Lies My Brain Told Me

Scientific American Mind magazine's July/August issue has an article by Valerie Ross that looks at the problem of untelling a lie. It seems our brain is hard-wired for 'first impressions' and information that we later discover is false still lingers and can affect our judgement.

This holds true for drawing as well. There is an online epidemic of methods, techniques and How To's for making terrible art. Follow the steps, watch the online tutorial and at the end you have pictures that look like they were made by 'Slap Chops'. 

My first impression/introduction to life drawing was through a course that used a book called 'The Natural Way to Draw'. I read a recent review of Kimon Nicolaides, 'The Natural Way to Draw'--too wordy and over emphasizes gestural drawing. Well it was written in the late 1930's so I suspect words were important then. Too much gesture! How the hell can you have too much gesture? I would suggest that his simple approach to observing from life, contour drawing, gesture and tone is more relevant than the 272 million search results in Google for 'How to Draw'.

That's not to say that Nicolaides had all the answers-I just think his approach is one of the least harmful, as he said,"The job of the teacher...is to teach students, not how to draw, but how to learn to draw." He was one of those frustrating folk who likes questions better than answers. We all crave certainty, even if it is a lie.