Drawing is the most fundamental medium for artistic production. Ever since we were children, we took pencils or crayons in hand and scribbled designs upon the floors and walls of our homes. Child psychologists have proven that creating marks upon our environments is an inborn impulse. As soon as a child (as early as 12 to 14 months of age) gets a writing implement of some sort into their hands, their arms begin to move back and forth resulting in an imprint upon these “territories.” It can be interpreted as a primal impulse to control and creatively mark that space. 

Materials used in drawing can be either dry (graphite pencil, silverpoint, charcoal, chalk, pastel, crayon) or wet (pen and ink, brush and ink). But what concerns us most is how the nature of drawings and the process of their creation impact the communication of artists’ narratives. Previously we have discussed lines as a design element: analytic, expressive, horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, for contour/boundary or interior definition. Lines, the primary design element within drawings, can efficiently and effectively narrate the artists’ motivations.


Clemente’s pastel drawing entitled She and She, efficiently outlines the basic forms of the women’s faces, facial features, and red clothed body.  Interior lines are minimal and the drawing has no hatching or cross-hatching, which would have created the illusion of three-dimensional mass and hills and valleys. The figures are depicted as simple two-dimensional flat shapes.

The pivotal question is, why was Clemente satisfied with such a simplified image? Why didn’t he spend more time and add in design elements, which would have defined a three-dimensional reality? Here, we get to the point of the uniqueness of drawings, what makes them different from paintings and other media?