Drawing Presentations: Advanced Drawing: Why do we draw?

Last week, Fernando Magallanes’ advanced drawing class hosted three guests (Marc Russo, Patricia Morgado, and Bong-Il Jin) from the College of Design at NC State to give three short presentations on their drawing processes.

See links to videos below hosted by Vimeo.




What follows is an example of the writing piece assigned to students afterward.

Your assignment for this class is to take notes and write a one page reflection piece about how the three guests reinforce what you have been learning so far in the class, about different point of view on learning, practicing, or approaching drawing, and how you have will adjust your drawing habits due to the different presentations.

“The presentations yesterday were very valuable in their different approaches and points of view on drawing. There were several answers to the “why and how do we draw” question. First and foremost, everyone would agree that we draw to communicate. However, we can also draw to remember, observe, visualize/conceptualize, and think.

Our first presenter, Patricia Morgado, believed there to be a difference between drafting and drawing in that drafting would be for construction or presentation, while drawing is thinking. However, Bong-Il Jin believes that drawing and sketching are the same thing; sketching; and that drawing is only a tool (a pre-planned, mathematical tool). According to Bong-Il, “everything is a communication tool.” Therefore, a pencil is no different to him than a computer program; everything is a “sketch” until it is finalized into the product. However, there are rules that come along with sketching something; things like combining geometries (which aid in proportioning and volume), realizing where the vanishing point(s) is/are, and shading are important. The way he teaches drawing is not to look at the object and draw it at the same time, but to carefully and fanatically examine the object, measuring it with your hands (if you can touch it) and memorizing each detail. This develops hyper-sensitive observational skills, building a shape-dictionary of how objects are formed. I think this is also useful in the landscape; we have common shapes that exist in the real world (trees, paths, walls) that are re-combined in new ways to form new landscapes – just as these basic forms and functions are re-combined in industrial design to form something new. Another idea he espouses is copying and tracing. It is almost as though a mechanical memory needs to be built up about objects. His drawing process is more than “object to paper” but to observe, understand, memorize, and then sketch. Our brains are the mediators. Designers create things that never existed before, things that are an improvement upon what already exists.

Going along with drawing being a tool, the type of media used conveys what type of object it will be. Choosing a particular type of media can tell what type of scene, object, mood, etc. the designer is trying to communicate. This in some ways can be a “lie” or a “cheat” as Bong-Il would say. When selling an idea… “if the car looks better with bigger tires… draw it with bigger tires!” However, one cannot lie too much as this will produce some unhappy clientele as the final product is completed.”