Friday, October 17, 2008

David Stone Martin: "Bending a wire"

David Stone Martin, writes Henry C. Pitc in the April 1950 issue of American Artist, "is a superb draftsman. He has a penetrating interest in human beings and the ability to reveal character. He has technical mastery. All this is sparked by physical energy and mental curiosity."

"He has tried practically every pictorial tool, but one of his favorites is the crowquill pen-point. He uses it like a brush, freely, but deliberately. At times he allows it to produce the thin whisper of a line that it is so well fitted to do; then, when he needs emphasis, he applies pressure, the nibs spread to their maximum and a line of about one eighth of an inch appears. The crowquill was never meant to withstand this treatment - they usually live a short but expressive life in Martin's hand."

In his introduction to the book The Art of Drawing with Pen, Pencil and Brush, DSM himself said, "Searching out a line is like bending wire... volume, modeling, shape and motion can all be said in line and wash..."

"... or even more simply by line drawing alone."

Pitz wrote that Martin rarely made sketches unless they were requested by the client. He preferred to work directly in ink.

"He gives a great deal of preliminary thought to his problems, allowing the conception to take shape in his mind's eye."

"Then he attacks the picture directly often working from the model, sometimes from memory, seldom from photographs."

"Not many pictures are discarded, in spite of this direct approach."

"In his studio in Roosevelt, New Jersey, David Stone Martin is safely removed from metropolitan pressures. He has an agent to handle the routine and business side of his work; he can concentrate on the creative solutions of the problems that come to his drawing table."

"All he asks is that the problems be many and challenging."

David Stone Martin is represented in the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian, and in the collections of large corporations and private collectors. He died in 1992.

* My thanks to Harold Henriksen who provided most of today's and some of yesterday's scans.

* My David Stone Martin Flickr set.


  1. Anonymous3:24 PM

    Great drawings.
    How musical this guitar player.

    Those were the times of record stores with their album covers.
    To look at them was as exciting as listening to the albums themselves.

  2. Anonymous5:49 PM

    My thanks to you, Leif, and special thanks to Harold Henriksen, for providing a bunch of things I haven't seen before. It's amazing how much inspired work Martin produced.

    My favorites from today must be the drummer, the boy on the armchair, and the kids walking home from school. I am obviously enamored of the images where Martin mixes all sort of lines with judiciously placed solid black areas.

    This has been simply amazing. Can we just go ahead and have a David Stone Martin MONTH?

    Maybe there could have a week of mid-century LP covers...

    Hope springs eternal.

  3. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Hi Leif!

    Love the blog! Right now digging David Stone Martin in a big way!

    Thanks for your awesome efforts!

    Jason Hallows