Skip navigation

Arts Society Lecture

2B OR NOT 2B? An Illustrated Story of Drawing

Why is Leonardo's famous cartoon in the National Gallery no joke? What is the purpose of a 'spolvero'? How much lead is there in a pencil? Which tree produces gall nut ink? And can you spot bracelet shading, cross-hatching, stippling or stumping?

Drawing plays a key role in an artist's training. The techniques are quick and immediate. It is a type of brain-storming: a way of sketching out ideas. But it can be also planning a composition, presenting an idea for a large project to a client, or purely a finished product in its own right.

Whilst some of the earliest drawings made by man survive in the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave, most extant drawings date from the late Medieval period. These take the form of model books for use in a busy workshop.

From the Renaissance, model books would be replaced with more personal sketch books. Precious hand-made rag paper would be replaced with machine-made wood pulp sheets, metal point would be replaced with the modern pencil. But charcoal, as used at Chauvet, still remains popular today.

In this beautifully illustrated lecture we will discover the drawing techniques of the Great Masters.