On my reader today …things magazine with a cache of books. The met publications are a great resource for free art books and online or offline reading especially on american art, but not only. There are many interesting titles on the site, for example van Gogh in Arles. Not all publication can be read in full, some are only available in limited pre-views.
Vincent van Gogh is famous for his paintings that are a common place by uncounted reproductions. His drawings are less well known, but it seems that they are re-discovered again. The developement van Gogh took in drawing from academic style to his very own idiom is remarkable. I selected some examples of tree drawings by Vincent van Gogh for my microwebsite on tree drawing as his drawings are great material to study.
Van Gogh used mostly simple, more or less dense bundles of parallel strokes. To achieve different tonalities he used feathers with different thickness in his ink drawings. Very rarely there are hatches in several layers as it was typical for the academic way to draw. He invented and used different patterns and abreviations for different types of vegetation and materials in his landscapes. Thus his drawings look bright,transparent and easy to read for the viewer. Van Goghs drawings look so easy because every single move he made on the paper can be seen. His contemporaries probably had not a very high opinion about these drawings as they did not fit to their ideas of skills in drawing.
Yesterday evening I went out to play a bit with sepia ink and a pen with a broader nib to draw similar to van Gogh. It is worth trying, what looks so simple in van Goghs drawing is the fruit of long studies and exercises.