The Great Study Hall for Drawings at The Met

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Students often ask what they can do to improve their drawings. While I recommend studying with trusted teachers, learning online and in books, and of course practicing drawing, I always encourage them to look at drawings.

The reason for this is two-fold. The first is that they can see how other artists have solved certain drawing problems with creative solutions. For instance, students often ask if hatching lines for shading should be straight or curved. There are as many answers to that question as there are artists engaged in the art of drawing. My answer is always to go to The Met, and visit the drawing gallery at the top of the main staircase on the left. Students can examine how other artists have explored and solved that question along with countless other questions they are pondering.

That leads to the second reason to look at drawings; kinship. Learning the art of drawing is a great journey filled with excitement, breakthroughs, frustrations, etc. It is vital to find fellow travelers on that road to bolster our feeling of comradery and prevent loneliness. While it is also beneficial to get that from friends and teachers, it is invaluable to get it directly from the drawings of others who traveled the same road.

The Metropolitan Museums Department of Drawings and Prints rotates the work in these galleries regularly making certain that repeated trips will reveal new work and new discoveries.

Additionally, they have an exceptional section on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website which is located here, including digital collections, a historical timeline of drawing, publications, and videos.

I can not encourage students and others more strongly to visit this incredible resource if possible.

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