DRAWING LIFE by fred hatt


Different Strokes

Porcupine, 1951, woodcut by Leonard Baskin


The magic of drawing or printmaking is in the strokes.  By strokes I mean the particular and idiosyncratic quality of the lines or other marks the artist makes.  Some lines jab while others meander.  Some markings are cloudy while others are crisp.  The strokes convey in a tactile way the essence of how the artist comes to grips with the challenge of capturing a thing seen or actualizing an inner vision.  Making a drawing is a journey of exploration, and these markings are the spoor of the trek.  When we look at a drawing, we can feel the energy that went into it in the particular flavor of its lineaments.

In this post I present a goodly selection of mostly monochrome sketches and prints by a wide diversity of masterly mark-makers.  I’ll let the works speak for themselves and leave it to you to contemplate the contrasts among them.  I have generally chosen pieces with a direct, spontaneous quality, avoiding highly finished styles where the quality of line may be more a matter of design than of the energy of the mind and the hand.  I often tried to find unfamiliar examples of the work of well-known artists, and sometimes individual works that are not representative of the artists’ familiar styles.  I think you’ll be particularly surprised by the early De Kooning sketch!

Man Walking in a Field, 1883, conte crayon drawing by Georges Seurat


Portrait, title, date and medium unknown, by Paul Cadmus


Composition, 1916, medium unknown, by Wassily Kandinsky


Edward Scissorhands, 1990, pen and pencil drawing by Tim Burton


Autumn, 1970, engraving by Salvador Dalí


Self Portrait, 1946, by David Alfaro Siqueiros


Musician portrait, date, title, and medium unknown, by Edgar Degas


Drawings, 1939, title and medium unknown, by Jackson Pollock


Saturn, 1516, engraving(?) by Hans Baldung Grien


Resting Woman Wearing Tiara, 1936, pen and ink drawing by Henri Matisse


Sketchbook pages, date unknown, drawings by R. Crumb


Reproduction Drawing III (after the Leonardo cartoon), 2010, media unknown, by Jenny Saville


Self Portrait at the Age of Eighty-Three, 1843, ink brush drawing by Hokusai


Untitled, 1981, drawing by Jean-Michel Basquiat


Study for the Head of Leda, 1506, ink and chalk drawing by Leonardo da Vinci


Gregory Hines, date and medium unknown, sketch by Jules Feiffer


Study of the Head of Elizabeth Siddal for “Ophelia”, 1852, medium unknown, by John Everett Millais


Femme nue couchée, 1932, charcoal drawing by Pablo Picasso


Old Man on a Swing, 1826, medium unknown, by Francisco Goya


Untitled, 1950, ink drawing on parchment by Philip Guston


Europa, 1953, lithograph by Hans Erni


Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, 1514, by Albrecht Dürer


Love Forever (TAOW), 2004, marker drawing on canvas by Yayoi Kusama


Bird Personage, date and medium unknown, by Remedios Varo


Court Room Scene, date and medium unknown, by Honoré Daumier


Beekeepers, 1568, etching(?) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder


Drawings, dates, titles and media unknown, by Alberto Giacometti


Self Portrait, date and medium unknown, by Henry Fuseli


Tree with Trunk, 1998, etching by Louise Bourgeois


Drawing, 1944, title and medium unknown, by Pavel Tchelitchew


Nude Study, 1908, etching by Georges Braque


The Sower, 1888, pencil and pen and ink drawing by Vincent van Gogh


Portrait of Elaine De Kooning, 1940, pencil drawing by Willem De Kooning


Some Can Fly and Some Can’t, 1939, medium unknown, by Rico Lebrun


Le Chapeau-Main, 1947, lithograph by Hans Bellmer


Sketch for “Apollo Slays Python”, 1850, medium unknown, drawing by Eugène Delacroix


Madame Louis-Francois Godinot, 1829, medium unknown, drawing by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, with detail


Corps de Dame, 1950, medium unknown, by Jean Dubuffet


Cape Lion, 1650, medium unknown, drawing by Rembrandt van Rijn


The Man who Taught Blake Painting in his Dreams, 1820, print(?) by William Blake


Five Swearing, 1912, oil sketch by Ferdinand Hodler


Madame Sohn, 1918, charcoal sketch by Egon Schiele


Seated Bodhidharma, 18th century, ink brush drawing by Suio Genro


All the images used in this post were found on the web, and clicking on an image will take you to the page where I found it.  Any information about the artwork that is listed as “unknown” is information I was not able to find at the time of making the post.  If you can provide additional or corrected information I will incorporate it.

Readers are invited to nominate some of their favorite drawings for an eventual sequel to this post!

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