I signed up.
The first exercise was a "contour" drawing: stare at an object and trace it WITHOUT lifting the pencil from paper and without actually LOOKING at what you're doing. "Go slowly," the instructor said, "your hand will outline what your eye sees."
Yeah? Here's the "vase" I "saw":
If you need a good laugh, seriously, right now, try it. Trace the outline of something without actually looking at the paper. You've just done a contour drawing!
We practiced this a few times and I kept snorting at my results. I wanted to try using my other hand just to mix it up even though I am NOT ambidextrous. "How much worse could it get?" I thought.
The instructor began circling the room to check on us.
Instructor: "How are you doing?"He excitedly grabbed my sketchbook and held it up to the class.
me: "Alright, I guess. I tried this with both hands and it's interesting that I can't really tell which hand did which." I pointed to my paper. "See? This was my left hand and this other one, my right."
Instructor: "Which do you prefer?"
me: "I'm right-handed."
"Look! Here's a GREAT example of how you need ABSOLUTELY NO MECHANICAL SKILL WHATSOEVER to do this exercise. None! See? She did this [awful, crude, primitive, toddler's rendition] vase with both left and right hands. If you ask me, the left hand actually looks a little better."
He circled the class, pointing to my scribbles. "No skill! None! It's perfect!!"
I brightened behind the easel, proud of my lack of talent. I was the class example for zero ability!
"See how her brain was less constricted by what she was 'supposed' to be seeing in the left-handed drawing? It's more symmetrical. It's a truer view of the vase."
He delivered the sketchpad back, adding, "See if you all want to try this" to the rest of the room.
The next class focused on "gesture" drawing. This involved scribbling out a shape in 15 seconds.
"It doesn't even have to LOOK like the thing," the instructor stated. "You really just want the *essence* of what it's DOING."
So, uh, here's the chair I was sitting on:
Quite clear, right?
I spent the next 2.5 hours scribbling things and fantasizing about how I maybe should have enrolled in something extremely inartistic like accounting. Every sketch seemed to exceed the previous one by an exponential factor of suck.
Then I got home, threw on some instrumental music and my brain lit up. Inspired, I tried one last sketch for the night:
I've never been able to draw faces before. People in general are extremely difficult. Either I needed those 2 hours to warmup or trance tunes act as calisthenics for the non-visual brain but I felt like maybe this class could actually help me learn to see.
If I could actually learn to create? Bonus.