If you are interested in art and drawing then it's important to use whatever drawing resources you can. It can be hard finding the time to get to an art gallery or museum (if we are lucky enough to have them close by) and too often, when we do, we don’t get to see what we want. Drawings in particular are often not on permanent view. However, many collections allow viewing online which is a chance to see close up how artists before you have handled different genres and different media.
Seeing how other artists work - their composition, how they use light and shade, the effects different media achieve, and much much more can be learned by looking at other artists' work.
In the time of Michelangelo and Leonardo copying Old Master drawings was an integral part of an apprentice's education and 'copying' didn't have the unsavoury connotations that it can do today.
Looking close-up at artist's work you can sometimes see where they have changed their mind about a position of line - how they've adjusted a pose or corrected something they weren't happy about it. There is much to learn from looking at drawings - often they show the process that is hidden from us when we look at a finished painting.
Many of the websites featured here allow you to explore a particular work of art in close-up - and on some of the sites such as the Royal Collection this really means close up. You couldn't get that close if you were standing in the print room itself!
This page offers an online drawing resource - it's being added to all the time so please drop by every so often take a virtual wander through the gallery illustrating some of the world's great artists.
Leonardo da Vinci was the archetypal ‘Renaissance Man’ - a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer, scientist and writer. His ideas are brought to life so vividly through his drawings – he worked through his ideas and inventions with his pencil leaving behind a legacy that still enthralls today.
Click on the image above to view Leonardo's drawings (a new window will open)
Rembrandt van Rijn was a superlative draughtsman - often working in pen and ink, capturing the landscape and the people around him.
Click on the image above to read about his life, view enlarged images of his drawings and sketches as well as browse other categories such as paintings and self portraits (he completed over 90 in his lifetime!). In the latter it is interesting to see how his work - and his perception of himself - changed over the 40-year period illustrated.
The Vincent Van Gogh Gallery is the fruit of over 12 years of labour - a labour of love - and here you can see all of Van Gogh's works. It's not the easiest site to navigate but it's packed with information and you can search for specific works.
This site is a great drawing resource with reference information including a calendar of exhibitions around the world, quotes from Van Gogh's letters and much more. The letters are particularly interesting at really experiencing first hand Vincent's thoughts, his highs and his lows. This is such a useful drawing resource as not only is it a visual feast but you can read about his struggles to learn to draw and the different techniques and tools he used.
Hans Holbein the Younger is one of my favourite portrait artists. His portraits of the Tudor court are real people who live and breathe...These beautiful portraits provide a fascinating glimpse into the personalities that we are so familiar with from the history books.
Be inspired and pay a virtual visit to one of London’s finest art collections, The Royal Collection of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Click on the image above to view (a new window will open).
However, here you can view more than just the Holbein portraits.
The Royal Collection e-gallery allows you to search for works by over 820 artists and is a wonderful drawing resource wherever you are in the world.
Frederic, Lord Leighton was one of the most eminent artists of the Victorian era and was President of the Royal Academy between 1878-1896.
This drawing resource at Leighton House Museum, Kensington in London contains 670 of his works. His work is very much within a classical tradition, stretching back to the great masters of the Italian Renaissance. The practice of drawing was central in his achievements and his skill as a draughtsman is undoubtable.
"I am disposed to attach even higher values to his studies and to his works in pencil than to his greatest paintings. In them he was pre-eminently great..."
George C. Willimson, 1902