Why do artists make strange pictures?

Everybody needs a collection of strange heads. Frankly, I can’t imagine how anyone gets by without one. Which brings us to a question: Why do many artists tend to make weird pictures with strange proportions and exaggerated features when they sketch? There are several answers to this question:

1) Weirder is easier. To make something  beautiful and pleasant requires careful attention to proportion  and symmetry, two of the defining characteristics of beauty. It’s much easier to let art flow in any direction.

2) Weirder is more fun! Who wants to sketch pleasant, generic, bland, or boring-looking faces, with smiles, rainbows, and ponies, when you can create something compelling and strange?

3) Here is the real answer: The very nature of how sketching works directs artists toward exaggerated and curvy lines and images.

I don’t draw from a defined picture in my imagination. I start off by scribbling lines along a general form of what I want to depict,  then I “see” more defined lines and forms in the scribble, and I darken and define those lines. Usually these murky forms will not be symmetrical and proportionate, but rather the closest image my brain can ascribe to that scribble. It will force my brain to add appendages and original features to “explain” what I am seeing. This is the same thing that every kid does with the shadows on the ceiling when they try to fall asleep at night, finding monsters and exaggerated forms. In this sense, as in many other contexts, artists are basically kids who failed to grow up.

Bottom Line: Good art is free-flowing and freedom doesn’t do well when confined into little perfect anythings. Let your pen tell you what to draw  and you just go along for the ride.

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One Response to Why do artists make strange pictures?

  1. tmedetsky says:

    if good artists are kids who failed to grow up, as you say, are good teachers really kids who never successfully left schooling behind and stayed because they had unfinished business?
    Like trying to prove to the inept,cruel teachers that they should have been more supportive? Perhaps, showing that they could become the educators who would do the right thing ? some type of tikun that they were not able to accomplish as a child?
    Note the author and illustrator of the Miss Nelkin series, who depicts a particular teacher of his ,and these books somehow correct the wrong she did to him and his classmates!

    thank you for your creativity and true Gd given talent. continue to excel!Good Shabbos!

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