East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Three skills (and a hobby)

Three things I will never forgive to my old school:
. The fact that they were never able to teach me mathematics properly
. The fact that they not only did not teach me music, but actually scared me away from it for a decade
. The fact that they completely killed my early passion for sketching

This is particularly frustrating because these are communication and self-expression skills (yes, maths too) skills that are also highly marketable.
Later I tried and taught myself what had been left out by inadequate teachers and poor school programs, but self-taught achievements are not the same one could reach had school done its part. Continue reading

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Playing with Pencils

I often remark on my lack of skill when it comes to drawing.
Apart from some personal “problems” – my hand tends to be heavy – I think any artistic proficiency I had was fully eradicated in primary school: much as I loved dabbling with pencils and paper when I was a kid, the first two years of school were totally language-oriented. Sketching or “fooling around with pencils” was actively discouraged.
As a result, I’m good at words, but I can’t draw to save my life.168814

And yet…
Back when I worked in a call center, to pass the long idle hours of the night shift, I got me a handbook – the ten times excellent Keys to Drawing, by Bert Dodson 1 – a drawing block and some pencils, and in a few months I went from completely helpless to not half bad at drawing still lifes and quick scenes.
Nothing worth writing home about, but from the absolute nothing that had characterized my life for twenty-odd years, it was certainly an improvement. Continue reading