What My Sketch Pad Taught Me – An Essay

Inspired from her art workshop last April 2009, one of our students, Shing, wrote this creative writing piece. Read on what this recent highschool graduate thinks about taking art “seriously” for the first time and how it changed her perspective of simply learning about other things in life:

What My Sketch Pad Taught Me

By Elisha Andrea A. Liganor

Even if a year has passed, I can still remember clearly the first comment Sir Mar told me about my work:

‘Iha, ang diin mo mag shade. Lagyan mo ng konting hinay’

Or something like that. Up until now, I still have a tight grip on my pencil, and I tend to write without caring if there would be marks on the other side of the paper – because that’s just who I am.

Art classes, as many would think, may just be another form of leisure, a hobby to take the boredom away, but meeting Sir Mar made me think otherwise. Of course, I’ve known a lot of art people from school, but his philosophy in his work very much stands out: it’s different and more complex than the ordinary. I can honestly say that his life is one big art work where as ours would be like a page off a sketch pad – everything in his life IS art.

Take for example, the way you hold the pencil. As I said, I’ve always drawn things and wrote stuff with the exact same grip and with the exact same force – but according to him, that shouldn’t be the case. It’s all right when I hold my pencil that way when I write, because in writing, you think. But drawing is another case, and yes, you have to change your pencil grip to a harder but more flow-y stance – because that’s when you feel.

Another would be when you’re done drawing – if there are still spaces you’re just itching to fill up, stop yourself from doing so.

‘Know when to stop’

Sir Mar would always scold me for putting more color, more tidbits and more detail to my artwork. At first, I thought that maybe he was scolding me because I might ruin the masterpiece I have made, but that wasn’t just the case – he was stopping me because I needed to know the meaning of ‘self-control’. So, art isn’t basically just slopping color here and there, sketching left and right – art is a reflection of who you are, what you do, what you think and how you feel. It is, to me, like sub consciousness in action – it’s your true colors pouring out into a blank piece of paper.

Not only that, art shows both your weak and strong points, and in the hands of a great art teacher, you’ll definitely be surprised to find out how much you should need to work on, how farther should you go to improve and the other things that you should change about yourself.

Deep inside, I admit I’m still not a great artist, and I still need to improve, but at least I know that I’ve changed somehow, and for the better too.

Because that was what my art teacher and my sketch pad taught me.


View Shing’s other works from here, here, and here.

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