Ideas about Drawing – starting points

Look up drawing definitions and you find that the common links between them:

Marks that make a picture or image, a plan, or diagram.  Marks that represent.

For our purposes in drawing and painting, it is intentional mark making, for visual communication that is technical, tactical,  culturally, or personally expressive on a tactile surface.  This is a working definition for thinking about drawing, how drawing leads to painting, and how drawing is used in painting.

It is related to the way dancers can in effect draw with their bodies. The idea of  claiming space and personal expression is key to dance and to gesture drawing.


Gesture, the way an artist captures and conveys form through motion and energetic markmaking, is a record of the artist’s visual and mental interaction with the subject in space.

Here is an inspired artist, Adebanji Alade, who uses drawing as foundation for painting and processing his experiences in the world.

Another artist, David Hockney,  master of many mediums (including film and digital media), still considers drawing one of his most important endeavors as an artist.

Here he is drawing, and painting, on his ipad.

Here are some wonderful Hockney quotes:

When you are older, you realise that everything else is just nothing compared to painting and drawing.

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

Drawing makes you see things clearer, and clearer and clearer still, until your eyes ache.

Alberto Giacometti is another artist who has thought intensely about drawing.

Gesture is dependent upon the artist’s body language, mark making, and sense of perception. The summary of the James Lord’s account of sitting for a portrait by Giacommetti is an introduction to the artist’s ideas about perception and drawing.‘a-giacometti-portrait’-sitting-for-a-master/

Here is  video of his painting process – which is really drawing with a brush.




See Artstor 20 J – Gesture – for Giacometti images and Mondrian’s gesture drawings and his progression from realism to abstraction. (Regarding Modnrian, see below: Mondrian Master Drawings Smith College Museum of Art  – Choose Google Book and scroll to page 236 and read both indented quotes, especially the last, from Mondrian about his intentions, followed by another image of a Chrysanthemum on page 237.)


Here is a tutorial on gesture drawing. Gesture drawing will give you the opportunity to adapt and adjust your drawing as you become more attuned to your subject:


Introductory practices:

gesture and variable pressure contour points






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