I had this intimidatingly fantastic drawing professor during my freshmen year of college. His name was Professor Dugan, and he was the first, and quite possibly the only, inspiring art teacher I’ve ever had. I actually learned to draw under his instruction. He pushed us in ways that were so excruciatingly aggravating at the time, but so appreciated now. The first time he told me to throw away a drawing I had spent hours on I thought I was going to throw up, but he taught me to not be too attached to my work. That sort of attachment was a blockade and prevented me from developing my work further.
I still use the techniques I learned from him to this day. The greatest drawing trick he taught me has since become the greatest life advice I’ve ever received.
Professor Dugan taught us how to draw, among other things, lines. We spent hours drawing lines. Not just any type of lines, straight lines. Without rulers. Impossible, you say? No, not at all. It’s very much possible. In fact, I rarely ever use a ruler anymore when I draw lines, much to the amazement of my students and peers. Here’s the trick…
Keep your eye on where you’re headed, not where you are. Don’t focus on your hand or your pencil. Your eyes will magically guide your hand to your destination point, thus resulting in a straight line. Professor Dugan’s drawing techniques were all about tricking your mind into not thinking about and not focusing too hard on what you were trying to draw. This wisdom has translated well into my real life.
I try not to focus on where I am (and god forbid, where I’ve been), but where I’m headed. I don’t worry (too much) about the path on, rather, I aim for the destination, and I eventually arrive there.
Thanks, Professor Dugan! If only I had known then what I know now.