Drawing Exercises

Tomas Schmit, Two new ways to draw a circle (detail), 1971. Black and red India ink on paper, 515 × 300 mm. DMC 2230.

In his series of essays on the powers of drawing, Fernando Poeiras (ESAD.CR/LIDA) begins by explaining that one of the most valuable uses of a collection of drawings and models for a designer is to enhance their own skills and practice. A method for enhancing these skills is to approach drawings through drawing to both better understand an object and its author, and to better understand oneself in the process. In collaboration with Fernando, Drawing Matter has developed the following series of drawing exercises to encourage students, tutors, and others, to engage with the diverse design material that comprises the Drawing Matter collection. 

Early in the project, Fernando offered an analogy between drawing exercises and gymnastic exercises, suggesting that in both cases exercising functions not as training or performance but instead as the activity that comes before these—the development of skills, reflexes, and habits. With this in mind, we have organised the exercises under the rubrics of creativity and the design process, each of which have a concrete connection to the practice of design while individually enabling the development of particular cognitive, motor, and observational skills. 

The exercises are a work-in-progress that is open to adaptation and revision. Key to this is understanding how the exercises can and have been used in educational settings. If you have attempted the exercises please email the results and comments to: workshops@drawingmatter.org