Struggling to recreate the subtle tonal effects of Seurat’s drawings set me thinking about the nature of drawing itself. For Ruskin it is merely ‘dirtying the paper delicately’ and certainly Seurat’s subtle and delicate tonal effects require great delicacy in the use of Conté crayon. For Dawn Arkell, a mature art student quoted in The Guardian drawing is like ‘Dancing on paper – that’s what it is just dancing on paper.’ I rather like that — the movement of the hand when hand/eye coordination is working well is like dancing. You can sense the thrill of the hand movement in Rembrandt’s quick sketches done with a reed pen or Raphael’s quick exploroatory drawings for his Madonnas.
I broke off from the Seurat studies to do some computer graphics. The contrast between the two processes is stark. Good computer graphics software allows you to draw after a fashion on a touch pad but the resulting marks bear no comparison to the hand made marks creatred by traditional drawing tools. Indeed computer graphics are created by a process in which the hand made mark has no place.