By GJ Gillespie, artist and founder of Leda Art Supply
One of the most renowned British artists of the 20th century, Henry Moore is beloved for his monumental bronze sculptures. But before creating his iconic abstract figures, Moore tirelessly sketched and drew. His sketches reveal both his creative process and mastery of line.
Born in 1898, Moore took art lessons as a child and later won a scholarship to study sculpture at the Leeds School of Art. He then attended the Royal College of Art in London. Moore went on to achieve immense fame and success, exhibiting around the world and receiving awards such as the International Sculpture Prize at the Venice Biennale.
Moore is most famous for abstract reclining figures with openings and holes that play with shape and negative space. But drawing was central to his practice. Moore sketched constantly—in sketchbooks, on found scraps of paper, wherever inspiration struck. He worked in pencil, charcoal, ink, and watercolor. Moore's energetic lines capture human and animal figures, landscapes, and intimate abstract shapes.
Notable sketches include Reclining Mother and Child (1919-20), Woman Seated in the Underground (1941), and Elephant Skull (1969-70). His Draped Reclining Woman sketch was sold for over $1 million in 2010. Many sketches are compiled in books like Henry Moore: On Being a Sculptor and Henry Moore: Sketchbook. Key drawings reside at the Tate Museum, the British Museum, and Henry Moore Foundation.
Moore advised artists to always carry a sketchbook and make quick gesture drawings to capture immediate ideas. He eschewed perfection, erasing and reworking until a spark emerged. Moore's sketches brim with emotion and vitality. As Moore himself stated, “The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do!”
If Moore's story inspires you to start sketching, Leda Art Supply offers premium sketchbooks and drawing materials perfect for capturing your creative ideas. Available in 6 sizes including new landscape and square formats, Leda sketchbooks feature quality acid-free paper great for pencils, pens, charcoal, and light watercolor washes.
Discover more about Henry Moore's remarkable artistic career and view his sketches at the Henry Moore Foundation website. As Moore proved, the simple act of drawing can unlock amazing creative potential.
“To be an artist is to believe in life.” – Henry Moore