Draw lines, young man, draw lines; whether from memory or after nature. Then you will be a good artist.


No longer a young man or as good an artist as I would wish, it is how I started the year.

Yesterday, when my son visited with his daughter I took the opportunity to do a few sketches as he watched a movie. At first she slept in his arms, then awakened by the sound, became as captivated as he by the images moving before them. For her I’m sure they were just a swirl of colours and shapes, or perhaps something I am not even aware of, but for a moment her mind wished to absorb it all. In the same way I too was trying to absorb the swirl of shapes and forms in front of me, and to capture not only the physical, but also the moment that absorbed my attention and my heart. For me, that is drawing.

A few thoughts on drawing:

The quote at the top was taken from The Primacy of Drawing. It’s a large volume, a beautiful book I received from my wife this Christmas written by Deanna Petherbridge. From the scanning of the pages and the excerpts I’ve read so far it is probably the best book on drawing I have yet come across. I say this because Ms. Petherbridge no only has a great knowledge of drawing from the historical and museological side (should there be a word as such) but also is an accomplished artist and thus looks at drawing and the process behind it from the eyes and hands of an artist. To that I should add the heart too.

For me drawing has always been my greatest love. The magic that a line is capable of is of never ending fascination to me; and one of never ending challenge.

I teach figure drawing at a college in an animation program. When animation was hand drawn in the traditional,or classical way, it seemed obvious that skills in drawing were necessary. When computer animation came on, many foolishly predicted the end of the need for teaching drawing, much in the same way figure drawing had fallen out of favour in the University system.

I found it frustrating to express my concern for this attitude because I felt the reasons for drawing were deeper than just making an image. I felt there was a process in drawing that challenged the intellect, the faculties of observation and perception, and even of understanding.

äPerhaps they are all the same or very similar, for in that swirl of the moment where an eye is hit by the light reflecting from an image, where sensations go to the brain and the mind discerns elements both recognizable or new, filters them through prior experiences and emotions, or struggles to keep them fresh and untainted, and finally sends the appropriate impulses to a complex mass of muscles surrounding a structure of bone grasping a tool of relative simplicity or connected to the most intricate electronic devices and creates a mark or a series of interconnected dots that somehow communicate an idea or an impression to another human being and ends up telling a story: a drawing is born.

To me drawing is a matter of the eye, the hand, the head, and the heart and each playing its particular part in that magic that is drawing.

Happy Drawing to everyone!

The Primacy of Drawing by Deanna Petherbridge

Some Blogs I encourage you to visit – excellent artists each.

Daniela Strijleva http://danielastrijleva.blogspot.com/

James Robertson http://theironscythe.blogspot.com/

Dave Pimentel http://drawingsfromamexican.blogspot.com/

By | 2018-06-09T17:53:19+00:00 January 1st, 2011|Drawing, Figure Studies|4 Comments

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  1. Anonymous January 3, 2011 at 12:59 am - Reply

    That was an amazing post

  2. werner zimmermann January 3, 2011 at 1:42 am - Reply

    thanks anonymous.

  3. Mikell January 30, 2011 at 3:28 am - Reply

    That was absolutely beautiful.

    Sometimes, I need to remind myself to not just look, but to really see what I wish to communicate. Even if the translation is far from perfect, it brings me joy and humbles me every time; knowing that there is always more to the fascinatingly endless vocabulary of methods to learn in drawing.

    These methods can translate through to other mediums because they attribute to our way of seeing. Thus, it should never become obsolete.

    Thanks for sharing these words. It certainly brought back to mind why I began drawing in the first place.

  4. werner March 14, 2011 at 12:36 am - Reply

    thanks Mikell.

    "knowing that there is always more to the fascinatingly endless vocabulary of methods to learn in drawing" as you say is what keeps me, and I am sure most of us, going until the lights go out. Well said. thanks.

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