Drawing was something that did not come natural to me at first.  I knew what I wanted to see on paper, but I could not translate what I saw in my mind’s eye to the page.  There were two significant instances in my life that helped me with this.

While studying abroad in Genoa, Italy during the Spring 2006 semester of my undergraduate work at Clemson University, I had my first drawing epiphany.  Much of our work involved studying the many piazzas, or public squares, in Genoa and other Italian cities.  We analyzed massing, texture, human movement, vehicular movement, vegetation and many other qualities of the city.  Here I learned to visually break down a scene into its parts to better understand what is in front of me.

A second significant moment for me was a drawing class that I took which was taught by John Gaunt, the Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Kansas.  There is a magnificent, gestural quality to his drawing style that perfectly captures the emotion of a scene.  He draws a human form as simply as you or I take a breath of air.  While in his class I realized that its okay if a drawing isn’t perfect.  “If you want perfect, take a picture,” he would say.  This allowed me to loosen up.  This also helped me further my understanding of composition and that a drawing is trying to tell a story.  Not everything in a scene is of significance, and it is up to the composer to establish a visual hierarchy.

All content © Copyright 2020 by W. Hunter Hanahan.