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Title: Learning to draw : an active perceptual approach to observational drawing synchronising the eye and hand in time and space
Author: Brew, Angela C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 7868
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2015
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What happens when we draw? How do we transform the visible into lines, and how does drawing the lines transform our perception? The research explores these questions through analysis of physical behaviour in observational drawing, specifically the communication between eye and hand in time and space. By connecting new scientific models of expert drawing behaviour with enactive perception theory (Noë 2004), observational drawing practice and pedagogy, the thesis concludes that drawing is both an action and a form of perception, finely-tuned for detail by the coupling of the movements of the eye with those of the hand. One draws for perception, not from perception. The contribution of the thesis is the development of an enactive observational drawing method, based on the orchestration of eye and hand. While observational drawing is often viewed as more to do with looking with the eye than moving the body, this novel method teaches students to attend to coordination and timing, and its perceptual role. Students learn to draw by learning the dance of the eye and the hand, by developing rhythm. The thesis positions observational drawing as a dynamic embodied engagement with the world; ‘drawing with life’ or ‘drawing life’, rather than drawing from life. The drawing method is defined as presentation (distinct from representation) recognising that perception is transformed by the action of drawing and entailing that it cannot be re-presented, given that it only exists as it emerges. Perception is understood to happen within the movements of drawing. Drawing is described as a two-way conversation between eye and hand, whereby the eye learns from the hand, and develops a slower ‘hand-like’ way of looking, that enables drawing. The drawing method teaches students to move the eye in a slower more detailed way, scanning an object, to allow a fine-grained presentation. The project explores the use and potential of drawing in this way as a research tool, and develops methods for future study of the articulation of the body for observational drawing, and of the complex relationship between perception and action. The conclusion reached is that drawing requires orchestrated movements of eye and hand, and that due to the reflexive nature of drawing, with the action of the hand elucidating vision and in turn influencing the behaviour of the eye, drawing is itself a perceptual process. One perceives from drawing, rather than draws from perception.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Drawing