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The extraordinary growth of interest in drawing and painting and the large number of students of art testify to the fact that the graphic arts need not be restricted to "professionals" as was the case until comparatively recent times. The amateur—and the word is used in its best sense, i.e., "one who loves"—has come into his own with the stimulating advent of what is loosely called "modern art." Because of the greater call upon the intuitive and less stress upon highly developed technical skills which were the indispensable preamble to the practice of "academic art," students of modern art are able to approach the creative stages of drawing and painting without a long apprenticeship in the somber halls of the old art institutes.
It is not implied here that modern art is "easy" or that the creation of good drawings and paintings does not call for as serious and intense an approach as did the works of previous eras. Respect for the tools and techniques of the craft and mental and emotional integrity are still basic requirements. However, the path is clearer and the means of expression are more direct for the modern student.
As the study of drawing and painting becomes less a highly technical craft and more a direct means of free expression, the teaching methods have become less and less intrusive upon the personality of the student, and the teacher has in most cases become the guide to simplification and an advisor in the search for essentials.
The title of this book, The Draw Anything Book, is not intended to convey the impression that the student, in learning how to draw all things in the same manner as indicated here, no longer needs to study drawing. Nor is it claimed that the methods and systems employed here are the sole or best ones. One can no more translate drawing into set, immutable methodology, its linear and tonal variations bounded by rules, than one can limit the explorative possibilities of the eye and the imaginative vistas of the mind. Drawing, like speech, encompasses the range of human statement, its power and subtlety dictated only by the co-ordinative aptitude of the mental and physical. Like a language, one may learn its grammar and conventions of terminology. A primer for approach may be acquired and, with practice, a dexterity of manual and visual analysis may be evolved to aid the beginner in his early stages of development. Beyond this stage, again as in the use of spoken language, the highly personal equation of the individual enters and the departures from restricting styles and methods are as innumerable and variable in quality and strength as are the spoken statements of individuals.
Without a basic primer a student of the drawing language may stammer and struggle with drawing idioms. With it, while carefully avoiding clichés, he may establish a firm point from which to make his own art statements.
In this dictionary of drawing most of the objects dealt with are of a generic nature in that they are the basic forms of the most common species of each form of life, still life or manufactured object.
The instruction method used here is to reduce each object to its simplest structural essence and build from that point a simulation of the three dimensional in terms of the flat, two dimensional graphic and thereby symbolize the "real" object. A simulation or a symbolization are all that the artist can hope for and all that he should desire to accomplish.
The "realist" in art is, at best, one who evolves a facsimile, a representational image, one which conveys most of the physical surface truths of the object drawn. Beyond a certain point even the most expert realist must trust to symbols and suggestion, and that is where art begins and the creative elements enter.
Excerpted from DRAW ANYTHING by Arthur Zaidenberg. Copyright © 2009 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
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Posted February 24, 2014