Drawing Like Leonardo

“I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing.” — Vincent van Gogh

Drawing like Leonardo

You can draw like Leonardo … da Vinci, not DiCaprio.

Leonardo da Vinci considered drawing to be much more than simply illustration. It was the key to understanding creation and creativity. He believed drawing was how we learn to see.

Many people shy away from drawing because they’re convinced they’re “not artistic.” Taking a cue from Leonardo, anyone can expand their perspective on life by taking pencil or pen in hand and keeping these four things in mind.

1. You can draw. If you can see, you can draw. Drawing is simple, natural and fun. Just like any other skill, it requires a desire to learn, focused attention and practice.

2. The purpose of drawing is discovery. Leonardo’s drawings are reflections of his experiments in seeing. They are attempts to discover the nature of things. Art historian Sir Kenneth Clark stated, “It is often said that Leonardo drew so well because he knew about things; it is truer to say that he knew about things because he drew so well.”

3. Draw for yourself. Leonardo didn’t draw to please others. He drew for his own enjoyment. Judging from the fact that most of his drawings were contained in voluminous, unpublished notebooks, he valued the process of drawing more than the finished product. (Click here to view one of Leonardo’s notebooks courtesy of the British Library of London.)

4. Put to sleep your inner “art critic.” Experienced artists know that suspension of criticism is essential to the creative process. Wait for your first art show to arouse your inner critic to help you decide what to exhibit. In the meantime, give up the labels “good” and “bad” and just draw.

Adapted from How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb