Teaching: Drawing and Creative Processes

Teaching: Drawing and Creative Processes

When working together with art students my intention is to of course not show how to draw the way I draw. While I am sure I could instruct someone to draw the exact same way I do it would be all together fruitless and would become quite boring pretty quickly. I instead perceive myself as a vessel through which I have accrued all kinds of experiences; most of which in one way or another I have made sure to express. I have drawn while I have been elated, sad, feeling euphoric, frustrated, heartbroken, lost, homesick, indecisive, while feeling ill, while confused, while feeling ridiculously excited, while under pressure and so on. It has not always been a pleasant experience and yet I am reminded daily as to the gratitude I should always have towards drawing. I have lived a life - or at least the most part of my 20s through the drawing of lines and I have the endless number of sketchbooks to document it all.

Siri @ Aarhus Kunstskole

When teaching it is this approach I want to share with others. The idea of the drawing tool enriching my experience of the world and being fortunate enough, in most cases to have remnants of my experiences in this world - a pen, pencil or whatever device you employ for making marks into paper, sand or even the air.

I run through various technique-based exercises but often have to remind students that nothing significant can be achieved in the space of a few hours and that all such exercises are to be deployed again and again; and then engineered to suit their own purposes. It is my task to reveal to students how enriching drawing can be, how drawing can also compliment, support or inform an artist who is perhaps more predisposed to video-making, clay sculptures or even performance. At its very root drawing is a tool interconnected to every other art discipline.

I remind the students of the endless capacity of their own creativity reminding them of the infinite different artistic styles which lie dormant inside. So there's a lot of sharing and 'cross-pollination' in the exercises. If someone draws with sketchy, delicate lines I encourage them - just as an exercise - to draw with heavy, fast and brutal lines. If someone happens to carry out an exercise where they draw small, then I often find it fruitful to partner this person up with the student in the room who is predisposed towards drawing big and without so much attention to detail. By all standing on the same level the room quickly becomes an engine-room for development. I consider myself as much a student as anyone else in the room. While I am piloting the class through the exercises, I constantly work to uphold something of a flat 'power structure' in the classroom - the spirit that we are all in this together. More often than not I myself learn something entirely new for every class I teach.

I often take students out into the public to also reduce the whole self-conscious gene that often comes with first breaking out and drawing while in public. I want to instil in people the confidence to draw in a cafe as confidently as one would pull out their phone to send a whatsapp message.

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