Drawing: A Materialist Definition

Alessandro Zambelli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Drawing tools are devices for making various types of, often, but not exclusively, representational artefact – drawings.
What kinds of thing can the lines of a drawing, made by these tools and others like them, be? They may be formed through the act of adding thin layers of material to a surface – laying lines of chalk, ink or graphite onto that surface – lines which may later be erased or amended leaving little or no trace.
Drawing tools may take material away – scratching or etching into a surface. At times the lines of a drawing were cut directly into the parts of the building it represented. A variation on this technique might be the moving of material aside, for example in chased and repoussé metalwork.
Drawing tools may also alter the state of the drawing medium in some way; by staining it, or replacing parts of it with a different medium or perhaps, in more recent times, changing the alignment of liquid crystals in a computer screen. Replacement mark-making would include, for example, the kinds of ink drawing implied by extant Roman drawing instruments through to the mid twentieth-century drawing techniques of living memory.
Like a Roman ruling pen this 0.50mm Faber Castell TG1-S drawing pen relies on surface tension to make reliable and consistent lines.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBartlett Drawing Research Series
EditorsHuda Tayob, Judit Ferencz, Sophie Read
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherThe Bartlett School of Architecture
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

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