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Drawing grows braincells that don't talk to me... - Elf M. Sternberg
Drawing grows braincells that don't talk to me...
Drawing is, I believe, an essential life skill, and that I regularly let it go fallow bothers me. But every time I take up the pencil again, I get this weird, hesitant emotional response to the act of illustration.

I realized the other day why learning to draw bothers me. It's because the brain cells that drawing forces to grow and mature don't talk to me.

I've known a few other geeks like me: the kind of people who, when they learn something deeply interesting and profound, can feel the brain re-arranging itself. It might just be the prickles of our scalps responding to the deeply intellectual challenge of understanding something complex, like a new level of set theory or grasping functional programming, but it's a validation that the process is working, it's a sensation I've learned to really enjoy-- even though it hurts the way exercise hurts-- and at the end, I can express myself better.

Programming and mathematics are forms of human expression. They allow us to say things we couldn't say any other way. The constant emergence of new programming languages is part of the process of looking for new and better ways to say the stuff we programmers want to say. The uplift to functional programs-- programs that get away from the muck of how we express things and more clearly express what we want to say-- has been a huge leap.

But all of these skills are verbal skills. We may have symbols like '@' and '>>=', but we use words like 'at' and 'bind' to communicate with each other and ourselves. We can label them. Their meaning may be more subtle than that, may be contextual, but at least they have labels.

Even music starts off with labels, at least the way I come at it: clefs and staffs and notes and bars. I realized, watching a jazz trumpeter do his thing the other night, that he had gone past the labels and was communicating through his instrument what he wanted to say at that moment, but talking to him afterward, even he admitted that it started with symbols, with the clefs and staffs and such.

Drawing has none of that.

Oh, sure, you can start with ball-and-stick, mannequin, perspective lines, but even the most rudimentary drawing requires skills that have absolutely zero verbal components. You can't even let the words get in the way: that's what classes like Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain are all about: getting the words out of the way. And since I can't talk to that part of my brain, since it doesn't talk back in the verbal way with which my very noisy brain is familiar, it bothers me.

I think I should explore that further.

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Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: Ayreon, Dawn of a Million Souls

3 comments or Leave a comment
dv_girl From: dv_girl Date: June 10th, 2013 04:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
elfs From: elfs Date: June 10th, 2013 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
That looks like fun. Sadly, I don't know that I'm brave enough to go there.
sirfox From: sirfox Date: June 10th, 2013 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
The ball and stick, basic proportion and perspective elements are tools for expression, rather than the means for expression itself.

The communication comes in far more (for me, at least) in what is done with them. The elements of expression and communication are like stills from a dance. It's a different medium of communication, certainly, but maybe a useful perspective to consider the exercise from.
3 comments or Leave a comment