Being capable of making great drawings is a gift. A gift which was given to some. Not many. I do not talk here about the ability to copy photos or gypsum statues with the utmost accuracy and likeliness. The mimicking capacity or the manual versatility to draw photo-like drawings is a gift too, maybe the basis, important, but not complete, not essential, of being a great draftsman.
I choose arbitrarily 3 great draftsmen, from different time and places, to illustrate this point. The first two, Hokusai and Daumier have greatly influenced the third, the most (post-mortem) famous of the three: Vincent van Gogh.
What can have in common Hokusai, Daumier and van Gogh?
One important thing is that all three of them have in common is they were drawing very fast, and this is evident in their drawings. Some samples:
Another thing they have in common is the vigor of their drawings: strong contrast, no hesitation, no tentative lines. They do it with total focus and, probably, if we could assisted, we would saw a kind of absentminded bliss. Yes, I said BLISS. Fortunately, this kind of bliss, this kind of total focus in the drawing work is not the prerogative of Daumier, Hokusai, van Gogh. ANYONE who like drawing remarked probably this. You draw and the time passed unnoticed, your money (or other) troubles disappear (for a while) and yes, you are happy.
No wonder they use it in Art Therapy. No wonder draftsmen (and draftswomen, of course) are, in general, happy, curious, open-minded people. They can be a bit mysantropical, like another great draftsman, Edgar Degas. But he WAS, at least, curious and, from time to time, happy.
Gauguin (not a bad draftsman himself) had a bassorelief carved in precious woodwith the words: “Be In Love and You’ll Be Happy!”
I would paraphrase him and change it to:
“Draw and You’ll be Happy!”