Archive for June 5th, 2010


When you look at an image you don’t necessarily know what’s going on right away.  That’s  a good thing.  It draws you in and engages your mind.  Look at this drawing.

We tend to read an image from left to right.  So you look at this object on the left.  What is it?  You don’t know. You’re frustrated. You give up.  Your eye drifts to the object on the right in the hope of finding something you can identify.  Well, this thing is confusing, too. Looks a little like a Helmut Jahn skyscraper, gift-wrapped.  Oh, no, could it be, yes it could…a shoe?  Hey, it’s a crazy shoe, maybe a purple alligator pump-me pump.  Never mind the ribbon, that would make walking difficult, but forget walking, it’s an object in the form of a shoe.  Check, got that right, identified one of the two objects on the page. Your eye now moves back to the first object on the left, that oval, and now you see that it has curved surfaces, indentations and strips.  Could it be, yes it could.  It could be the top view of a shoe. Pretty bad shape.  Looks like a soldier in Alexander’s army walked in it to conquer Babylonia, or whatever.  But now your brain has been exercised and that feels good.  You conclude that this page is not just an illustration but it’s an image.  An illustration would be a clear statement.  An image invites a deeper look.  It engages your mind in relational thinking where everything exists in context and you are left with more questions than answers.

When you’re drawing and you can produce an enigmatic image  like this, with wonderful markmaking, scribbling, and texture–you’ve had a good day.

The student, Maggy S., used these two National Geographic photos.  Our topic for the class was the human form. We had a table full of clippings that showed people standing, walking, sitting.  In the pile there happened to be these two zany photos and, voila, that’s what she chose to draw! An inspired choice, as it turned out.

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