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The Language of Drawing From an Artist’s Viewpoint by Sherrie McGraw

The Language of Drawing by Sherrie McGrawI’ve just finished reading The Language of Drawing by Sherrie McGraw, one of the artists I was fortunate enough to befriend when I lived in New Mexico.

This is a book that every art student should have in her library – I don’t write that just to boost Sherrie’s sales.

It is a book that you will pour over, in the same manner that you study the DaVinci sketches in that book you own. You will examine her drawings, hoping that by osmosis alone you will be able to understand how she captures the essence of her subjects in those one-minute poses or how her sensitivity to line can describe the “air around” the seated figure.

Fortunately for us, she wrote a book so we’re not left to guess what she’s thinking as she makes her beautiful marks.

Be warned though, because this is not a book on HOW to draw. (My bookshelf is cluttered with plenty of those books so I am thankful it is not a how-to book.)

Sherrie writes in her preface:

An explanation of pure drawing principles, if it exists, has not come to my attention. Though many have written wonderful books about anatomy, perspective and proportion — all-important disciplines to a respectable draughtsman — the ideas not often discussed are the basic qualities possessed by someone who draws well.

So, she guides us on what is needed to possess those basic qualities. Even more important than the how or the what, is the why, the intention behind drawing.

In reading her words, I immediately thought, “this is someone who meditates”. And point of fact is that she does – but her meditation, her “just being” or in Sherrie’s case, “just seeing”, is her practice. Show up. Be present. And just see.

Learning to draw is learning to see.

*Sigh* I have much to learn…

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