Thursday, October 26, 2017

Whither Drawing?

Here's what the 2016-2017 Handbook of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design has to say about a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in drawing (p. 103-104):
a. Understanding of basic design principles, concepts, media, and formats. The ability to place organization of design elements and the effective use of drawing media at the service of producing a specific aesthetic intent and a conceptual position. The development of solutions to aesthetic and design problems should continue throughout the degree program.
b. Understanding of the possibilities and limitations of the drawing medium.
c. Knowledge and skills in the use of basic tools and techniques sufficient to work from concept to finished product. This includes mastery of the traditional technical and conceptual approaches to drawing.
d. Functional knowledge of the history of drawing.
e. Extensive exploration of the many possibilities for innovative imagery and the manipulation of techniques available to the draftsman.
f. The completion of a final project related to the exhibition of original work.
Note that there is no mention of human anatomy, figure drawing, or manual perspective drawing (although computer-aided perspective is an advised competency).

From "Teaching Cartooning" in Streetwise (Two Morrows, 2000).

Here's what the handbook says about computers in general (p. 101):
Digital Media. The Bachelor of Fine Arts is appropriate as the undergraduate degree in which digital technology serves as the primary tool, medium, or environment for visual work. Titles of majors for these degrees include, but are not limited to: digital media, media arts, media design, multimedia, computer arts, digital arts, digital design, interactive design, Web design, and computer animation.
No mention of mastery of traditional fundamental drawing principals, and digital technology is the "primary tool."

This is why I am a self-taught figurative artist, and why I advise students to make the most of their college tuition pursuing a well-rounded "book-learning" liberal arts curriculum (English, languages, history, philosophy, sociology, etc.), and skip the BFA.

Art school in the broadest sense only makes sense for a profession that requires actual accreditation, such as architecture or interior design.

See also: The Withering Away of Drawing

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