On today’s episode of Man vs. Art I want to explore how the act of drawing has thoroughly shaped our lives.
There was a time when the ability to draw was seen as the primary essential skill of any artist.
But in the age of the cut and paste pixel and digital imagery many see drawing as an outdated activity.
I want to challenge the modern prejudices that say drawing is uncool and that those who do draw are sad Luddite weirdo loners stuck in a dead past.
Drawing is the most rewarding and essential artistic skill at work in the world today.
Drawing lies behind everything we see and use in the our modern world. The building you are sitting in, the computer you are using, even the shoes you are wearing started as a few lines on a page. Then through a series of more enhanced drawings were transformed from a figment of the imagination into the object before you.
Drawing is everywhere people! It has so much to say about artists and how we think, look at the world and express ourselves! Drawing is about how we communicate with each other telling stories through the timeless language of pictures. We use drawing to understand with the world around us, to grasp it’s beauty and especially to grapple with our own place within it!
Leonardo Da Vinci
In the late 1400’s Leonardo DaVinci began anatomical drawing to satisfy his insatiable curiosity about the human body.
18th century scientist and artist George Stubbs had a fixation on the subject of horses that culminated in some of the most brilliant anatomical drawings the world has ever seen. His ability to capture the weight and grace and poise of a horse was impeccable. His sheer obsession with how he approached the study of horses is astounding.
In 1764 portrait painter John Russell looked at the moon through a telescope and he was hooked. He made a sketch of what he saw and it changed his life forever. He bought himself two telescopes of his own and his life’s work began in earnest.Over the course of the next 20 years he built up an incredible collection of superbly detailed drawings of the moon’s surface.
Russel was so meticulous with his process he even designed his own crayons with which to draw his lunar landscapes. Scientists today can identify the craters individually from Russell’s studies!
John James Audobon
At the beginning of the 19th century John James Audobon found an unshakable fascination with the wildlife of North America. He wasn’t a trained artist but an outdoors-man yet he wanted to catalog North America’s wildlife treasures with an obsessive zeal! In 1819 the bankrupted Audubon threw himself into compiling an epic work of ornithology, “The Birds of America” He spent 20 years making extraordinary drawings of every single bird species he could find in the woods of America.
His prints are some of the most reproduced works of art in North America. His compositions showed dramatic scenes that were loaded with scientific information. He chose to make the book with prints of the birds all life sized. Which made the book HUGE and difficult to reproduce. In the end only 200 were ever made. Very few remain to this day, one sold at auction a few years ago for 9 million dollars.
His epic 430 page masterpiece was his way of saying his adopted homeland was God’s country.
Drawing has deepened man’s preoccupation with Nature from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and has driven the advancement of modern science!
Thank you Drawing!
Also mentioned in the podcast is
Minion Robyn Mallory’s who wrote in to Man vs. Art http://revulo.deviantart.com/
Andrew Miller from DrewToonz who left a voice mail. http://northshorecartoon.com