While animating my short "Dentist" I experienced existential crisis. All the animators around me talked about the joy of drawing but all I felt all day long at my drawing table was dread and anxiety.
- Maybe because they have studied art? - I thought. - My Philosophy training only helps with conceiving concepts (which is 12% of time invested in the project) but not the daily grind of making 70 drawings a day (which is 80% of the time put into an animated project). My drawings suck!
I felt limitation of my drawing skills. I only drew my Dentist character from the profile because I could not imagine his face from front and I could not draw him scratching his ass because I didn't know what hands do when confronted with such task.
But committing to learn to draw was frightening because I still had open wounds from learning-in-school trauma. Every single English teacher I had (all 5) told me I was particularly bad at languages and would never speak English. It hindered my language learning until I was 29. I was also told that I draw like a child and will never pass the level of a 5 year old.
Still, the desire to get better at what I do forced me to overcome the fear of of inadequacy and get to Spring Studio where I was greeted by Minerva, the artist who runs it. She has an open, kind and warm personality with ability to be stern at times, like a mother who has to manage 135 children with various degrees of learning disabilities. She cares for each but needs to impose a structure so that each of us can find own place and thrive. It is a community of different people from various backgrounds (I even met a dentist there!) sharing the passion for drawing and getting better at eye-hand coordination.
The Spring Studio provided me with a safe space where I could to draw and fail without the rest of the world commenting how bad I was. No one tried to look over my shoulder and correct my mistakes until I was ready and asked for it.
The sessions "Learn to Draw" are on Wednesday nights at 6 PM, with short poses. Every 20 minutes the model takes a break and Minerva gives a 5 minute lecture on how to approach drawing a human body. I love her insights and wanted to share with you 3 of those lectures:
It has been 10 years since I started going to Spring Studio life drawing. My style of drawing and animation has changed. I am able to imagine my characters rotating in space and I can draw their faces in profile as well as from their front. I am now better at making my characters to scratch their asses and I am finally enjoying the long days of drawing.
The love and gratitude I feel for Minerva and community of artists at Spring Studio is immense. People and communities like this make New York great.