Homework 14- The Secret of Drawing 2 & Caitlyn McGurk


The Secret of Drawing: Episode Two

In this episode of The Secret of Drawing, I really gravitated toward the work of Daniel Clowes. Though I feel I normally gravitate toward things that leave me feeling a bit lighter, his work is imbued with a sense of realness. One can tell he uses these cartoons as an outlet for his emotions, and he even mentioned how channeling his anger through these drawings has helped him in his life. I like how he juxtaposes his clean, simple drawings with dark messages. Martin Rowson, on the other hand, creates cartoons in which the imagery much more closely matches the dark messages he is trying to portray. His comics act as a political commentary, and he believes this is the most effective method for conveying social criticism to large audiences quickly and in a way that is accessible/understood by all.  Misako Rocks is a manga artist who committed herself to her drawings in an extreme way from a young age. She loved the idea of creating her own world through her cartoons. I was surprised to head that Dan Clowes also inspires her and has had an influence on her work! Overall, I really enjoyed this episode and learning about the range of styles and purposes that these comics have taken over time. From Manga to political commentary to dark and brooding comic strips, this style is a versatile and effective form of expression and communication with the audience.

Caitlyn McGurk

  • Milton Caniff went to Ohio State and was an extremely talented cartoonist. He was known for his treatment of light and dark spaces.
  • I found interesting the fan letter written to Caniff by John Steinback! You can see how much these comics mattered to people.
  • Will Eisner was a comic who’s work appeared in almost every subset of the comic genre (comic strips, comic books, graphic novels).
  • Walt Kelly’s work on the “Pogo” comic strips paved a new meta path in comedy by “breaking the fourth wall” and being self referential.
  • Niel Gammon is best known for the Sandman series and American Gods.
  • It was neat to see some of the original Calvin and Hobbes art and see how the Calvin character evolved, eventually having spiked hair to connect more with the audience.

Homework 12 – The Secret of Drawing 3 Reflection


I really enjoyed this episode of The Secret of Drawing. I think it helped me a lot to understand the varied ways that artists throughout history and today have rejected academic and observational drawing to create something more psychological and curious. When the narrator was discussing the works of Rafael, the phrase “brilliantly original as well as technically extraordinary” really stuck out to me. Because most of his work was so technically advanced, for some reason I have a hard time grouping him in with the many other unconscious artists who’s work seems a bit more free. However, this description helped me to see how a pattern drawing (or one from the unconscious mind) can satisfy both descriptions. Another artist who I was happy to hear more about was Pablo Picasso. For as famous as he is, I really didn’t know much about the evolution of his work over his lifetime. This episode reflected on how he was a very academic artist at the beginning of his career, but that it took him many years to re-learn how to draw like a 5 year old. This will definitely be something I try to tap into in the upcoming project. Toward the end of the video, the part about the Creative Growth Art Center really captured my attention. As someone who is interested in working with people with developmental disabilities in the future, it was amazing to see how art can be used as a tool of expression for many who may not have other means. It was also interesting to see how those without formal training (outsider artists) are able to more easily tap into their unconscious minds to create.

Homework 11 – Reflection


Modules 4 and 5 were definitely more of a challenge for me than some of our more academic modules. I think overall, the strengths of my work show in my choice of elements. I think I balanced color and style well to create interesting pieces in that way. One weakness of my work in both modules was composition. Although I thought through each piece before beginning, somehow the page still came up looking largely empty in both cases. I think I learned a lot from this though, and in the future will pay more attention to ways that I can fill the page and carry the viewers eyes across the work. Despite all this, I look forward to the ways that I can grow from these projects and am happy overall with my work!

Homework 8 – Reflection


Approaching perspective drawings was intimidating for me, and but I found the instruction helpful and produced work that created a sense of depth in space in my opinion. I feel I saw an improvement over the 3 projects, with my final outdoor perspective being the most effective in terms of both depth and composition. In my first interior perspective drawing, I was very happy with specific components of the piece, and others I felt fell short. There were objects that did not follow the vanishing points and others that looked too simplistic in their representation of the objects. I was very happy with the proportions of my second perspective project, and I did better with the shading than I expected to. I wish I had had more time to add greater detail and make the composition more balanced. I think my third perspective project made a vast improvement on keeping proportions correct and considering the final composition of the drawing.

Homework 6 – Perspective Reading


  1. The horizon line is an imaginary line that is always at eye level. 
  2. Parallel perspective is always projected toward a single vanishing point.
  3. To divide a space into equal parts in angular perspective, define the initial width of the first sections on either side of the projecting edge. Then draw a diagonal line from the top corner to the bottom of the structure, and the points at which these diagonals cross the vanishing point line is where the next section should be divided!
  4. Place the horizon line higher if you want to emphasize the top face of the cube.
  5. An artist should always take into account whether each face of a cube appears to be a square seen in perspective.
  6. The back wall in an interior drawing can be situated freehand or by calculating the approximate depth of the box-room.
  7. The main things to keep in mind with an interior room drawings are that horizontal lines recede toward the same vanishing point, and the vertical lines decrease in size in the distance.

Homework 3 – Value Reading & Drawing


  • It can be hard for people to detect more than 9 values in a drawing, so often artists will make a classic 9-step value scale before beginning their work! However, sometimes artists do a smaller value scale.
  • The way that an artist approaches value can direct the viewers eye in certain ways.
  • Planning a value scheme at the beginning of a work can create a more cohesive piece.
  • A common struggle with newer artists is the omission of the darker values.
  • Whether or not you have a high value scheme or low value scheme can change the mood of a work entirely.

Homework 2 – The Secret of Drawing Reflection


I found this episode very informative, and feel it gave me a lot more perspective on the meaning and history of drawing. It got me thinking about the overlap between science and art, which before I wouldn’t have been able to speak much on. But in the case of Francis Wells, for example, who would sketch out the intricacies of procedures before performing them, that overlap is very prevalent. In this case, drawing serves as a roadmap, almost a visual way of “thinking out loud”. This relation between science and drawing also presents in the work of George Stubbs, who drew anatomically correct animal skeletons and musculature in excruciating detail. Through his drawings, we can see that he had a curiosity about breaking down the line between human and animal. Before Darwin’s theory of evolution was ever spoken of, his work raised questions about our connections to animals in form and function. This challenged the common religious-based idea at the time that humans were uniquely set apart from the animal world, by simply laying out the forms honestly and accurately. The third artists work that really caught my attention in this episode was naturalist John Adams Audubon. I have heard this name before and even perused the public Audubon Society gallery of bird drawings, without ever knowing anything about the artist himself! I found it fascinating (and slightly disturbing) that he would shoot upwards of 100 birds per day, and draw them as soon as possible in order to portray their most accurate color. I do find his work very beautiful, and I believe it is this attention to detail that he had, as well as the fictionalization of scenes he would portray them in, that so draws people to them.