Why draw?

Why do we draw?
Here is a first list of reasons for drawing:

  • To observe
  • To record some real phenomenon, such as a scene or a person’s face
  • To play
  • To explore, to follow a line
  • To think
  • To capture some essence of an object being drawn
  • To become one with the object being drawn
  • To communicate something, for example, an emotion, a mental state, an idea, a thought, an inference, . . .
  • To express some prior internal emotion or mental state
  • To express some internal emotion or mental state concurrent with drawing, something that arises in the act of drawing
  •  To invoke some emotion in the drawing
  • To provoke some emotion or mental state in the viewer of the drawing
  • To inspire viewers to action, as, for example, in political posters or satirical cartoons
  •  To achieve some internal emotion or mental state by drawing –  for instance, to seek to become calm, to seek to enter a trance, to seek to be in the moment
  • To better know oneself
  • To seek mastery of the skills and arts of drawing, to train oneself in these arts, to undertake a practice (in the Zen sense of that word)
  • To pray
  • To communicate with non-material (spirit) realms
  • To achieve or to progress towards religious salvation
  • To provide soteriological guidance to others, as Shitao and his Buddhist contemporaries believed they were doing in China of the early Qing Dynasty (See:  Hay 2001).
  • To pass the time.

More on drawing-as-thinking here.  For comparison, some reflections on the purposes of music here, and on music as thought here.
Jonathan Hay [2001]: Shitao: Painting and Modernity in Early Qing China. New York: Cambridge University Press, Research Monograph Series.

0 Responses to “Why draw?”

Comments are currently closed.