Several influences converged today to bring me to this post. In the CLMOOC G+ community, Susan Watson posted a slideshow with some good questions about the influence of photographic images. The Daily Connect gives us a day of grace, and in exploring past posts, I found this one. And then, I find myself near the end of the first Make Cycle, reflecting on one of the key words of the week for me, “liminal”, by literally drawing out my ideas.
When I was in third grade, we lived in a duplex in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. In the other half of the duplex lived a family with a teenage daughter. She drew…a lot. And I looked up to her, I think, and wanted to ‘be a drawer’ too, so I started to copy her style. One of the many pieces she showed me was of a woman in a Dolly Parton-like jumpsuit with a blank, mannequin-like face and a huge, teased hairdo. The hands were rudimentary, indistinct, and for a long time, that is how I drew them.
Drawing is a way of knowing ourselves and understanding our world and what we learn, and I used it without much examination of why I was using it for a long time. I wish I had some of the drawings I can remember so clearly: from eighth grade, the wedding dresses I would sketch on notebook paper for friends at lunch, or the page of little drawings of what people were wearing around my Florida middle school when I was in 7th grade, or the Native American dancers with huge buffalo headdresses I drew for a social studies project in a New York middle school social studies class.
At home, I would sit in a chair in the living room with a drawing board my Dad had cut from a piece of board and draw fantastic dresses, inspired by Bob Mackie and Edith Head, my two favorite designers. I went through countless newsprint pads and used pen or pencil, whatever was at hand. For a while, I would go to fabric departments and ask for their discarded pattern books and copy the clothes from them.
And now, drawing is a way of knowing, expressing, and understanding for me. The egg from earlier this week, which grew from some people expressing how overwhelmed they were by the flood of content in the CLMOOC:
My sketches while thinking about the meaning of ‘liminal'.
Throughout the year, I draw as a way of planning and expressing. In reorganizing the new desk in my classroom a couple of years ago, I drew it and labeled the draws with their functions. As the first day of school nears, I sketch out room arrangements and bulletin board ideas. In trying to describe an upcoming show, I take a marker and cover the whiteboard with rough, quick, drawings of sets and costumes.
I don’t think I’ve examined before how important expressing myself visually is in my daily life, but I realize that even the little charts and graphs, arrows and parentheses in my bullet journal show how it is not just words, but pictures as well that let me order my world.