Two Handed Drawing

hands charcoal


“Merely to see, therefore, is not enough. It is necessary to have a fresh, vivid, physical contact with the object you draw through as many of the senses as possible—and especially through the sense of touch.”

 Kimon Nicolaides, The Natural Way to Draw

Notes on Drawing Philosophy

One of my main drawing gurus is Kimon Nicolaides, who wrote “The Natural Way To Draw”.  One of his most powerful concepts for me is his idea of engaging all of the senses in the act of seeing and drawing. He talks about having the conviction that you are actually making physical contact with the model (metaphorically) when drawing the figure.

In my figure drawing classes, I often have students begin by fleshing out their drawing with powdered charcoal applied directly to the paper using both of their hands simultaneously. It’s like finger painting. It helps them “feel out” the pose, engaging their sense of touch. I think perhaps working with both hands contributes to an integration of left and right brain. This is a very unscientific theory, but it seems to help with their perception of form. It’s tactile and kinesthetic and helps their brain process the sometimes overwhelming task of learning to draw. It also helps them to move out to the edges of the page, which improves the composition. Once they get the rhythm and movement down, then they begin working with charcoal sticks.


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