Drawing Day 2017

If you’ve been on social media today (May 16, 2017) you might have seen people posting drawings with the hashtag DrawingDay. It seems that we are required to have a day for everything, but in this case I’ll curb my cynicism because I love drawing. I’m not much good at it myself, but I can revel in the works of others.

We are tactile creatures. Despite the importance of conceptual art, which minimizes the individual artist’s technical skill, and the rise of computer-generated imagery, I cannot believe that drawing will ever lose its central place in art-making.

We try to capture the world in many ways, always cognizant that it slips past us in the bittersweet flow of time. Drawing allows us to capture impressions of the world in ways no other technique can. Artist and subject collaborate with medium(s); there is an argument to be made that drawing captures this collaboration even more than painting, but this is a post about drawing. I’ll elaborate on the argument some other time.

Van Gogh drew with paint as well as with pencil or pen. His painting style is a direct descendant of his drawing style. Nothing looks quite like a van Gogh, and as a result we enter a world no one else saw:


Kathe Kollwitz tackles the classic self-portrait with precision and energy. Her arm appears to embody creative action. Outside of the photograph, only drawing is capable of this much immediacy:


Kathe Kollwitz, Self-Portrait, 1933. Collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Drawings not only illustrate stories, they become the medium through which the stories are told, as in the comic strip. (Below, the first episode of Lyonel Feininger‘s The Kin-der-Kids, May 6, 1906)


Drawing continues to be our introduction to art, in children’s crayons and colored pencils, and even in computer drawing programs. It doesn’t matter if you have little talent; drawing trains your eye to see everything as art. And when you see the world that way, you become more aware of the beauty and fragility of the world, and your respect and love for all creation deepens. Don’t take just one day to celebrate drawing. Do it all the time.


Vija Celmins, Big Sea II, 1969


2 thoughts on “Drawing Day 2017

  1. Pingback: Drawing Day 2017 | Art Matters | word pond

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