Modern Movement Drawing Techniques

Written by ryan crooks
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Modern Movement Drawing Techniques
Modern drawing attempts to show the essense of an object. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Modernism was a very important movement that awoke the culture from looking longingly at the past to viewing in awe the glories of the machine age. The Modern movement made the people think of functionalism as an aesthetic, so Modern art, architecture and design highlighted the pragmatic elements of a work or project. Although the various group of the Modern movement desired to express the practical, each group used different techniques to expose the nature of Modernism.

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Cubists attempted to show the nature of an object at a given time, so they would compile a montage of multiple detail views of the object. The artists strove to find a better understanding and definition of the depicted object than that of a photograph or realistic painting. So, using a technique to create a collage of multiple views and times of an object using drawn work and related found media, such as newspaper clippings, an artist can express Modernism through cubist drawing and assemblage techniques.


The nature of Futurism is movement and speed through time, so this Modern style shows multiple views of a subject serially drawn, like frames from a film overlaid. Therefore, the artist using the Futurist technique can draw multiple depictions of a person or animal moving through space, drawn and redrawn on a single surface. Colour can augment the drawing, and the hues should be added to the drawing with haste to show speed.

Constructivism and Suprematism

Constructivist and Suprematist artwork expresses the nature and movement of objects in space using simple polygonal shapes of colour or value.The colours of this era of Modernism were almost always primary or secondary, as well as black and white. So, the artist emulating Constructivism or Suprematism can use monotone or colour, highly abstracted depictions drawn cleanly without visible pen strokes.

Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism pushed art far from representational to figurative and expressive. Art was no longer passive but was actively creating ideas and concepts. Abstract Expressionism shied away from clear, recognisable forms and used geometric abstract shapes to describe elements. So, an artist working in the Abstract Expressionist style should draw forms or symbols of the subject's meaning, instead of imagistic views of the subject. In other words, the artist should draw what the object or idea is, not how it appears.

Minimalism and Architectural Drawing

Growing from abstraction and Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism attempted to find the meaning of an object or space with physical, material forms. Similarly, Modern architecture became extremely functional with whimsical moments at the intersections of purpose. So, an artist attempting to draw in the Minimalist style should use orthographic projections, such as plans, sections and elevations, as well as three-dimensional representations, such as perspectives and isometrics. The drawings should be monotone and highlighted with blocks of hue or value. Many Modern architects would collage images and textures into their drawings, somewhat like the cubists, though much more rigidly.

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