If we were to wipe out insects alone on this planet, the rest of life and humanity with it would mostly disappear from the land. Within a few months. – E. O. Wilson
I am going to try something new here. And you all are part of the experiment. If it works, I’ll do it again. If it doesn’t work, I won’t. I bring out the shells students normally draw to learn about structure and texture. I also bring out my collection of insects (and lizards). I hear gasps from some students and note smiles on the faces of others. I don’t necessarily think everyone should draw a bug but I would like particular students to draw one, maybe two.
Shells and bugs are the general subject-matter. The insects I bring to class certainly have interesting structure but not all of them have a variety of texture. We proceed anyway. They need to arrange the forms and consider both the positive and negative space in the composition. And they use a magnifying glass. I expect some students will hesitate because they are nervous. Once they get past the initial fear they not only look at the bugs closely, but they hold them with kid gloves. They can’t help but draw with care.
I see the bugs are a challenge for a few of them, but the shells are always a challenge for the whole group so I let it pass. I ask (while they work and after) if they appreciate the result (if not the process). All of them answer yes.
Our conversation about insects and life sprinkles into the 4 days we work on these drawings. Here are a few samples. Enjoy the titles.
Susan is an advanced drawing student. This semester she is choosing to work on faces. Below is a portrait of a previous classmate. I would say Charles is interesting structure and interesting texture. He’s since cut his dreadlocks but here they are captured forever in this silver-point drawing.