Sunday, September 14, 2008

Four Ways to Draw

There are many ways to draw but most can be fit into four major categories:

1. Drawing as Art: Personal self-expression and exploration of media without necessarily an outside purpose. (far left) (Alan Saret, Gang Drawings)
2. Drawing as Visual Culture: Popular imagery from mass media, folk and cultural traditons, often for recreational or decorative purposes. (near left)
3. Drawing as Design: Creating new visual forms with functional applications - advertising, architecture, product design, etc. (near right)
4. Drawing as Communication: Visual communication to help others understand complex ideas and information. (far right) (Dugald Stermer)

If you look at the sketchbooks of Leonardo da Vinci you will see that at different times he drew for different purposes. He has sketches he did in preparation for major works of art, drawings of interesting looking people on the street he did to amuse himself, designs for inventions he created, and medical illustrations to document what he learned by dissecting bodies.

While many people love to draw, most people stop using drawing as a means of communication by the time they reach 6th grade unless required to do so in school. If students can be encouraged to continue drawing, like any second language, they will find it an essential tool for being more perceptive, improving thinking and communicating ideas more effectively to others.

Drawing can be done for self-exploration, recreation, application or communication. Each purpose has different conventions, expectations, and criteria and people often get confused when they apply the wrong criteria to a type of drawing.

Click on the images to see a larger version.

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