The Sensing, Knowing Hand:
A Phenomenological Drawing Tool
Endorsing the proposition that drawing is phenomenological, this article presents an argument for hand drawing as a creative, communicative activity which contributes significantly to our awareness of being human. I argue that the specialised, trained human hand participates in an intense hand-eye-brain relationship. It intentionally draws signifying graphic marks to communicate information visually. When drawing for intaglio printing artists learn to handle new tools to draw and craft lines and tonal shapes on a rigid plate matrix. They engage in labour intensive technical processes and conscious reflection of the emergent image in order to create meaningful, aesthetic content. The printing processes deliver a limited edition of printed drawings. In modern and contemporary print practice the drawing is the artist’s original work. Specifically drawn to print original multiples rather than to exist as a single, autonomous statement, the drawing is not a printed reproduction of an existing drawing or painting. My examples are drawn from work that is little known in the West, namely intaglio printed drawings made at and published by The Caversham Press in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. I analyse the drawing processes of two etchings and a drypoint to explain drawing and printing processes and I discuss the conceptual mind’s eye imaging that intersects with information from the physical eye, both of which contribute to decisions made by the brain informing the hand of required motor actions to create printed drawings.
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