The Subjective and Objective

Many artists starting out are worried put “style” before skill but by combining the subjective and objective your “style” will naturally develop.

“Two kinds of impulses go into the production of a work of art, the subjective and the objective. The subjective impulses spring from within your own consciousness, while the objective impulses come from the things outside yourself which you observe and draw.

If twenty students make twenty drawings from the same model, no two drawings will be identical and some will be vastly different from others. That is because the personality and experience of each student, which are subjective elements, enter into his drawing…

As one atom of oxygen and two atoms of hydrogen combine to make something that is neither hydrogen nor oxygen but a new thing — water — so a drawing is a new thing resulting from the activity within your mind and the outside stimulus of a model or an event.”

Kimon Nicolaides

Nicolaides’ description of what makes up our individual voices in art is perfect especially when it pertains to representational art. We need to objective thing outside ourselves to draw but to truly make it something idiosyncratic to us we must inject our subjective impulses into it.

“The subjective qualities are the qualities that make art, but they must begin somewhere. Though art cannot come from slavish copying based purely on external observation, neither can it come out of the artist’s mind alone. Something starts outside of him, though he may not even be conscious of it, and makes him want to create.”

Kimon Nicolaides

We need both, the subjective and objective to make truly great works of art.

I’m still working slowly on this Dr Who drawing but I’m really loving how it’s turning out. The biggest difference between this version of the drawing and the one before is that I’m much more focused with this drawing. My mind is bent solely towards the completion of this work while I’m working on it.

The Tenth Doctor David Tennant drawing

Previous Dr Who Drawing Posts


The normal 15 minute warm-up in graphite.


One Minute Gestures

Back to the one minute gestures from the The Natural Way to Draw book and with this new smooth newsprint I’m loving the exercise even more. Wow this paper ROCKS!

What went well, what was awesome! Celebrate It!

I had a wonderful morning deep into focus on drawing and making a heartfelt video about combining the subjective and objective into truly original work.

What needs work? What did you learn?

After my morning I was struggling with distraction again.

How am I going to Optimize moving forward?

Keep the focus going and keep asking “What’s important now?” and getting back to it.

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