Inspirations: 10 Great Quotes About Drawing


Tamenaka and wrestling scene, Hokusai


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.
Chuck Jones

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.
Camille Pisarro


Portrait of Louis Reiset, Ingres


Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.
Salvador Dali

Originality depends only on the character of the drawing and the vision peculiar to each artist.
Georges Seurat

Pure drawing is an abstraction. Drawing and colour are not distinct, everything in nature is coloured.
Paul Cezanne


Example sheet, Chuck Jones


A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.
Paul Klee

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.


Portraits en Frise, Degas


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

7 thoughts on “Inspirations: 10 Great Quotes About Drawing

  1. Susan… You are doing a great job of helping to focus artist’s basic concepts. Drawing skills have for 20 years or more been downplayed as “Core Skills” in art schools. This I think was a great oversight by administrators and instructors trying to “appear” more relevant and “hip” in the eyes of high school students trying to figure out where to go to art school. But now after a couple decades we have a whole new batch of art school graduates who can use a computer really well… but who can’t draw worth a damn. The ability to draw & sketch are the single most elemental “imaging skills” that all artists should cultivate. It’s the fastest easiest, most immediate skill where an artist attempts to create an “image” on paper of something they are either thinking or perceiving. Keep up your excellent efforts.


  2. Thank you for sharing this Susan :). Its so important to be perfect in drawing skills…completely agree with Mr. David Rankin’s words!

    “Drawing is thoughts and movements of heart & mind”.

    All best wishes,

    Cheers, Rahul


  3. Life is a battle between faith and reason in which each feeds upon the other, drawing sustenance from it and destroying it. 🙂


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