The School of Architecture offered an optional drawing workshop the week of August 24th. My first thought was to skip it in favour of having a week’s vacation between work and the start of school. I was fairly confident that I could draw as well as I needed to for any of our first year classes, but in the end decided to partake because drawing is fun and I wanted to meet some of the people in my class.
The theme of the course was table settings and in the pin up area of the studio the desks were set up into a long banquet table. We were asked to bring flatware and silverware and were provided with some other pieces to create a unique composition with a place setting that we then drew in a number of scales. The itinerary was laid out for us, but it wasn’t made clear how each assignment would lead into the next, and every step of the way we were challenged to think more conceptually about our composition and how we could use these technical drawings to convey an idea.
It was initially very intimidating to think so abstractly about a simple technical drawing and the instructor and TA’s didn’t help the anxiety. They perpetuated our jittery nerves with initiation-style gags all week. On the first day the instructor, Martin Lewis, delivered a fiery and obfuscating introduction to the course that ended with him smashing one of the bowls in my place setting as we all sat around the table. I was told later that this happens every year to intentionally freak out the new kids. The course got much more light-hearted towards the end though, and on the last day we ate Chinese food off of the dishes we had been drawing, drank way too much, and had an awards ceremony with dollar-store prizes.
Overall, I had a blast and I am much more prepared for the coming year. The second year TA’s gave us a lot of pointers and I learned a lot about studio culture and how to present during crits. To any incoming students: I definitely recommend taking this course even if you have an architecture background, and if you come next year I will hopefully be your TA and give you a really hard time.