Every drawing should tell a story, the tale of the looking, the seeing, and the making. …the drawing is as much about the artist as it is about what is being drawn.”
Drawing Projects by Mick Maslen & Jack Southern, page 20
The “tale of the looking” are the lines/marks in a drawing that have led to the final drawing. The lines in the wrong places, the imperfections, the hesitations. Don’t erase to eliminate, but leave an echo which will add to the final drawing. Drawings that show how they were created, what the artist looked at and how they progressed, end up far more interesting than neat, clinical, faultless drawings. Drawings with individual personality rather than drawings with bland facelift perfection.
Drawing Tip: If you can’t help but desire that every wrong mark is eradicated, then work without an eraser. Start with light pencil marks and move slowly towards darker as you find the “right lines”. Try working with a hard pencil, such as a 2H, initially, then swapping to a 2B.
6 Replies to “Monday Motivator: Every Drawing Should”
That’s why I like so much the drawings of Giacometti, even in … the “hesitating” portraits of figures in grey he painted. Giacometti ‘against” Albrecht D?rer perfection of the outline for instance.
Giacometti’s drawings — and his paintings with all the “looking lines” — are favourites of mine too!
Hello to you Marion from a faithful Zimbawean fan. I wrote a little while ago saying I did not seem to improve. I am happy to say I have been practising and am really beginning to “look”. I can see a slight improvement both in my drawing and in my confidence. I love all you send, a sincere thank you. Jillian.
Delighted to hear this Jillian! Learning to analyse what we’re seeing rather than letting our brains run on auto-pilot is critical, and an on-going effort. As an exercise, draw something from memory then find it and draw from observation — a feather is a good object as how it looks varies not only with species of bird but where on the body it comes from.
I like how Picasso “plays” with the distortion of the shape in his virtuoso drawings. He creates shape, for instance, faces or figures, with only a line making the outlines. For him, the word “eraser” did not exist. It was the same for Matisse. For them, mistakes were synonym of discoveries and styles and the mirror image of transient moments of their mental state. No eraser but many sketches of a same pattern! Familiarisation is the key. Trial and error approach and then… the perfection of the result, no, your perfection of the result. Interesting to draw with felt-tip pen.
I also like working with pen, preferably an old-fashioned dip-pen but also a standard black fine fibre tip. It forces you to just accept the lines you’ve put down as ‘being there’… even if they are the ‘searching’ line, they are still very present. It also encourages you to look more accurately and draw more accurately in the first place, if your goal is precision; the other thing is to not get so worked up about accuracy and focus on the poetry of the line itself.