Drawing Doesn’t Have to Look Like its Object

Art is imitation  a shadow of reality – PLATO

M. Craig Martin proposed a list of 15 types of drawing in the book Drawing the Line(1995) ;

1. Works of art in their own right
2. Modest notes
3. Studies for works to be realized by grander means
4. Others were made after these grander works had already been produced
5. Musings, visual thinking out loud
6. Sketches
7. Speculations
8. Working plans
9. Notes, measurements
10. Unfinished
11. Complete
12. Observation
13. Memory
14. Imagination
15. According to the rules of a predetermined system

While D. PEtherbridge suggests The Primacy of Drawing
1. Representation, copying
2. Body of knowledge – Drawing can access parts of life that photo/film cannot (e.g inside courts of law)
3. Line vs colour

The ideas of icon, symbol and index is explored. An icon being something that resembles its object / is representational e.g a portrait. A symbol is something with a convention attached to it for example – a red traffic light means stop.  An index is causality – so caused by – a heart rate causes a graph. Therefore indexical drawings are drawings caused by something.  


It makes the viewer think/consider what they are looking at rather than taking an image at face value, the drawing may not be obvious, could be abstract or not at all like the object but would somehow still relate to the object. It would relate as it could be the imprint or the impression the object made on something – the object effecting something else but the viewer would have to look for this.

Argued that indexical drawing could only be valid depending on the purpose of it – it has to be used appropriately.

It was argued that indexical drawing doesn’t have a function so therefore is insignificant – there is no narrative and you can’t tell where the drawing begins and ends. However I disagree and think it has many functions – fully discovering the dimensions of an object, capturing an essence of an object but not copying it – finding interesting aspects of the object by exploring it with more than just eyes. And these functions i argue create the narrative of the image. The fact that there is no narrative imposed on the images means people can derive their own meanings and narrative, it allows them to question the image and themselves – quite similarly to what Haraway is saying.

To me a simple mark made in leaves by the trod of a boot is not necessarily a drawing/8 but once recorded it becomes one. or when you start to imagine how the person came to be on the path, where are they going, who are they it becomes art.

Indexical drawing can produce an unbiased, undistorted image of an object without the preconceptions/ former experiences affecting it.






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