I went to the Leonardo Da Vinci drawings exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery last Autumn.

I always feel drawings are more often a window into the mind of the artist or designer than the final works are. They show where someone hesitated with a mark – should it be a curve here; and if so more, or less, acute? Looking at these drawings I felt a sense of loss for an age where artisans practised and practised and practised – and then practised some more. Spending their whole lives learning through drawings. Drawing trains the eye to see and the mind to look. 

Photos of Da Vinci's drawing from the Queen's Gallery exhibition

To do it well you have to be willing to break your own rules and expectations; to look deeply and to actually draw what you see, not what you expect to see or what you think you should see. And of course often what you are ‘seeing’ is your vision for what you want to make. For example in Leonardo’s drawing  for a sculpture of Poseidon (Neptune) riding on the waves or horses of the Sea, the drawing perfectly captures the churning energy of the Sea and the power of the god who masters it.

The apprenticeship system still exists but most apprenticeships are much shorter and the financial model of patronage really doesn’t work anymore. Sadly, what we lose is depth, and time.

Drawing has always been hard for me. It takes me ages and I find myself impatient with it when I am designing. I often go straight into what I call 3D drawing, or “second stage designing” – where I make samples, in metal, of textures and structures until I can marry up my vision with the finished piece.

Designs for a necklace (left) and a ring (right) by Reema Pachachi

But when I use drawing to learn about my subject then it is a different matter. I am still impatient with my lack of skill but I am dogged. I can work all day on a drawing, and then decide it is not accurate enough and then I have to scrap it and start all over again. I am quite brutal in my self assessments but the way I look at it these drawings are made to test my ability to observe precisely so I had better be committed to doing it as well as I can…

Drawings of a rope (left) and a life drawing of a woman (right) by Reema Pachachi

That’s all for now,


*Drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci on show at the Queen’s Gallery.

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