The mechanical skills
These are composed of everything we require to command our muscles to make specific movements, resulting in particular marks on a page or canvas.
When we start out, we tend to try and control everything our hand does with our conscious brain, because we want to be absolutely precise and accurate. This approach has a few problems, however:
- This desire to be hyper-accurate results in numerous course-corrections, each occurring whenever our brain notices that we've gone off track. This may result in a line that keeps roughly to the path we've intended, but it also makes for a pretty wobbly, stiff and erratic line.
- If we're focusing so much on a task as simple as drawing a line, then our brains are not free to deal with all the other problems involved. Focus is a limited resource, and we can only think about so much before we start spreading ourselves too thin.
These mechanical skills are pretty similar to the major motor skills we employ in our daily lives. Walking, talking, manipulating objects, even breathing. We don't have to consciously think about these things - at the very most, we might consciously decide to walk somewhere, or to grab an object, but we don't have to worry about all the specifics involved beyond that. This is because a different part of the brain, the cerebellum, handles these tasks. It's often referred to as 'muscle memory'.
Ultimately, the processes involved in mark-making can be offloaded onto the cerebellum, though it takes practice. That's what the exercises in this lesson will explore.