What Are You Building?

Sixth mansion of the moon

Originally uploaded by anselm23

Four years of drawing skills practice, and occasional forays into the Western Mystery Tradition, and the building of the Kavad, come to this: a slow but steady ramp-up of my drawing skills, to the point where I can craft a pair of pages that don’t look like they were put together by a kid with a crayon. This is what all of those whiteboard illustrations are aimed at, really — the ability to structure and create a design executed from my gradually-improving sense of how line and scaffolding work together to produce a sensitive drawing in a limited amount of time.

Over dinner the other night, one of my mother’s friends said, “drawing is thinking, and we don’t do nearly enough teaching of drawing-as-thinking to help get past the concept of drawing-as-doodling.”

Does this look like doodling to you?

Leave aside the subject matter for a moment, if you’re not into the magical worldview or astrological worldview it suggests. Notice that Dave Gray’s Semigram underpins everything in this picture: it’s all line and shape, all arcs and squares and simpl squiggles.

Come back to the magical worldview for a moment, or if you already hold the magical worldview, consider it from a teaching perspective. Gordon has noted how much power there is in the ability to carry around abstract concepts like love and death in a word. How much more powerful is it to be able to create, almost from memory, a visualization of two people in love?

There’s power in this. And we fail to teach it at our peril. If we spent a little of the time we spend on our official “academic subjects” every day, teaching visualization skills and drawing, we’d drastically improve the quality of people’s lives in a real hurry through education. And we’d produce a generation of artists and scientists and magicians in short order. Drawing is thinking, every bit as much as writing or reading or doing maths. It’s as reliant on memory and will and imagination as magic or other kinds of learning, and its secrets can only be opened by experience and experiment.

Via Flickr:
I’m not quite sure what this Mansion is for. I’ve never drawn it before, so it’s feeling rather new and unusual. The drawing came out fine. And it’s a picture to encourage love. On the other hand, it represents very forceful set of ideas and opinions — revenge and besieging towns and destruction of harvests and suchlike — so it’s not entirely clear that helping people fall in love using this mansion’s image is worth the trouble.

It’s also not clear yet if I should ink this image or not. I’m still thinking about it.

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