Thursday, March 1, 2012

Robert Fawcett on Drawing

Defeat and Death on Battan by Robert Fawcett

When asked in a 1960 Famous Artist Magazine interview how important drawing was to the total result of a picture, Robert Fawcett replied with the following quote:
Drawing constitutes the fountainhead and substance of painting and sculpture and architecture...Let him who has attained the possession of this be assured that he possesses a great treasure.
After my last post, I realized there was much more to share from the book Robert Fawcett- The Illustrator's Illustrator (which I highly recommend by the way).  I figured I'd post a little more today. The following is a breakdown of Fawcett's drawing style and mark making along with a few quotes from the above noted interview.

Q:What is the use of a picture anyway?
A: What use is a Beethoven symphony? To feed the spirit, to feed the soul.

Q: Do you believe artists should be trained?
A: They must pursue constant and relentless drawing. Being able to draw only comes about by drawing. Of course training will give the artist hints. But in the last analysis, the artist develops himself.

Q: Must an artist have talent?
A: I do not think that artists are naturally born...Sweat and application will develop the artist. An artist who wants badly enough to do it will do it anyway. It will be impossible to dissuade him. If students want to be spoon fed, this is not likely to be a real desire on their part to be artists, but merely a whim.

Q: What do you hope to communicate to those who see your work?
A: I would like them so see a sense of positive organization in my picture. If you see a picture that is well organized you have no trouble looking at it. This is the logical outcome of drawing. Drawing is seeing. And what we do is create a kind of order in a picture that makes it easy for people to look at.

On the art of seeing:
I'm just a built in eye. I can see with such clarity. But the hand always falters between the eye and the paper. ...You can learn to see by seeing....If I have a trained eye, I will record a more comprehensive picture because I know how to translate what I see. there should be the least amount of interference between the eye, the brain and the hand. When you have exhausted conventional seeing, you can go into more interesting things.

Q: What is the best advice you can give an aspiring illustrator?
A: If you want to be an artist, you will be an artist. If you do not become one, there is nobody to blame but yourself. The techniques can be learned and should be learned thoroughly. Then comes the relentless application of your knowledge.

Many thanks to Manuel Auad of Auad Publishing for his gracious permission to share these pictures and excerpts.


marvin luna said...

Remarkable. Thanks for sharing such inspiring, affirming and challenging words from such an amazing artist. Would you happen to know the difference in content between the book you are sharing here and the book, "Robert Fawcett on the art of drawing"? Thanks again.

Greg Newbold said...

I can't say regarding the difference since I have not seen the other book. But I will say, that regardless of what the other book is like, I bet it would be well worth having both. This book is top level.