“I am not sure we are ever quite sufficiently surprised at our capacity to read image…”
Today I had a workshop as part of the widening participation department of the university. It was for P6 class from Gilmerton Primary school and was very productive. We only had 50minutes so not long. We started with very quick sketches first – one minute and thirty second exercises. That was to allow the children to get used to drawing quickly and to focus on capturing what they could see instead of worrying about the marks they were making being ‘correct.’
We were in the boardroom at the top of Evolution House, which has awesome views of the city and castle so we made use of it and drew the surrounding architecture. As a closing exercise, I got the pupils to draw a portrait of their friends without looking at their paper, which can be awkward but makes it a funny experience! This type of drawing is called ‘blind drawing’ and is often a warm-up exercise in life drawing classes. Again it makes the drawer focus on what they are seeing, rather than the marks their hand is mapping on the paper.
People can often get caught up in making a real-to-life drawing but in fact, the skill is noticing what is interesting to draw and studying it so you know it in your mind. You’ve mastered a drawing once you can imagine it, then you just need to execute it. These works were very brave for first-time blind drawings and it was great to see the most reluctant participant giving the tasks I suggested a go.
Gamble, Kim (1994) You Can Draw Anything A Little Ark Book:Australia
Gombrich, E.H. (1995 ) Art and Illusion Phaidon: