Drawing as a Martial Art

While teaching a group of City Planners to draw at SFU one summer I happened to say that learning to draw was a bit like learning a Martial Art… “You practice the individual skills which are quite simple and repetitive and eventually put them together into useful sequences.”   One participant observed that…”Drawing was in fact a martial art.” I was expecting a joke about monks throwing charcoal or some such thing. But he said: “In the days before cameras officers were taught to draw as a part of their military training. They had to accurately sketch things like maps, gun emplacements, harbor defenses, etc. Officers would sit on deck in the days of sail while in foreign ports and sketch the defenses ,where the ships were at anchor, etc. Later, those drawings went to the Admiralty where they were kept in drawers as military intelligence until they were needed in a time of war. So – Drawing was a Martial Art.”

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