Wednesday, March 19, 2008
three drafts, in progress
A few months ago, during a figure drawing class, my teacher gave me the most humiliating criticism I've received in a while. Possibly ever. She looked around at the other students' sketches, rendered in dramatic high-contrast charcoal and conte, then looked at pen-and-ink figure on my board.
"You need to start over," she said.
"Oh. Um, why?"
"Because your portfolio looks like a coloring book."
Man, that hurt. It still hurts. I've been trying to work on a series of small graphite portraits of my friends and friends of friends, in the hopes of learning more about light and form without having to deal with this spacey old bat breathing down my neck, but it's hard to brush off a blow that low.
And, ironically, I think the problem I have with these portraits is that I can't shake the feeling that they'd be stronger in a more linear (illustrative?) style.
With the possible exception of the first one, I think that the graphite and attention to form and light makes the portraits look kind of hokey. They look like they might be on the cover of one of those brochures you saw at your guidance counselor's office in middle school, mantled with dust and bearing titles like "What You Need to Know About Chlamydia" or "Marijuana: What's Up With That?" Maybe it's just me, and my teacher's right, but I dunno. I guess I'll do a few more and see if they look better in the context of a bigger series, or I'll bring out the shadow more and see if that changes anything.