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A 'Good' Drawing

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portrait drawing

pencil drawing by DürerWhat Makes a Good Drawing?

What is a Drawing?

According to Random House, a drawing is
"a representation by lines; a delineation of form without reference to color;"

Does that mean that a 'good' drawing is one that represents well? Or one that has 'good' lines? Or is the meaning of a 'good' drawing a completely different one? And last but not least by whose standards does the drawing have to be 'good'?

Good Lines

pencil drawingOne thing is sure, only lines make drawings. Smudges of graphite, pastels or colored pencils mean a transgression into painting. A good line is recognizable and has flow and rhythm. It is the handwriting of the artist.



Historically, 'good' representation was a prerequisite for a good drawing. Photography has changed a lot in this respect. The camera can capture a likeness in fractions of a second. That's what makes a drawing so much more fascinating! Somebody looked at the object for a long time, trying to capture its essence. We have no way of judging the represenational value of the old masters. Today photography makes this judgement much easier for the people who do not know the subject:

portrait portrait drawing


What does it really mean? Looking in the unabridged Random House Dictionary you'll find half a page's worth of explanations. Of course none of them relating to the art historian or art dealer, whose terminology we are talking about.
Which brings me to my personal opinion: It is good if you find it beautiful, or even shorter, if you like it!

pencil drawing

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