Drawing as a process of thinking by: Victor Serrano “…I prefer you to take as your model a mediocre sculpture rather than an excellent painting, for from painted objects we train our hand only to make a likeness, whereas from sculptures we learn to represent both likeness and correct incidence of light…”1 There is an invention to be discovered in the lines of a drawing. These lines must successfully represent the presence of things. To be present is to exist within the current moment and to be affected by time. In order to understand today’s relationship between design drawings and objects we will briefly look at the art of making during the Italian Renaissance. Drawing was a tool used to record the world. The artist implemented drawing to study the beauty and science of proportions by dissecting both antique Roman structures and the human body as one can see in sculptures, paintings and architecture where elements are often studied as fragmented pieces of the whole. Under this light one can say that the process of drawing is directly linked to the processes of sensing. While painting and sculpture captured likeness, drawings were used as an exploration of instances to be incorporated in the final work thus creating differences between the drawings and the sculptures or paintings derived from them.
Illustration 1: Anatomical Study of the Arm (c.1510), Leonardo da Vinci
1. Leon Battista Alberti On Painting (translated by Cecil Grayson)
For example, when comparing the “study of Adam” drawing with “The creation of Adam” painting by Michelangelo, one can say that both are parts of the same whole. Presence is achieved in painting by way of color, textures and light in a composition and the drawing shows the various possibilities that the painting could have become at different moments in time. Finally, with this understanding one can address the relationship between today's computer rendering and the thinking process in a similar fashion. Digital representation should promote a range of design possibilities rather than one final answer. “Thinking” and “Making” must be part of the same process of representation in order to communicate the presence of things. When likeness is achieved in this way, the
lines of the drawings will reflect a dynamic
thinking process rather than a mechanical reproduction.
Illustration 2: Study of Adam. The British Museum.
Illustration 3: The Creation of Adam. Sistine Chapel.
References: Goffi, Federica. Drawing Imagination and the Imagination of Drawing. Interstices 11. Enigma (2010) Belting, H. (1994). Likeness and Presence: a History of the Image before the Era of Art. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Alberti, Leon Battista. On Painting. Translated by John R. Spencer. Yale University Press (1966). Dixon, Andrew Graham. Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel. Skyhorse Publications (2009). Calvino, Italo. Invisible Cities. Translated by William Weaver. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1978). Zeki, S. (1999). Inner Vision, An Exploration of Art and the Brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press