I once heard that talents lie hidden inside us, some more deeply than others. All it takes is persistent digging and one is likely to stumble upon a goldmine. I have since followed that to the letter; except that a greater proportion of my endeavours seem to lead to the discovery of hitherto unknown vast non-talents. Several diligent and almighty attempts later, I gracefully accept my fall from grace and move on, to repeat the process.
Some folks are extremely gifted at the art of sketching and all other variants that involve moving pointy objects on paper in an artistic manner. As we generally tend to be awestruck at things beyond our abilities, I have forever been in awe of those with the gift of capturing reality on paper pictorially.
Sketching and I go back a long way. Our first encounter was early in school, where I learned the meaning of binary digits from the marks I scored in drawing tests.
We once had a drawing test where we had a choice of 7 scenarios to pick from. Grossly under-equipped in drawing paraphernalia, colours and confidence, I opted for what seemed like the easiest option. A house-in-the-hills sketch. Understanding mates thoughtfully, and freely, leased their drawing wares but I found nobody who could lease me some confidence. Head down, I went at it, gamely. When my head re-emerged to face the world, I was a happy chap. I discovered that not only was I leagues ahead of others in finishing within the time-limit, I looked upon my classic with satisfaction. I thought I had done a half decent job, after all.
Best practices called for the teacher to take in all the masterpieces and then mark them, at leisure and more importantly, away from the prying eyes of kids eager to outdo one another for top spot, brownie points, and as I found later, guffaws of derision.
The teacher, greatly impressed at my speed of turning things around, requested to see my creation. Reluctance and trepidation brimmed over as I gingerly handed over my Picasso for inspection. The odious laughter that emanated from her being proved to be extremely contagious and the class soon joined in. In a complete breach of protocol, out came her pencil and in the august presence of a class full of rowdy kids, she marked me. I scored a grand 1, out of a maximum of 10, the lowest in class.
Later in life, I figured engineering drawing was right down my alley, which seemed to come naturally to me. I would go out of my way to assist dopey mates in getting their elevations and views right. Come exam time and I beamed…and beamed some more. This would be my moment of glory…To cut a long story short, when the results came around, vexation quickly made way for relief, as I learned that I had just about managed to hop over the line that separated the Pass from the Fail.
Being a fan of mathematical shapes, I finally found succour in the wonderfully sober world of lines, circles and higher order polygons. I found the Hexagon, for instance, to be a tremendously malleable polygon; morphing at a moment’s notice, to depict humans of varying bulk and shape.
For sketchphobes like me, malleable shapes are manna from Heaven. Though, it must be admitted, the Bottom-heavy base shape hasn’t generally gone down too well with those who share similar contours.
What shape are you?