Mar 28, 2013

Workshop on Scientific Illustration

"We would hear our inner voice saying No, you are not meant for this everytime we try to do different things, learning to draw a picture for example", the speaker at the workshop organized by College of Natural Sciences in collaboration with Sigma Xi, CSU chapter, said.

True! I always wanted to try my hand at drawing. Not that I feel I'm an innate artist, I just want to know what I am capable of by putting it to a test.

"Expressing your ideas through art is a good practise. It helps communicating your ideas clearer and faster", he continued. For about 45 minutes, the speaker talked about various techniques to overcome the inner voice and master the art of drawing.

Like all creative works, drawing uses right part of our brain. When we start to draw an image, the left part immediately takes over and command us saying "this line does not look straight, it doesn't look like what-you-see at all, etc". The simplest way to overcome this voice is to try drawing illusions.

Draw a rough sketch of a human profile from a side angle. Now try drawing a mirror image of the profile and observe your thinking process. 

When I did this, I drew a replica of the profile instead of a mirror image! "This is the beginning. By practise, you will be able to overcome this and can draw mirror images at ease", the speaker explained.

Drawing mirror images triggers more response from right part of our brain, and after some time, we would feel the flow by losing track of time while drawing.

In the next stage, one should try to look at light and shadow and identify the shades. Viewing a particular scene through a rectangular frame would also make our life easier by telling us what to draw. One typical advantage in using  a frame is that we can draw a picture by looking at the negative space around the object within the frame.

Towards the end, the speaker showed various examples from Biology and Chemistry of how drawing helped scientists shape their ideas and communicate effectively. The most significant of those examples is a 3000 year old book on Tibetan medicine.


my drawing of a dry fern

Finally, the audience were asked to draw pictures of some of the objects we saw around. I tried my hand at drawing a dry fern, a flower vase with rose and a vow to draw many more in future.