As the Vancouver Draw Down approaches on June 15, Vancouver artist and Draw Down workshop leader, Elizabeth MacKenzie, reflects on the importance of drawing in everyday life.
When someone says, “I can’t draw,” I refuse to believe them.
It’s easy to become overly focussed on the practical aspects of our daily lives. We forget the importance of activities that allow us to reconstitute ourselves as individuals within a world of possibilities. We forget about the pleasure of drawing.
Drawing can and should be for everyone. When someone says, “I can’t draw,” I refuse to believe them. There are so many ways to draw: based on observation, memories, the imagination or the random movement of a tool across a surface. We drew as children and chances are you still draw—when you doodle, make maps, sign your name…
Contrary to popular belief it’s not hard to draw. It doesn’t require special tools or knowledge. Drawing doesn’t need a purpose or agenda. It’s about creating marks and communicating with ourselves and others. No drawing is ever perfect. A drawing’s failure may be its greatest strength.
Drawing is a practice. The best way to learn to draw is to do it over and over again. The process of drawing, the pleasure of creating a mark on a surface, is as important as the outcome.
Drawing is about noticing relationships between things and making comparisons. It’s about recognizing the possibility for improvement, while appreciating what has already been accomplished. It’s about handling materials and working with and against the tendencies of those materials. It’s about noticing something new about the subject or the process every time you draw.
Drawing is a form of meditation. It’s about being committed to the here-and-now, staying attentive to the hand as it moves across the page.
Drawing isn’t necessarily a solitary activity. Great pleasure can be found in drawing side-by-side as well was through collaborative drawing. Shared drawing can help overcome ‘outcome anxiety’ through the process of creative exchange. Our own creativity is celebrated as it interacts with the creativity of others.
The act of drawing is an opportunity to create and recreate ourselves every day.
By Elizabeth MacKenzie, guest blogger. Elizabeth MacKenzie is a Vancouver artist who tries to draw everyday. Her work in drawing, installation and video has been presented in numerous exhibitions and screenings across Canada, United States and Europe. She maintains an ongoing commitment to collaborative and community-based art practices, critical writing and teaching. Visit Elizabeth’s blog. On June 15, join Elizabeth for a collaborative creature drawing workshop at Thunderbird Community Centre from 1 – 3pm. Instructions for “Creatures,” a fun and easy collaborative drawing activity, can be found on the Vancouver Draw Down website (scroll to bottom of page for instructions).