On Drawing: The importance of traditional hand skills

I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever. ― Beatrix Potter

The importance of drawing not only applies to traditional crafts such as painting and sculpture, but further afield into engineering, architecture and even cardiology.


Drawing means new things today. We have 3D drawing, animation and even code being used to create images. How we adapt to these changes is paramount. In all of our courses we always contain a drawing element, as we believe that this essential craft skill needs to be nurtured in all budding artists, designers and craftspeople. The skill of drawing can be applied to any profession and strengthens the ability to really see something.

I know a heart surgeon who insists that his students, do not work from photographs, don’t take photographs of the heart and its chambers and its valves, they draw, each part of the heart because he says that only by really looking and by translating it into your own drawing, do you properly understand the structure of the heart. — Andrew Graham-Dixon

Etching by Jay Patel from our TCDT etching course, 2017

The benefits of a regular drawing practice are clear; the ability to translate what we see in the real world strengthens our overall creative skill. And it works the other way, too. We are then more able to convert our ideas back into the world when we create.

There are many organisations trying to keep the craft of drawing in the foreground, such as Jerwood’s annual Drawing Prize, committed to supporting drawing as a fundamental element of artistic practice.

By teaching young people essential drawing skills before they head into work or University, we hope to make a significant contribution to the development of their skills.

If you are interested in taking part in one of our courses or know someone who might be, check out our Workshops page for upcoming courses.