I have been taking a drawing class that has reminded me again about the importance of process. The most important rule for guiding children’s art activities is that the process is always more important than the product. This is true for adults as well. Process includes the space to explore art materials with freedom and without pressure. Process includes the freedom to experiment and enjoy the feeling of creating without being concerned with the outcome or the product. Process ends with creating something that is uniquely mine and not a copy of someone else’s.

Process is best when it is scaffolded. Scaffolding is breaking up learning into chunks and then providing a tool or structure with each chunk. This week the process I have been exploring is the making of marks which is basic to drawing. Our first step was to explore possibilities through doodles.

Doodling is simply the most playful, freeform type of drawing that exists. For the pure pleasure of drawing, doodling holds no boundaries and no rules. Sketchbooks provide the ideal venue for collections of scribbles, scratches, notes and ideas; all of which embody the spirit of the doodle. I was able to allow my subconscious mind to take over by filling a sketchbook page with my own dots, dashes, and scribbles.

Step One-play time with doodles

The second day was drawing objects that had texture and using marks to interpret the texture. The third day we used dots, dashes, points and scribbles to create solid shapes out of thin air. Using a folded stack of laundry the task was to follow a pattern across the shirt shape and describe it with marks, rather then outlining each piece of the pattern.

Step two-marks influenced by folded laundry

By now I was getting weary of dots, dashes, and scribbles but willing to continue the week. Day four was thinking about how more formal patterns work in a design. The goal was to create patterns from magazine clippings. I had enough time to find six clippings and interpreted them in color.

The culmination of the week was to take a field trip. I went to the Minnesota Zoo and found a nice corner that appealed to me in the Tropical Walk. I was feeling confident with the number of marks I had been working with all week. Not only had I expanded my vocabulary of marks but I had the opportunity to have seen the marks of others in the class. Using all of my materials, I created a drawing of the tropical area of the zoo only with marks-no line.

Minnesota Zoo-Tropic Walk

Drawing book author Mona Brooks writes about drawing being both a means of communication as well as a problem-solving tool. Through drawing I can see what I am thinking and also play around and transform my ideas. Drawing is part of a learning process rather than a learning product.

It was a week of exploring and learning. Can’t wait to see what I learn from process next week!