07 PABLO PICASSO – Thick Lines & a Thing Called “Perspective”

I lived too far away to spend much lap-time with Dougie, so I wrote him these letters.


Hi Dougie,

Pablo Picasso drew this picture in ink using a thick pen. You can do one with a felt-tip pen. 

Don Quixote

This seems like a strange picture at first. It shows a man on a horse holding a shield and a long spear. There is another man on a donkey. How can you tell it’s a donkey and not a horse?

Those funny things on the ground that look like flowers are not flowers, they are windmills.

The  reason they look so small is because all things that are far away look much smaller than they really are. It’s one of the rules of a thing called “perspective.” Perspective has to do with how things look to our eyes. One rule is that as things get farther and farther away, they look smaller and smaller. 

The opposite is true. As things get closer, they look bigger.

Until people made up the rules of perspective lots of drawings just didn’t look right. Buildings looked crooked, people looked the wrong size. Artists didn’t know how to make a picture look they way our eye sees it. After there were rules of perspective artists who following them could make pictures that looked real.

Go look out a window. Look at the farthest things you can see. Do you see how little the trees and houses and cars look? If you look down from a skyscraper, people look like ants.

Look at the Picasso picture again. Which rider is closer, the man on the horse or the man on the donkey?

Which windmill is the farthest away? Which one is the closest?

Picasso lived in Spain. There is a famous Spanish book called “Don Quixote.”  It’s a man’s name. The last name is funny looking. We think it should sound like “Kwix-ote.” But in Spanish it is pronounced “Key-HO-tee.” 

In the book, Don Quixote (did you say Key-HO-tee?) wanted to be a knight, but the time of knights was long past. So he pretended. He wore armor, got a shield and a long spear and attacked windmills because he thought they looked like giants waving their big arms. Don Quixote’s friend Sancho always went with him riding a donkey. It’s a funny story and everyone is Spain knows it. It was written over 400 years ago.

Many artists have drawn and painted pictures of Don Quixote and Sancho. There are also many woodcarvings and statues of them.

Pablo Picasso drew his picture of Don Quixote and Sancho using a thick pen and lots of scribbly lines. Do you see how the scribbly lines make up the body of the horse? 

Get a felt tip pen and make a drawing using thick, scribbly lines. Look out your window and draw some of the things that look small because they are far away and some of the same things that look bigger because they are closer. Now you are using perspective just the way Pablo Picasso did.

Do you like Picasso’s picture of Don Quixote and Sancho? I do.






About majchr

Majora Christo
This entry was posted in Art, Children & Art, Drawing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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