Drawing Lesson

Drawing 101

“Draw this,” the instructor said, three minutes into the Beginner’s Drawing class. A night class at the local high school, there were six of us sitting around a table in the Art Room, HB3 pencils in hand.

“If we could draw that,” whispered the woman sitting to my left, “you wouldn’t be here.”

I recognized the voice.

Together, we looked at a photo of five three-dimensional shapes and considered where to start. I took my pencil and studied the first shape, a cone. A triangle, more or less, so I started to draw.

“It’s not good enough,” she nudged my elbow, pointing to the lopsided shape I’d sketched. I erased it and started over. “That’s a little better.”

A cone, two spheres, an egg and a cube. “We’re never going to get those circles round,” she commented, as I carefully dragged my pencil across the paper.

I looked around the table to see how my classmates were doing.

“See, perfect shapes,” said the woman. “Your sphere? Why is it flat on the bottom?”

I erased it and started over.

The cube didn’t scare me—I remembered learning perspective from my 7th grade art teacher Mr. Yoho.

“Not bad,” said the woman, shaking her head side to side, “but you do realize the corners aren’t square, right?”

I leaned forward, pulled my shoulders closer to the drawing pad and tried again.

“Nice,” said the instructor as she walked behind us.

“She can’t be talking to you,” snickered the woman, “Look at that guy’s drawing, see how light and effortless his shapes are? That’s nice.”

“You know, I expected more from you,” she continued, getting louder. She was pacing now, back and forth to the beat of my pulse. “Surely you can do better than this. Try harder.”

I wanted to trip her, but I furrowed my brow, held the pencil firmly, and drew the final sphere.

“You haven’t learned anything,” she slammed her fist on the table—though no one seemed to notice. “I don’t think we should bother coming to the next class. What’s the point?”

Swallowing my tears, I looked to the instructor for assistance. Pointing to my drawing, embarrassed, my eyes asked “what am I doing wrong?”

“This is good, very nice proportion,” she smiled approvingly. “It’s a little heavy, though. You just need to lighten up.”

“No shit!” I laughed out loud.

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