To Draw Or Not To Draw I

Well, I say – always draw!

We have become such a busy society that what used to be considered the solid foundation for a good painting – the drawing, is now viewed as a waste of time and effort with many artists taking short cuts by using technology and starting their intimate work with the painting straight from the second step – applying the colours. Sure, we have technology today to use as we see fit. Computers and projectors will do a great job in helping you draw your chosen subject. But what would we learn from using those? Well, we will learn how to operate another machine.

So, what happened to our basic pleasure of making a line or a mark, the first thing we did as children when we started learning to express ourselves? Drawing will help you judge distances, angles and size the proportions correctly. Figuring out the proportions and distances between features on the face by yourself will give you that solid knowledge of the landscape of that face that will continue to guide you to stay on course when you start applying the colours. Drawing will just as importantly relax you and get you in that creative meditative mood when you give yourself completely to the painting and impart a piece of yourself into it. Thus you are robbing yourself of the pleasure to be one with your creation. And that is something your audience will be able to pick up on.

Every line tells its own story. To be able to draw what our eyes see or our mind imagines is as fundamental as writing or the spoken word. Learning to draw will make us better artists, regardless of the style of painting we choose. Here is what some amazing artists have said:

Andrew Loomis: “Drawing is vision on paper.”

Edgar Degas: “Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make other see”.

Salvador Dali: “Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.”

Arshile Gorky: “Drawing is the basis of art. A bad painter cannot draw. But the one who draws well can always paint.”

David Hockney: “Drawing is rather like playing chess: your mind races ahead of the moves that you eventually make”.

Vincent van Gogh: “I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing.”

Paul Klee: “A line is a dot that went for a walk.”

With the enormous choices of drawing materials it is sometimes almost impossible to separate drawing from painting.

Daniela has recently rediscovered the joy of drawing with this cute little project she set herself to complete. As she was browsing through her old reference materials, she came across this photo of flowers that she thought she could give some “structural” dimension and modify a bit to make them more interesting. To achieve this she made sure her lines were straighter, shorter and choppier. She also added a thicker shade at the bottom of her flowers to reinforce that structural quality. The rest has been about describing the shapes and shades with the appropriate lines and cross-hatching. Her work is still in progress and she is at a point where she is deliberating whether to leave any white areas on the paper for interest. Whatever her decision will be, she has enjoyed the process of drawing tremendously and is keen to do it again and again as the results are both delightful and promising. Go Daniela, I think your work is beautiful!

Below are some different approaches to drawing from my art storage:

Jana Vodesil-Baruffi