We’ve talked a lot on this blog about asking more questions, and always trying to ask better questions. The most creative people I know are usually the most curious, and they wonder how things work. I have never really been mechanically inclined. But I have read several times, and heard from many people, that if you want to know how something works, you have to know what it looks like on the inside. I’m never had the urge to take things apart and then put them back together. Whenever I have tried, it never goes well.
My substitute has become a primitive version of drawing. I say primitive because my ability to sketch is absolutely horrible. I took an art class as a Freshman in High School. By the end of the semester I was able to draw (and shade) a cube. I could also sit at one end of a hallway and draw lines on a piece of paper–I could draw a hallways. It just meant that down at the far end of the hall, everything got smaller. And that was the extent of my ability.
In parts one and two of this series, I have mentioned being inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci. One of the things I find so fascinating–and intimidating–about him is his ability to draw. But he did not draw just for the love of it. He drew to understand how things worked. It was a sort of visual brainstorming for those things that could not be solved simply by taking something apart and then putting it back together again. For example, birds in flight. Dissecting a bird was perhaps not enough to account for all of the variables that made a bird capable of sustaining flight.
I mention this example because in a replica of one of Leonardo’s notebooks, I saw endless sketches of birds flying. From every angle. With all sorts of notes scribbled in the margins, and doodles that all essentially looked like a million questions marks to me.
So, in an effort to stimulate parts of my brain that I can’t touch any other way, I have been trying to draw more. Normally, my sketching is limited to time I spend in meetings, not paying attention to what is happening. But now I’ve bought a notebook and everything. I am trying to find things, things I would like to know more about the mechanics of, and I am trying to draw them. I have to go extremely slowly and double check everything I do. Otherwise, the cube I tried to draw might turn out to be a weird blob. I probably couldn’t even sketch out the hallway anymore without serious effort.
Is it working? I have no idea. I certainly don’t feel less creative so far.
What do you think? Are any of you fabulous artists? Any tips for someone who is trying to learn how to draw? Anyone here who has seen the benefit or has done similar experiments?
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