There are a few artists that I would like to watch step-by-step,
drawing in their sketchbooks or painting in their studios.
Okay, more than a few, but after seeing Van Gogh's drawings, he would
definitely be at the top of my list.
|Cottage Garden by Vincent Van Gogh, reed pen,
quill, and ink drawing over graphite, 1888.
I was, of course, aware of Van Gogh's painting output and
style, but his drawings were a shock to me. I had no idea he created such
incredible line drawings. But I shouldn't have been surprised. The frenetic
energy that inhabits his paintbrush would certainly translate to even his
In fact, Van Gogh had very strong drawing ideas. He believed
the practice was the root of everything, and he had a robust appreciation for
draftsmen across history including Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Daumier, and Howard
What I found most intriguing during my study of his drawing
oeuvre was that the artist went through a period of contour drawing and line
drawing, and found appealing aspects to both. I often feel it is immature of me
to enjoy drawings with strong outlines, but if Van Gogh found something in them
that worthwhile that's enough for me.
||Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin
by Vincent Van Gogh,
pen and ink drawing, 1888.
I'm also enchanted by the way Van Gogh mixed his materials,
often mixing and matching graphite, gouache, colored chalk, pen and ink, oil
paint, and watercolor. He would also often use multiple pens: reed, quill, and
an ordinary fountain pen, to create a variety of lines. The results are
hypnotic and strangely delicate--there's an ornamentation to them that I've
never ascribed to Van Gogh before. Looking at his drawings was like "meeting"
his work for the first time.
Studying Van Gogh's drawings could be a lifelong drawing
tutorial for me, with every new drawing teaching me a new way of seeing and
making marks. But I don't live by Van Gogh, alone. There are so many great
drawing resources that I'm glad to have at my side as I progress, including Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters, Classical Drawing Atelier, and Language of Drawing. Any one of these
could be right for you, too. Enjoy!
P.S. What artist's drawings do you really enjoy or are inspired by? Leave a comment and let me know.