The History of Drawing

cave-The first known drawings are in the caves of France and Spain. The cave drawings are believed to be 35,000 years old dating from 30,000 to 10,000 B.C. The images were often of animals, drawn with charcoal and ochre. Other known examples of early drawings were carved or scratched onto the primitive tools of the time. That is where the history drawing has its roots.

Drawing is as old as humanity — The earliest artists were drawing images before they learned to write. Drawing was a helpful and necessary form of communication in those times. The ancient Egyptians drew scenes of daily life on their tombs and on their temples to communicate ‘their existence.’

They used Papyrus for illustrations. Papyrus served as an early form of paper, made from the papyrus plant. Papyrus grew wild in the marshes of the Nile River and was cultivated by the Egyptians for writing and drawing purposes. Pen and ink were used to draw on the finished papyrus surface.

It was the ancient Romans who began to abandon the artistic and ornamental nature of drawings for more practical usages. They ushered in the first technical drawings and as a result maps arose. Technical map drawings required mathematical knowledge and led to the birth of architecture.

Drawing has continuously changed throughout history. Each new style or trend grew out of the trend that came before it. During the late 1300’s, artists began to use paper more and more. The paper was preferable to rock, silver, wooden tablets, vellum, papyrus and parchments.

Throughout the entire history of drawing, the fundamental principles have never changed — Look/see/sketch /add details/Look again. The physical act of drawing is about hand-pressure, value control, and eye-hand coordination.

If we consider the vast history of drawing, the artists most recognized for unsurpassed successes and skills are the great masters like Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Leonardo.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

Leonardo was one of the greatest artists who ever lived. Studying his life will reveal lots about the history of drawing.

Michelangelo (1475-1564)

Michelangelo is the artist who painted the Sistine Chapel Ceiling. His drawings are close to technological perfection.cave

Rembrandt (1606-1669)

Rembrandt is a Dutch artist and is considered, by many, the greatest artist in the history of drawing.

Today, drawing has taken on new characteristics and would probably give the ancient artists quite a shock. “Digital drawing” is awesome in its technology and has ushered in a range of new drawing concepts to contribute to the history of art.