I was reading through the reviews of The Natural Way to Draw on Amazon, and one reviewer said something that made me stop and think: how much time do you want to spend on this? If you just want a quick education, you’d be better off with another book. This book is a wonderful art study, but also very time-consuming: 25 15-hour sections, which comes out to nearly 375 hours of work. That is an hour a day for a year, or (if you work more intensively), about 5 months at 20 hours/week. By comparison, the exercises in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain will get you up and running in a week or two, though it’s not nearly as in-depth.
There is a compromise approach. Bert Dodson’s Keys to Drawing also comes extremely well-recommended on Amazon, and has 48 lessons in which to practice technique. I could probably get through it in 3-5 months of part-time study, and it would give me a good solid grasp of the basics.
Part of me wants to dive right into the intensive study (because I love challenges, and want to be first-class at whatever I do), the other part is saying, “Whoa! Do you really want to spend this much time learning how to draw, when your primary focus is fiber arts?” So I am torn between the two.
I think I will spend a good chunk of today reading both books, trying to understand the different approaches, and then choose one to stick with. In the end, though, I don’t think it will be an intellectual decision, but an emotional one: which will I enjoy more? Which will give me more satisfaction at the end? In that sense, I am leaning towards The Natural Way to Draw, as I feel its exercises are more emotional/nonverbal/discovery-oriented, and Keys to Drawing is more rule-based and intellectual. Both approaches are perfectly valid and the second one will get me drawing much faster. But I have the feeling that The Natural Way to Draw also addresses how to think (and feel) about visual art, and I suspect that Keys to Drawing is more technical in nature. But I really need to read both books to be sure.
Today’s agenda includes a mini fashion show – Sharon, my collaborator on the wedding dress, is hosting a small couture fashion show with about 20 participants. She’s asked me to bring the wedding ensemble, so I’m going to get gussied up and model it! It’s exciting taking it out of the closet after being in storage for several months. It was a trifle wrinkled but a good steaming has straightened it out, and it looks good as new. I had forgotten how beautiful it is.
The rest of the plans for today include packing up the dye workshop (strange to be putting it away after an entire summer of obsessive dyeing), sprinkling the fruitcakes with liquor, doing some more drawing exercises, and maybe going for a bike ride. I might also get to work on the peacock feather shawl, though I’m not feeling terribly motivated to weave. Everything in its time – my weaving obsession goes in spurts, and I imagine I’ll be back to it soon.