About Drawing and Other Impossibilities

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If you were to ask those close to me, including my family, they would tell you that I can’t draw. I couldn’t draw even when I was a little girl. You know how some kids get good grades in art class because they have this innate talent and others barely pass? Well, I was the second kind of child. I could never draw anything and it was pretty obvious it wasn’t something I would put on my resume. It’s probably one of those situations that you all know: some of you are in the first category, of people who could draw, and the rest of could never draw anything but those little cubes, using a ruler. However, it was never a very big problem for me, because drawing is not exactly a necessity. And then, when I went to interior design college, it became a necessity… at the beginning of the school year I looked in fear at my colleagues and told them I couldn’t draw. At all. It got a bit better when they told me they couldn’t do it either and it’s not very necessary for interior design because everything is done with special software. But then I found out that their ‘I don’t know how to draw’ meant they didn’t know how to draw well, while I couldn’t do it at all. And yes, it’s true, interior design is no longer about pencil and paper, but about 3DS Max, ArchiCad and such programs, but… the faculty did have drawing classes included in the curricula.

Obviously, my drawings got the lowest grades in the class. Because I was really good at the rest, teachers would turn a blind eye and gave me passing grades, but I can tell you I didn’t deserve them. I deserved to fail those exams. And it wasn’t because I wasn’t practicing. I was practicing for a minimum of 4-5 hours a day, sometimes up to 8. I was decided to learn how to draw, because it has always been my opinion that if you want something hard enough it’s impossible to not get it, and I also considered drawing is something you can learn with enough practice, even though you might not have been born with those geometry oriented eyes, that can see 2D lines in a 3D space and that hand that listens to the command of the brain. So I just practiced fervently. To no success! What I drew in school: cubes, mugs, cylinders, a light switch and an iron, basically things that could be drawn with the help of a ruler. The only slightly fluid thing I ever drew was this lamp with organic contours. I was so proud of it, although it was again the worst project in class.

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I remember that for the anatomy drawing exam, the teacher, aware of what my head and hand is capable of, after assigning various body parts to the rest of my colleagues, came over to my desk and with a deep sigh shuffled his prepared papers for a long time, until he found something easy enough for my level. What were my colleagues assigned? Torso, abdominals, hands in various positions, feet, basically the most difficult body parts. What was I assigned? A bone! The most basic bone, like the ones that dogs chew on in cartoons. Even so, I failed miserably and got the lowest grade in class!

However, this didn’t bother me much further than the college years. I learned the rest really well, I had an extremely good eye for color and composition, and drawing was far from a must, so I let it be and truth is I never needed it.

In the years that followed, various people I knew were surprised at how come I paint but don’t draw. Although the artistic world knows these are 2 different domains, painters generally start from drawing and work their way up to color, which is much more difficult and complex. I didn’t. I went straight for color and I stood there. I was so attached to it that I never felt the need to restart drawing. I never wanted to do landscapes or portraits, so I never felt a calling that way.

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However, everything changed December 21st. I was sitting down on the carpet in my living room writing poems; dim lighting, chill music. Next to me, my laptop with the music remained on a certain image, the photo of a person that is really dear to my heart. I have already been writing for a few hours, with my notebook in my lap. At some point, as I was sitting glaring at the image, probably inspired by the beauty of the features, I just put one of the pages of the notebook on top of the screen and started tracing the contours of the face with the pen I had in my hand. When I was done and I looked at what I “drew”, I just started laughing at how crooked it was and how swollen on the left side, as if his wisdom tooth was just coming out and how I wasn’t able to even trace a photo, let alone draw it.

Still, I thought, if it didn’t work out with the tracing, I wasn’t in the mood to write anymore, so why don’t I just draw it by hand? I have no idea how I came to that, but there it was! So I just started drawing, inch by inch, with my writing pen. To my surprise, although it was a very bad drawing, the face was recognizable! I was in shock! But not enough to not go on. I quickly looked for a pencil and eraser and restarted the drawing on the next page of the notebook. The pages were somewhat glossy, the pencil was slippery and squeaking like crazy, but I just went on. Inch by inch. Later on I realized it was an Ikea pencil, the kind that you take from the store to write you prospective shopping with, but it was the first I found in the drawer. I don’t know how long the whole process took, but I didn’t stop until it was ready and the result was a portrait that I never thought I would be able to make, not in my wildest dreams. Never ever! I searched for another photo, a portrait as well, and I did the same. The result was even better!

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And then I did this every day. Every night, to be more exact. I started drawing every portrait that I found interesting, of a known face or not. I was erasing a lot and redrawing because at first I was trying to make the drawing look like the picture. It wasn’t always the case. The characters were recognizable, but they did have a lot of faults. Then I found out there are methods to do this a lot easier and as a matter of principle you don’t just draw inch by inch, like I did. So I applied one of the methods and the portraits started to look like the photo so it was no longer interesting to me. What did become interesting was to take an image and turn it into something else. Into someone else. I was interested in the expressions, emotions, feelings and their coming alive on paper.

All this started exactly one month ago. From 0 drawing skills to the images you see attached it took exactly one month. I drew every night until morning. And I’ll keep doing this until I feel the need to do something else.

Suddenly, I can draw. How did this happen? I have no idea. My presumption is that among the many amazing absolutely science-fiction things that happened to me in the past few months, I opened the door to the universe wide enough that drawing also passed through. It is a gift that came to me out of the blue, absolutely unhoped for and fantastic, for which I have immense gratitude and I am still in the shock of first discovery.

I’ve been reading stories about people who could suddenly draw as a result of an accident that messed up a certain area of their brain. That is not my case. I’m not saying my brain is not messed up, I’m saying I didn’t have an accident. It just happened. If any of you have similar stories, I’m looking forward to them with all the love and interest. It’s not a must for me to kill the magic mystery of the world by finding out what happened, but it is a must to tell you that the moment I stopped fighting the universe, the world and myself, everything just naturally came to me. When I surrendered, I surrendered to myself. And I’ve been waiting for me for a very long time.

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