Robert Fawcett: "I only know whether things look right."

Excerpt from David Apatoff's text in the new Robert Fawcett book:

"By the time he was 19, Fawcett had saved $1,000 which was enough to pay for two years at [London's Slade School of Art]. He trained there from 1922 to 1924. In those days the school prided itself in stripping away all gimmicks and artifice and focusing on pure drawing skills.

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Fawcett recalled, "At Slade, academic and searching drawing was so insisted upon that draftsmanship became second nature. I did nothing but draw from the model for eight hours a day for two years."

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Fawcett never took classes in anatomy. When he arrived at school he assumed all artists needed to know anatomy so he attended a lecture at a nearby medical college. However, he quickly decided he was better off relying on his own powers of observation than on memorizing anatomical diagrams. "I am not interested in exploring the figure by scientific means."

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"Patella, clavicle, femur and pelvis are medical terms, not the language of drawing. It is difficult to know what to say when confronted by the disbelievers who say, 'but of course you must know anatomy - you've got to!' I can only repeat that I do not."

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Similarly, Fawcett never took a class or received formal training in the rules of perspective.

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Later in his career Fawcett said, "I know very little of academic perspective -"

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" - I only know whether things look right."

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The new Robert Fawcett book is available now from Auad Publishing.

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* Some of today's images are taken from Robert Fawcett's "On the Art of Drawing" ©1958 Watson-Guptill Publications

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