No one said you had to draw well, just willingly. If I’m repeating myself on this drawing thing, it’s because it’s kinda’ important.

– July 22, 2014

On Drawing & Design, Part I

while talking with some colleagues a few weeks ago, one of them looked at me and said in mock amazement “What? A designer who also draws?” Ha ha ha. Laughs all around the room…

But I thought to myself, is this the new level of expectation for my profession? I’ve been teaching for 16 years, and have watched students become comfortable pushing pixels on a computer screen and resistant to pushing graphite across a sheet of paper. That’s a shame. Because as someone once told me, “drawing is the foundation for everything” – and that includes graphic design.

Some people will point to the Macintosh as the culprit, claiming that the ease and abundance of computer graphics has somehow circumvented an entire generation’s willingness to draw. I don’t know that I agree. I have always enjoyed drawing, I really enjoy my Mac, and now I really, really enjoy drawing on my Mac.

I do know this: young kids love to draw; all young kids. That means that all of today’s graphic design students who claim that they don’t like to draw did in fact like to draw at some point.

When I’ve asked about this, people have told me that they had an evil art teacher who quashed their love of drawing in grade school. Really? I had no idea that there were so many evil art teachers in America. Who are these evil art teachers? Will they eventually be replaced by the kids who are going through our Art Ed programs? Will these enthusiastic and passionate Art Ed majors somehow magically morph into the next generation of evil art teachers?

I need to alert my art education colleagues. But wait, maybe they are the ones behind this insidious conspiracy…

My grandson is just entering the stage where he is aware that his drawings are not just representations but they actually look like things. Pretty soon he will become aware of the drawings of his classmates as well. He will begin to recognize that the drawings of some of his classmates look more like things, and The drawings of others not as much. This awareness, over time, may influence his enjoyment of drawing. Hopefully, it will not. Hopefully, his interest in drawing will come solely from internal reasons and not from meaningless comparisons with others.

I already know that he has the genetics to become a designer should he choose to be one. But, what ever he wants to be, I hope that he never loses the pure joy that he feels when drawing as a five-year-old.

If you are a designer and you have lost your 5 year old’s joy for drawing, you need to figure out how to get it back. It’s kinda’ important.