|Michael Whynot. Anatomy study. Red chalk.|
Michelangelo said: "It is necessary to keep one's compass in one's eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges."
Learning to draw, making our marks on paper, shouldn't be such a difficult thing - children do it all the time and we were all children once. And yet, drawing well turns out to be a deceptively difficult skill; few ever truly master it.
Of course, the difficulty isn't so much making the mark, as knowing where, when and why to make the mark or not. And, to answer those questions, one must cultivate the ability to see form in three dimensions.
Many draftsmen conquer height and width, which can be measured mechanically with due practice. But depth is more illusive - perspective, atmosphere, foreshortening all come into play. And this is where mechanical measuring tends to falter, resulting in accurate, flat, lifeless drawings. Training the eye to see all the nuences of form can take a lifetime, but the results are worth it.
In the end, learning to draw, may be more a question of learning to see.