On October 21, 2014, artist Don Colley conducted a free workshop at Harper Campus showcasing his sketchbooks and sharing his thoughts about drawing the world on a daily basis. Faculty and staff at Harper were invited to participate in his presentation and page through his lavishly illustrated travelogues. The presentation to classes at Harper and Central campuses emphasized all the ways drawing can enhance learning and visual thinking. Drawing is an activity that can be practiced by anyone as a way to interact with the world. Everyone is creative and everyone can draw.
Don Colley travels the country with his set of drawing tools and a sketchbook, sketching and documenting America in all its diversity. He rides on public transportation and captures passengers in solitude. Working in the mode of a journalist, Don employs the language of drawing to reveal the truths of contemporary cities and the people who live in them. His work reveals stories that are difficult to find in a world that is fast-paced and often based on fleeting impressions. A drawing of a particularly ‘tough’ looking man is an excellent example of how perception and reality are often not aligned. By drawing this man on train knitting, Don engaged the man in a conversation of both words and images. The knitting Reverend was crafting a shawl for his mother, who loved the beach. The pattern in Don’s drawing reveals a seashell pattern among the stitches in the afghan.
Drawing can be used as a critical thinking process and presents those who draw with an opportunity to understand the world in a different way. As a neuromuscular skill, it only improves with practice. This activity requiring critical thinking, as the person drawing must make decisions at every stage of the drawing process. One can begin to understand how something works through the drawing process. Drawing is a way to develop empathy with a subject or a situation. Drawing can be a path to insight. Drawing is one way we can take STEM to STEAM, by using the language of line to reframe problems in all disciplines.
Faber Castell was kind enough to fund Don’s trip and we are hopeful he will join us next Fall for another lecture and a SKETCHCRAWL on campus! For more information about the Advertising + Graphic Design program at Harper Campus and to participate in the student club’s Curious Wednesdays, please visit our webpage by clicking HERE.
Ellen Ward, Instructor for Advertising + Graphic Design