Monday Motivator: A Drawing is Fundamentally Improvisatory

…when you’re drawing, the pencil is responding to what is going on just around it. When you’re doing a drawing, at any moment the pencil is at one particular point on the paper and you’re thinking: ‘where am I going to go next?’

…A drawing is fundamentally improvisatory, in the sense that one is continually finding a way forward in response to what is going on around.

Tim Ingold, “Lines, Drawings, the Human Condition“, Drawing Matter, 13 October 2021

A drawing is a series of decisions and practice is what makes these decisions instinctive. As you learn to know what will happen when you do something, and what to do in order to get a particular result, you think less about how to do it and simply get on with the doing thereof.

Every drawing starts with deciding what pencil to use. The choice of how soft or hard the lead in that pencil is, which in turn in a decision made when you acquired it. Sometimes it seems the decision is made for you in that you can find only one pencil, but this is based in the decision about where you keep your pencils.

Will you sharpen the point or use it as it is? How are you holding the pencil? As you would for writing or gripping it like a DIY brush for painting a wall. Right at the point or a bit further back? How hard will you press the pencil against the paper?

Things you are consciously thinking about in your drawing at the moment can become as instinctive as these fundamental choices. There is no short cut, just practice, over time, until the decision making becomes so fast you don’t truly realise you are making decisions.

Monsieur P big pencil

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