Thursday, December 05, 2013

Favourite quotes about drawing and sketching

Tell me what's your favourite quote about drawing or sketching.
Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worth while, and it will do you a world of good.
Cennino Cennini
I'm a lover of quotations and I'm trying to include some in the book I'm writing - however I want some really good ones!

Below are the quotations which are contenders for inclusion to date.  I'll add any of your suggestions which I particularly like into this list.  That's not to say they aren't all good - but I am trying to find the best ones!

[This list has now been updated with quotations from the suggestions and others I've subsequently found- please keep the suggestions coming. I've also changed the images to be ones relating to the artists quoted]

Dutch artists

"I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing."
Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890) Post Impressionist painter
"In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing."
Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890) Post Impressionist painter

French artists

"The first things to study are form and values. For me, these are the things that are the basics of what is serious in art.
Jean Baptiste Corot (1796-1875), French painter
“Faites des lignes. Faites beaucoup de lignes.” ("Draw lines - draw a lot of lines")
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres - 1780 – 14 January 1867) French Neoclassical painter.
(This was his advice to a young Degas who had announced he wanted to become a painter)
Dancer Adjusting Her Slipper (1873) by Edgar Degas
Graphite heightened with black and white chalk on pink wove paper (now faded); squared for transfer
Height: 330 mm (12.99 in). Width: 244 mm (9.61 in)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
"Drawing is the artist's most direct and spontaneous expression, a species of writing: it reveals, better than does painting, his true personality."
Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917) French artist
"Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see"
Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917) French artist
Originality depends only on the character of the drawing and the vision peculiar to each artist.Georges Seurat (1859 - 1891) French Post Impressionist painter
L'Écho, study for Une Baignade, Asnières (Bathing Place, Asnières). Conté crayon on Michallet paper. 31.2 × 24 cm
L'Écho, study for Une Baignade, Asnières (Bathing Place, Asnières) by Georges Seurat
Conté crayon on Michallet paper. 31.2 × 24 cm
"I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies."
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris a.k.a. as Le Corbusier (1887-1965) French architect 
"Drawing is putting a line (a)round an idea."
Henry Matisse (1869 - 1954) French artist 
"Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation."
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908 - 2004) French photographer 
"One must always draw, draw with the eyes, when one cannot draw with a pencil"
Balthus (1908 - 2001) Polish-French modern artist

Italian Artists

"You can never do too much drawing."
Jacopo Tintoretto (1518-1594), Venetian painter

Spanish artists

“In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt."
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Spanish artist
"Drawing is the honesty of the art. there is no possibility of cheating. it is either good or bad."
Salvador Dali (1904 - 1989) Spanish Surrealist Painter

Swiss artist

"A drawing is simply a line going for a walk."
Paul Klee (1879 - 1940) German-Swiss artist

UK artists

"Drawing takes time. A line has time in it"
David Hockney (1937 - date) English artist
Drawing is rather like playing chess: your mind races ahead of the moves that you eventually make.
David Hockney
 (1937 - date) English artist

USA artists

"You can't do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh."
John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925) American artist
"Drawing is the basis of art. A bad painter cannot draw. But one who draws well can always paint".
Arshile Gorky (1904- 1948) Armenian-American painter  
"I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen"
Frederick Franck (1909 - 2006) Dutch American sculptor 

20 comments:

Vicki Lee Johnston said...

"One must always draw, draw with the eyes, when one cannot draw with a pencil"
Balthus
A favourite quote of mine as often I am unable to draw and paint when I want. If I see a wonderful subject I do so with my eyes - work out the lines, tonal studies, colours etc - all observational training.

Don McNulty said...

'Drawing is all about mileage on the tip of your pen', David Passalacqua USA, "The important thing is to do. and nothing else, be what it may' Pablo Picasso

Marie said...

"Drawing is the basis of art. A bad painter cannot draw. But one who draws well can always paint".
Arshile Gorky ( Vosdanig Adoian) Armenian ( 1904- 1948)

Marie said...

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Spanish, said
" Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up".
I think that this quote can be applied to drawing as well as painting or any of the arts.
As a child one draws with passion and abandonment
not fearing judgement and criticism. If one can retain that joy and wonder in adulthood that is the best gift in life!

Kathryn Hansen said...

from Salvador Dali~
"drawing is the honesty of the art. there is no possibility of cheating. it is either good or bad."

i like this because it is SO true...if you do not have drawing skills or know basic composition elements, you can not produce good work, in my opinion!


Jen Kirby said...

I've always liked John Singer Sargent's A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth.

sue smith said...

I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing. (Vincent van Gogh)

When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college - that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, 'You mean they forget?' (Howard Ikemoto)

Bobbi Heath said...

Drawing is the artist's most direct and spontaneous expression, a species of writing: it reveals, better than does painting, his true personality. - Edgar Degas

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Nice one Bobbi!

Bernadette Madden said...

I`ve always liked the phrase " a language manycoloured" ( James Joyce/ A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man ). It is part of a much longer,complicated sentence, but always struck me as a good description of drawing and painting ....particularly drawing.

Jim Serrett said...

There are many ways to draw beautifully.
It's important to let the drawing be an investigation and sometimes, in order to investigate, you need to go off the path.
(Jacob Collins)

Ka Gray said...

One of my favourites:

"In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing." Vincent Van Gogh

David J Teter said...


Two I like from Degas because they also go beyond drawing. We are showing the world what and how we see, each of us ingdin our own unique way.

"Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see"
Degas

"Drawing is not a form it is a way of seeing a form" Degas

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Keep them coming - we're getting some really great ones!

Astrid Volquardsen said...

Ingres advice to young Degas: Draw lines, many lines from nature and from memory. Then you will be a good painter.

Rebecca said...

"Anything that passes before your eyes is a possible subject. Beauty may appear anywhere, at any time. You just have to be ready for it"
Kevin MacPherson

Steph Ayres said...

'I desperately needed something to hold onto, so I held onto my pencil' - Joann Sfar (Author and Illustrator of The Rabbi's Cat)

Colours and Textures said...

When I make my drawings... the path traced by my pencil on the sheet of paper is, to some extent, analogous to the gesture of a man groping his way in the darkness. (Alberto Giacometti)

Contour drawing helps you see that the things you are drawing aren't things but rather shapes that intertwine and connect. (Charles Reid)

Louise said...

An artist must have his measuring tools not in the hand, but in the eye. (Michelangelo)
Every time an artist dies, part of the vision of mankind passes with him. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
Both of theses comments speak volumes.
Louise

magpie said...


The very act of drawing an object, however badly, swiftly takes the drawer from a woolly sense of what the object looks like to a precise awareness of its component parts and particularities. (Alain de Botton)

I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen... (Frederick Franck)

Draw on both sides of the line, not just what you're enclosing. The shape you're making on the outside is as important as the one you're making on the inside. (Leon Polk Smith)


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