You Say You Can’t Draw…But Can You Write? (This is technically a trick question…)

Between packing for our move and working on the children’s book I’m illustrating, yes, I AM working on Cycle 3 tutorials.

While working on those, I ran across this fascinating quote from an 1885 report about the importance of teaching art in the 19th century American public schools.  This quote jumped out from that long (largely dull) report:

As Writing is only one form of drawing, learning to draw by the eye and hand must facilitate learning how to write.

-Testimony of “Mr Towne” From the paper, Ar tand Industry; Drawing in the Public Schools.  (1885) By Isaac Edwards Clarke

I’d never thought of it that way: writing is a form of drawing.  But it’s true!

Think about it-whenever we hand-write, we DRAW 26 (52 if you cound capital and lower case)  letter forms over and over and over.  We mix them up, alter them slightly, but we DRAW them, using the same strokes and skills we could also use for drawing.

It’s true drawing is a lot more flexible about HOW to draw something, but in the end, the stroke movements of the alphabet (the curves of the letters S or C; the straight and angled lines of L, K, M, I, and H; the Ovular letters of O and Q, and the blends techniques like letters B, P, and R) are the same stroke movements and draftsman (a person who draws) or artist uses to draw.

So this means, if you already can hand-write something like your name, you are ALREADY drawing.

Don’t believe me? Check out this comic artist.  He shows you step-by-step how to draw different characters.  My children saw this, and using a whole batch of post-it-notes (because who doesn’t like post-its?) created not only his characters, but a number of others after the video by mixing, matching, and coming up with their own variations.

The thing that caught my attention, however, was towards the end of the video when he talked about teaching people with brain injuries, including stroke survivors, how to draw.  The detail about their using their off-hand was really telling, and I tried it.  I’m VERY left handed, so this was astonishing for me.

He has two TED Talks, and some videos, so while you wait on me, check him out, and draw along with him.  I think you might be surprised at how well you too can draw!  (His second video is about the link between drawing and memory.  I think this year I’ll let me kids DRAW their notes, rather than writing them!


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