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 me, 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 a sense of drawing that is distinct from the way dancers draw with their bodies as they move through space and or the way Dan Flavin drew with light.

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Yet, the idea of gesture that is key to the dance and the act of claiming space that is key to Flavin is integral to gesture drawing.

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

(In the case of this performance artist, Heather Hansen, the visual and mental interaction is with the drawing itself rather than an external subject.     )


Here is a good summary of drawing as it pertains to our artmaking.

David Hockney,  master of many mediums, still considers drawing one of his most importance endeavors as an artist.

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

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.

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, variable pressure, thick and thin line drawings,






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