A novel way of observing what is in front of you, not what your imagination tells you is in front of you
We normally observe an object with our sense of sight only. As such, when we look at an object in front of us, instead of observing it in its entirety as it actually is, we observe it in part as our imagination informs us it is. If we observe this object using more than just our sense of sight, and include the sense of touch (haptics), we begin to gather a lot more data about the form of the object and as a consequence begin to observe it as it actually is.
And the better you can observe what is in front of you, the better you will be able to draw it.
Many people think that they can’t draw and that only the ‘gifted’ or talented can draw. This is not the case. I run an observation and drawing workshop in which this belief is entirely upended and every individual’s potential and ability to draw is realized. Anyone can be guided towards their ability to observe and draw what they are observing, and it continues to be my experience that every person that I have taught can draw, and draw well. Drawing is fundamentally the making of marks on paper by moving your arm and hand with a pencil (a drawing instrument) in it.
I have developed a novel method of observation and drawing which I teach to people who have never drawn before, including medical students, medical professionals, anatomists and artists. I teach in a workshop environment which is focused, dynamic and fun. The outcome is real learning and growth and a sense of excitement and accomplishment.
Workshop participants will be introduced to the value of observation using a multi-sensory method which crucially involves the sense of touch in addition to sight, coupled with the simultaneous act of drawing. We gather a huge amount of information from an object when we explore it through touch (haptics), and this information becomes included in our drawing via that marks that we make.
By observing in this way, one is introduced to a more comprehensive perceptual understanding of the physical object being observed. One literally begins to notice more of the object, as well as seeing it in a more objective way (i.e. as it really is and not as one imagines it to be).
In this workshop, you will learn to observe an object and draw it on paper, such that your drawing marks correspond with what you are observing. At the same time, your drawing marks will be unique to you in the same way that your handwriting is. Each participant will be guided through a series of exercises that will enable them to understand and practice this method. The result is that each participant will be able to observe better and draw capably using this approach.
NOTE: You need absolutely NO drawing experience to participate in this workshop.
Artist Bridget Riley writes the following about observation and drawing in her article, 'At the End of my Pencil': "For me, drawing is an inquiry, a way of finding out – the first thing that I discover is that I do not know. It is as though there is an eye at the end of my pencil, which tries, independently of my personal general-purpose eye, to penetrate a kind of obscuring veil or thickness. To break down this thickness, this deadening opacity, to elicit some particle of clarity or insight, is what I want to do.
The strange thing is that the information I am looking for is, of course, there all the time and as present to one’s naked eye, so to speak, as it ever will be. But to get the essentials down there on my sheet of paper so that I can recover and see again what I have just seen, that is what I have to push towards. What it amounts to is that while drawing I am watching and simultaneously recording myself looking, discovering things that on the one hand are staring me in the face and on the other I have not yet really seen. It is this effort ‘to clarify’ that makes drawing particularly useful and it is in this way that I assimilate experience and find new ground."
The Haptico-Visual Observation and Drawing (HVO&D) Method
Leonard Shapiro is an experienced drawing teacher and skilled workshop facilitator who enjoys facilitating learning, growth and development in others, in the field of observation.
He has developed a multi-sensory observation method, which employs the sense of touch (haptics) as well as sight, with the simultaneous act of drawing (i.e. mark-making). It is called the Haptico-Visual Observation & Drawing (HVO&D) method.
The application of the HVO&D method results in a greatly increased level of observation of the form of a 3-dimensional object, as well as the cognitive memorization of it.
Leonard teaches the HVO&D method at a university level to MBChB students as part of their study of anatomy, to medical professionals as a certificated CPD short-course, to anatomists and to fine art students as part of their drawing program.
For more information on the University of Cape Town Medial Sciences CPD Multi-Sensory Observation short-course please visit: www.ceuhealth.uct.ac.za/haptico-visual-observation-drawing
Leonard holds a Bachelor of Fine Art (BAFA Honours) degree from the University of Cape Town (UCT) Michaelis School of Fine Art. He also holds a Bachelor of Social Science (BsocSc) degree from UCT.
Observation (HVO&D) workshops for medical students, staff and anatomists. CPD short-courses for medical professionals.
Observation studies of the base of the skull by UCT MBChB students during a 12 day HVO&D workshop.
UCT MBChB students observing the 3D form of a hammer and humerus using the HVO&D method.
Following on from hammer and humerus studies, UCT MBChB students using the HVO&D method to study upper limb prosections, during a 12 day HVO&D workshop.
Collaborative Academic Research
Poster on observational drawing as an educational approach and combining the best of the ORDER (Observe, Reflect, Draw, Edit, Repeat) and HVO&D methods. Presented by Dr Iain Keenan at the Anatomy Society Winter Meeting 2016, King's College, London.
Poster presentation on evaluation of data generated by HVO&D workshops at the School of Medical Education, Newcastle University and the Division of Clinical Anatomy and Biological Anthropology, University of Cape Town. Presented by Dr Iain Keenan, at the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) Conference, 2017, Helsinki. (Click on image to open as a pdf).
One day corporate drawing experience of discovery and learning
In order to make this observation and drawing experience available to everyone beyond the university environs, I have designed a One Day Corporate Drawing Workshop. This workshop encapsulates the fundamentals of what I teach, and delivers the same dynamic, educational and fun experience to groups of people who are interested in discovering their innate ability to observe and draw. The proof of this is in the drawings, which the participants take away with them. An additional function of this one day drawing workshop is for each participant to experience what it is like to do something that they never imagined they could do. This experience of surprise is unforgettable. It is very enabling…it enables one to go forward and continue to surprise oneself at one’s ability to discover new ways of accomplishing tasks in the workplace and in everyday life.
This workshop is fully catered with lunch and afternoon tea.
One Day Corporate Drawing Workshop. Maximum number of participants, 14.
Venue 1: The Dakar Room, 6 Spin Street Restaurant, Cape Town
Venue 2: Workshop Room, UCT Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town
Time: 9.00am - 4.30pm
Catering: Lunch and refreshment breaks are fully catered for by 6 Spin Street Restaurant, at either workshop venue.
Enquiries: Please enquire for details by emailing email@example.com
There are two key functions of the Corporate Drawing Workshop. The first is for each participant to experience what it is like to do something that they never imagined they could do and achieve results that they initially thought were completely beyond their ability to achieve. This experience of surprise is unforgettable. It is very enabling...it enables one to go forward and continue to surprise oneself at one’s ability to discover new ways of accomplishing everyday as well as new tasks in the workplace and in everyday life. The means by which I facilitate this process of surprise in the workshop participants is through enabling them to observe and draw an object. So many people imagine that only artists have the ability to draw and that the ability to draw is something that only the 'gifted' are born with. This is completely untrue. I have conducted this workshop many times and each participant has discovered that they can draw in a way that they never imagined and this comes as a great surprise to them.
The second function of this workshop is that the participants experience a renewed confidence and this confidence has obvious benefits on thinking and directed productivity in the workplace.
This workshop will expand on each participant's ability to think and act creatively in all aspects of their daily life; at work, at home and at play.
The workshop takes place over one full day (9am – 4.30pm). All of the materials that will be used by the participants are provided and morning tea and lunch are catered for. Catering in Cape Town is by 6 Spin Street Restaurant.