A Selection of My Favourite Quotes about Drawing

“Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worthwhile, and it will do you a world of good.” ~ Cennini.

“Drawing never dies, it holds on by the skin of its teeth, because the hunger it satisfies – the desire for an active, investigative, manually vivid relation with the things we see and yearn to know about – is apparently immortal.” – Robert Hughes

“A sketch has charm because of its truth – not because it is unfinished.” Charles Hawthorne

” Why does a fine sketch please us more that a fine picture? It is because there is more life in it… Why can a young student, incapable of doing even a mediocre picture, do a marvellous sketch? It is because the sketch is the product of enthusiasm and inspiration, while the picture is the product of labour, patience, lengthy study and consummate experience in art. ”  –  DIDEROT, 1767.

“I have always considered drawing not as an exercise of particular dexterity… but as a means deliberately simplified so as to give simplicity and spontaneity to the expression, which should speak without clumsiness, directly to the mind of the spectator.” – Matisse

“The process of drawing is, before all else, the process of putting the visual intelligence into action, the very mechanics of visual thought. Unlike painting and sculpture it is the process by which the artist makes clear to himself, and not to the spectator, what he is doing. It is a soliloquy before it becomes communication.” Michael Ayerton

“What do drawings mean to me? I really don’t know. The activity absorbs me. I forget everything else in a way that I don’t think happens with any other activity… ” John Berger

“There is only one right way to draw and that is a perfectly natural way. It has nothing to do with artifice or technique. It has nothing to do with aesthetics or conception. It has only to do with the act of correct observation, and by that I mean a physical contact with all sorts of objects through the senses.” Kimon Nicolaîdes

“For I am nearly convinced that, when once we see keenly enough, there is very little difficulty in drawing what we see; but, even supposing that this difficulty be still great, I believe that the sight is a more important thing than the drawing.” Ruskin

” It is only well painted if its spiritual value is complete and satisfying. “Good drawing” is drawing that cannot be altered without destruction of this inner value, quite irrespective of its correctness as anatomy, botany, or any other science. There is no question of a violation of natural form, but only of the need of the artist for such form.” Wassilly Kandinsky

“Drawing is a kind of hypnotism: one looks in such a way at the model, that he comes and takes a seat on the paper.” Pablo Picasso

“… In your opinion, what is it that makes a carnet de voyage authentic?”
“As an author, I can recognise in a few seconds the difference between a work that is , even before the departure of its authors, prefabricated in the comfort of a publisher’s studio & a work of which the author has taken risks along the route and the time to reflect upon & concieve the work. Personally, I never leave for voyaging, saying to myself that I’m going to make such or such a work. It’s upon return that the project takes shape.” Yvonn le Corre.

“From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was fifty I had published a universe of designs. but all I have done before the the age of seventy is not worth bothering with. At seventy five I’ll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am eighty you will see real progress. At ninety I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At a hundred I shall be a marvelous artist. At a hundred and ten everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokosai, but today I sign my self ‘The Old Man Mad About Drawing.’ ” ~ Hokusai, The Drawings of Hokosai