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  • Writer's pictureSteven Heller

Weekend Heller: Designers Should Know How to Draw

And if you don’t believe me … Italy’s premier cultural quarterly, PROMETEO, has published a 12-page, full-color feature essay/article by Stephen Alcorn, associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, titled “Analysis and Intuition: Reflections on the Mystic Union of Measure and Abandon in the Art of Figure Drawing.” The essay is an outgrowth of his longstanding activities in the realm of figure drawing at VCU/SOTA. Lushly illustrated with samples of Alcorn’s in-class demo-generated drawings, the essay constitutes a celebration of the role that figure drawing (and the talented models who make the practice possible) has played, and continues to play, in the lives of communication arts and fashion design students, and beyond. The article is, says Alcorn, “a rumination on the 20th-century schism between the arts and the sciences, and on my efforts to restore to the creative process a healthy marriage between our analytical and intuitive mental faculties. This endeavor is made possible, in part, by the generosity of spirit of the Department of Dance and Choreography, which has afforded me, time and again, the luxury of conducting drawing lessons within the context of the vibrant and dynamic Floyd Street dance studios.”

“The courses I teach require students to draw and build their sketchbooks on a daily basis,” Alcorn writes. “My participation in this daily assignment serves to present the professor not as a ‘font of all knowledge’ but as a facilitator and participant in the humble activity of learning. Thus, teaching becomes learning. The result of this pedagogical strategy is twofold. First, students come to respect professors who adhere to daily standards of behavior fundamental to their field. Second, the professor comes to have a great deal more respect for the challenges students face as they complete their rigorous assignments. The drawings featured in this article are emblematic of the variety techniques and approaches I have developed as an instructor.”

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