Importance of Drawing in an Art Curriculm

The Guardian makes a strong case for the importance of drawing. No arguments from me! Cavemen drew on the walls of caves, and people continue wanting to leave their mark. Painting might have been the star when I was in art school and sculpture might attract all the attention in Japan, but it is no secret that I love drawing! I love drawing on unusual media. I was blessed to have wonderful drawing professors who were not involved in school politics: Steve Gouthro, Alex Bruning, Sheila Butler, Diana Thorneycroft, Eleanor Bond, and many others around me who were passionate about drawing. They had very different styles and that was a good thing.

I missed figure drawing in Japan and was ecstatic when I finally found a class in Kitakyushu (southern Japan). My whole body came alive when the conté crayon scratched a line on the paper. I was told my lines “ran”. In Kanto, I have several choices ranging from drawing studio groups that new friends run and the monthly Dr. Sketchy sessions. I only wish that my figure studies were accepted as completed works of art, aside from the ones that friends have framed on their walls.

When I got fed up with the politics, travel distance, and pollutants of the printmaking studio, drawing was my salvation. I went back to what I remembered enjoying at school. The colours provide a nice contrast to the blacks, greys, and beiges around me. Toxic chemicals are few and far between. Pencils are portable. Little kids can believe that they can make magical pictures by drawing with something as lowly as a pencil that they already have at home. If people choose to then paint, that is okay with me, too. Drawing is still the backbone for that and any other medium.

Drawing is essential. Even the cats try their hands at it.

PS This why I can easily find the link to that article again! MZ


Drawing a Bancho with a Bad-Ass Attitude

I went to Jun Matsushima’s drawing group at a renovated elementary school that serves as a community centre in Shinagawa, Tokyo the other day. I was a little late, but the model was even later because he had lost his wallet. That might have caused his bad attitude but probably not. I almost got into verbal fisticuffs with him over the term, “gaijin“. To me them’s fighting words. Regardless of my personal feelings, he came dressed as a typical Japanese delinquent and brought the long stick that is often used in gang fights. His clothes hid his body and his movements. He was playing an uncouth character and used it to his advantage. Although his early poses were typical of a Japanese male with attitude (pretending to smoke or urinate in the street), his later poses were more dynamic. We are meant to learn from such challenges, aren’t we?

NOTE: Interesting how the paper shows up more blue after being uploaded here. The photos were not as blue or green in iPhoto. I guess something decided to compensate for the blue crayon and pencils that I used. MZ