I firmly believe that drawing is the fundamental prerequisite for success in representational painting. There is no way around it. No excuses to be made if an artist wants to be an excellent, or even simply competent, painter. Good drawing is inextricably linked to good painting.
With that in mind, here are some quotes that I really like about drawing:
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
The whole essence of good drawing – and of good thinking, perhaps – is to work a subject down to the simplest form possible and still have it believable for what it is meant to be.
It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover to your surprise that you have rendered something in its true character.
Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.
Pure drawing is an abstraction. Drawing and colour are not distinct, everything in nature is coloured.
Drawing is not the form; it is the way of seeing the form.
To draw does not simply mean to reproduce contours; the drawing does not simply consist in the idea: the drawing is even the expression, the interior form, the plan, the model. Look what remains after that! The drawing is three fourths and a half of what constitutes painting. If I had to put a sign over my door [to the atelier], I would write: School of drawing, and I’m certain that I would create painters.
From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was fifty I had published a universe of designs. but all I have done before the the age of seventy is not worth bothering with. At seventy five I’ll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am eighty you will see real progress. At ninety I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At a hundred I shall be a marvelous artist. At a hundred and ten everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokosai, but today I sign my self ‘The Old Man Mad About Drawing.’
- Hokusai, The Drawings of Hokosai