. When I compose, I tend to hear what I like and hear what I don’t like in a communal feedback process with me and the program. Yet there are still chords that I still don’t know how to reach instantly and so I have to experiment to find them, which takes awhile. This is the most “pure” field of art that I am currently delving in, since I am doing it for my own curiosity and listening to my inner ear’s desires.
I write stories because I learned to write at an early age, and I feel that I owe the part of my childhood-self the chance to become better at this art. I wrote my first story when I was five years old and read it to my class. In middle school, I wrote in journals, but I was afraid to share my work with other people. During that time, I would’ve been a “pure artist” because I wrote solely to make myself laugh or see how well I wrote a story. Once I began sharing my writing with other people in a comfortable environment where I was not judged harshly, I became more of an “extrinsic artist” that thought more about what my audience would accept or reject.
As of now, I barely write any stories, but occasionally write a few poems or flash vignettes. But from what I generally observation, if I wish to convey how I feel after a certain event or the feeling I get when I listen to music, I feel I’m more of a “pure artist” because I don’t think about what others may think of it if I were to share it in some way. Yet if there is something intellectually stimulating or entertaining I wish to create, I am more of an “extrinsic artist” that is willing to have feedback from other people. I suspect that as I get older, those areas will blend and criss-cross. Yet I hope to retain the childlike-part of me that does not care what other people think all the time, but only cares what other people think when it matters.