Drawing is as important a skill as writing or the spoken word for effectively communicating ideas. Anyone who can pick up a pen can draw, and the most abstruse ideas can be communicated with drawings. Without drawing technology would never have reached it’s current stage. It might have done, but it would have taken a few thousand years from now, and you would presently be too busy fending off predators to be sitting in front of your computer reading this.
My favourite form of drawing is the doodle. While your mind is somewhere else, for instance during a telephone call or while listening to Parliament Today on Radio 4, the pencil comes to life and a picture that you could never have intended to draw starts coming to life. Often the doodle serves as a memory marker, so that by looking at a doodle one can remember what one was talking about or doing at the time of the doodle. Never underestimate the doodle!
The best aspect of drawing is perspective. With perspective imaginary worlds can be geometrically constructed to resemble post medieval reality. The joy of perspective is the simplicity of it. Take an object and draw it. Measure the distance between you and it. Move the object to twice the distance away and draw it again (carefully measured with your pencil, if you’ve ever been taught to draw like that). You’ll find the second drawing half the size of the first drawing. Here’s the clever bit: draw a line from the top of the first drawing and the top of the second drawing, then draw a second line between the bottom of the first drawing and the bottom of the second drawing, and you will find that both lines converge towards a point. This is the vanishing point. With the vanishing point you can predict where any line that is parallel to those lines is going to go. With two or three vanishing points you can construct the whole of orthogonal reality.
Come to think of it save yourself the effort and get a camera. It’s a lot easier and it will do all the perspective calculations for you at the press of a button.
Which brings me onto photography. Correction – the camera does no calculations whatsoever. Light is always in a hurry and needs to get from A to B in the shortest time possible, and forming an image is the easiest thing for it to do provided that the lenses and the film are in the correct places.
Cameras do their best with capturing time. The shutter opens then it closes and anything that happens before and after is discarded, and so is everything that happens everywhere else, including behind the camera and under your kitchen sink. You can ameliorate this problem by leaving the shutter open for longer and attaching a wider angle lens, having more cameras, and using light that shines through things such as x-rays.