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From:     J
Category: Art
Date:     30 May 2007
Time:     05:07 PM


As a graduate of the ruskin school of drawing I feel I have to put my tuppence in. The place that most 
put me off drawing ( I mean formal classes in the subject) was the Ruskin, we had to do, as a remnant 
of oxford stuffiness, anatomy and life drawing. I found it stultifying, I don't like being told what to do, the 
teacher was tedious, and I couldn't see the point of studying muscles and doing exercises in drawing 
the figure. Wrong time for me, bad tutor, you might argue. Proves nothing. 

Still I feel the  ideas you put forward tie into my experiences, the idea that drawing is a language that 
we can learn, and that it will be the building block or framework we will keep using. This is often a 
disguised conservatism, a  mask concealing a distaste for less verifiable visual art, another way of 
saying we must all learn skills or otherwise  it is all  just a sham. Close to the art is bollocks brigade

Why the hierarchy? Copying a photo is inferior to drawing a figure? Well the old masters, when they 
were young novices used to just copy etchings and drawings, they weren't less loose on reality. Did it 
undermine their later efforts? 

Why life drawing and not still life, or drawing from casts (the primary 3D source for most 19th century 
students) or hours of training in cross hatching or serious anatomy, or Bauhaus drawing, or drawing 
squares and circles, or any other system or rubbing a mark-making material on some kind of surface. 
Why not just train to draw only from memory (for it's all in the head anyway). ??

How have you decided that drawing, especially life drawing, is at the core of it all. Maybe if you skip it 
you might get something new happening. Maybe we should all start with oil or watercolour so that we 
never learn to reduce things to line, such an abstract idea anyway. 

Art is a way of thinking where there is no language to guide us, where we should make it all up as we 
go along, where we have such a rich history, and the freedom and urgency to destroy it all. No, life 
drawing (or even drawing itself) isn't the way we need to start, it could be anything from photography 
to cartooning to gardening that will give us a visual way of thinking. You are right about having a good 
teacher, but that teacher, whatever they teach, will give you the thirst for more, and it doesn't matter 
what you start with.

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