You will often hear me discussing “process” in my discussions on art. As you very well know, I believe in the importance of drawing in every aspect of the creative process. In my opinion, there should be a drawing for every project we undertake in the visual arts.
Becoming a Master Artist
Every Master Artist we admire developed a working method to produce the paintings, prints and sculptures we see in museums worldwide. Understanding and using these processes will help us become better artists. What I find really amazing is how some artists developed these working methods at a very young age.
Meet Georges Seurat
One example is Georges Seurat. You may be surprised to hear that Seurat died at 31 years of age. Like Degas, who I have discussed before, in his early to mid-twenties, he already showed signs of being a master artist and had developed some of the processes I talk about.
The importance of the sketchbook
I cannot speak enough about the importance of the sketchbook. The sketchbook is the most important tool we have if we want to become a serious painter. Flipping through the pages of George Seurat’s sketchbook, we discover many of the characters we see in his paintings. These drawings are the jumping-off point for the serious work ahead.
The Next Step
The importance of drawing
Seurat didn’t stop there. The next step in his process was preparatory drawings for his painting. These were intense value studies done in high contrast. Each element was first studied separately and then as a whole. I have included the drawing of one of the boys and a man from his “Une baignade à Asnières”
Back to basics
Many painters I know simply do not know how to draw. For some, their heavy reliance on photographs as subject matter has become a detriment to their work. Ask many abstract artists or painters who work from photographs to draw from life and you will see that they are unable to. This in my opinion is why the processes of a master artist should be the standard in all art curriculum whether it be amateur or professional training.
Image above: Georges Seurat, Une baignade à Asnières, 1884.