I have always enjoyed drawing. However, drawing and Sports were two things I was never good at in School. I had a Drawing teacher who always insisted on having a black border line for all drawings. Weaither it was made using water colours, poster colours or sketch pens. The medium never mattered. She always insisted on the black lines which would define (or should I say spoil) the features of the drawing. I don’t think I need to say most of my paintings had a poor remark on them. Sports … I was never interested (I am not interested in it even now).
But when in my eighth grade I joined a special class in my school where in a new teacher trained me for a particular government exam (Elementary Drawing Exam). We called him Nadkarni sir (I don’t know his first name), and he was very good with the pencil. I remember he used to ask us to draw a line, any kind of line on the black board and name an animal. Within minutes he would convert the line into the animal we named. I still hold immense respect for him. He was the first guy who actually taught me how to draw and paint. For the first time in my life I got good grades in drawing under him. Not only was it a huge boost to my confidence with regards to drawing, it also inspired me to experiment with unconventional methods of drawing. I could not draw very well after the 3 month training session but my drawing had certainly improved. The examination itself consisted of three papers, Nature drawing (where they would give a flower and ask us to draw it on our drawing sheets), Still life and Scenery. I cleared the exams; Not exactly with flying colours. I got a C Grade overall, but I did manage to pass.
I took those classes for a reason I can’t seem to remember. I guess I just wanted to draw a little better than what I was doing then. Clearing those exams were a bonus. My interest in drawing did not wane away after that, but I never took the next step to learn and draw better after that. Nor did I have teachers like Nadkarni sir teaching me drawing. But the passion to learn and do better was always there.
After completing my engineering, I started to try and build on the base my teacher provided me with. It was not all that easy, although I could draw line diagrams, shadows and shadings were a nightmare. I tried every approach to do better and failed. Until I came across a book called “Drawing from the Right Side of your Brain”. It was literally drawing demystified for me. Many of the things actually came as a revelation to me. I could understand clearly why I could draw profiles better than foreshortened views before I began learning from the book. The author also spends some time building your confidence and convincing that drawing is not all that difficult. I bought the book a year ago. And started building my skills one step at a time or should I say one chapter at a time. I am almost at the fag end of the book where I am actually supposed to draw my own portrait.
I must say I was very skeptical when bought the book. But by now, I feel I can draw much better. The techniques mentioned in the book did work. As I mentioned above, Drawing is de-mystified for me thanks to Dr Betty Edwards. I have still not drawn my portrait, but I tried my hand at drawing my role model and I think I was pretty successful at it. I do not think that I have actually learnt all the techniques mentioned in the book. The Negative spaces concept is still beyond my reach. There is also an exercise wherein you actually draw with a eraser !!!! .
I still have miles to go and a lot more to master. But the journey seems to be much easier now. Drawing from memory will be a totally different ball game and I need to perfect that if I want to improve. I am still using my picture frames to complete my drawings. I hope that by the next year, I will be able to post a much more detailed and precise colour picture of Albert Einstein.