In Pursuit Of Imperfection 3 : Drawing. Why Bother

Drawing . I sent this e-mail this evening to a lady who was asking about the drawing side of what we do here at Rowden . I thought it might be of interest

Hi Silke

Nice to talk this morning.
The drawing course is probably the most important aspect of Rowden . I believe it makes more difference to your success or failure than knowing how to cut dovetails. That is as a designer or as a maker. I would not employ a maker who could not draw at least reasonably well. Its a sign that her eyes are working properly. To be a designer you certainly need to draw pretty well. People jump on to CAD programs and hope they don’t have to learn to draw but CAD is fundamentally uncreative. I have a mate who works in the Audi car design studio, all first concepts there are still pencil and paper.  You need as a creative to upload visual information all the time . The shape of that sea shell, those flowers on the country walk all get talen back to the studio and internalised . They get put in the back of head. This is you visual library of shapes that YOU like. This is your visual language, its what makes you different from everyone else. This is where the money is.
The other way is also important.  When you have a idea its important to down load it. Put it on paper now before its gone.  Five honest lines will do the trick, then you can forget it . grenada The drawing acts like a stick in the ground, you can return decades later to dig under that stick and find the idea fresh and clean and vivid. Don’t download and you burn up ideas with the morning sun they just disappear.
When you have to design, to create an image to a brief, you sit and down load. You put your visual brain into search mode, sit with a pad and watch what comes off the end of the pencil . How you set yourself up for this is critical . This we teach at Rowden, how to develop a brief, how to let it cook in your head then how to demand the solution even on a wet wednesday. After all you are a professional you don’t need the muse to strike you can do it when you have to.
Drawing isn’t hard, you need to WANT TO DO IT. You need to make a time in your day every week . Twenty minutes four times a week for a year and you will be good enough. This I promise you. Drawing like Leonardo is not necessary.
These will help you make a start
Betty Edwards Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
Betty Edwards Workbook
Betty Edwards was the first to identify that we need to shut down the command side of our brains and think visually . She has some great exercises that we use here at Rowden . The work book will help you if you are doing this alone . Doing it alone will take determination a good local class might help once you are feeling more competent but i know of very few drawing for beginner classes.
The Elements of Drawing  by John Ruskin  This is an old text but it contains all the steps that a young 18th century would be artist would want to make. Used selectively it can be a great guide. John Ruskin is one of my heroes.
I hope these gives you something to look at and think about
very best
david savage


David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

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