A Skill for Drawing Led to a Lifelong Career

Whether he is teaching a drawing class or working on his next piece, Luke Buchanan has always had a deep passion for the world of the arts.
Buchanan has been drawing as long as he can remember and has always been motivated by his family to pursue the passion.

“My family always encouraged me.  I used to draw comics when I was a kid,” said Buchanan who took art classes during middle school, which was when he first realized he had a talent in the field.

In high school, Buchanan left the arts program, due to a dislike of the art teacher, but did continue to work on his own.  By college, he decided he wanted to focus on art as a profession.  This led him to apply to the school of Art and Design at NC State.

When it comes to art mediums, Buchanan originally enjoyed drawing the most.

“I mostly had a pencil or pen in my hand, drawing my entire life,” he said.  “That’s what lead me to pursue architecture as a career, because I enjoyed drawing.”

However, Buchanan found a love for mixed media after being introduced to it by one of his college teachers.

“I found with mixed media painting a lot more options, textures, colors, etc.  I could really expand from the same things I liked about drawing.  It was just a little more complicated and the complexity allowed for a lot more variation and I could do a lot more with it.  I would say, drawing has been my favorite life long, but I believe painting to be the talent that I have that is most approachable, I’d say, to other people as communication I can do,” Buchanan explains.

Buchanan also teaches the Drawing class at William Peace University.  He was asked by a friend, who previously taught at Peace, to teach drawing and painting during the school’s transition from a college to a university.  Learning to draw is a valued skill for Peace students majoring in simulation and game design, but the class is also open to students who want to take it for fun.

“Mr. Buchanan is a valued member of our faculty,” says Roger Christman, the Department Chair and Associate Professor of Art, Communications, and Simulation and Game Design at Peace.

“Seeing our world through the lens of a talented artist such as Instructor Buchanan adds perspective and appreciation for the value of arts in our society.  Mr. Buchanan gives our students the foundations to grow and develop as artists and liberally educated members of their communities.”  
Buchanan enjoys photography too.

“My next kind of real interest was photography and this was before digital photography.  Digital photography existed, but it was not the norm and I took photography in high school and I loved being in the dark room.”  Buchanan was previously disheartened by painting since most of his pieces were of objects he found uninteresting, but this changed when it came to photography.

“But when I started to try to paint the things I had been taking photographs of, I had a new desire to really capture those images,” Buchanan says.  “Which lead to more and more painting and I eventually started to get better at it and when I started to see that it was something I was developing at, by that time, I was hooked and I have just been painting I would say not every day, but at least every week for the past fifteen years.”

There are a number of reasons Buchanan has such a love for art.

“Honestly, I think that my favorite art, my favorite kind of cultural thing in the world, is music.  It’s not visual art, but I enjoy music as a listener.”
Though, Buchanan does admit he doesn’t quite understand music as well as drawing and painting.

“I felt like I should play toward my strengths instead of spending my life being someone who was pretty good at music and pretty good at art. I decided to make art my focus and let music be my hobby,” Buchanan comments.

Buchanan’s advice to his students, or any growing artist, would be to have a good teacher, friends who can give their honest opinions of artwork, and overall to always keep going.

“If you have an opportunity to take a class or gain more knowledge or information, always go for it.  And get yourself out there, because if you put your work out in a public place where people can respond to it, you start to ask yourself questions about, “Is this really what I want to say,” and you begin a dialogue between yourself and your work that I think pushes it further.”

His final suggestion would be to soak up as much as possible from culture, varying from films, television, books, and more to bring into art.  To Buchanan, sometimes looking at something from a different angle can help to solve a problem in art.  Buchanan concludes saying, “I would say just be open, put your work out there, be responsive to criticism, but trust yourself over everybody else.”  

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