This raw, relatively simple medium leaves plenty of visual clues as to the processes used by an artist, making them a popular medium for studying the great masters. Peter Paul Rubens would study the drawings of famous Italian Renaissance masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Mantegna, Correggio and Tintoretto. It was, however, Titian who he paid most attention to, absorbing as much of his technical mastery as possible into his own career.
Rubens' own work would then be incorporated into the style of Anthony van Dyck and onwards the cycle would continue. Even today, with all the new art movements that we can enjoy as part of the umbrella of modern art, those learning to draw anatomy and figurative portraits will start with the work of these masters as ideal reference material.
Titian would raise the profile of woodcut engravings across Italy as a means to develop his own reputation as an artist. Albrecht Durer woodcuts had helped to promote the key members of the Northern Renaissance and Titian would quickly learn that involving himself in other mediums besides just painting would open up new opportunities for his career. Titian would not produce engravings himself, but rather instruct trusted artists to do so on his behalf from carefully planned drawings. On occassions he would draw directly onto the block itself, and ask the engraver to cut as accurately to that as possible.
Titian could display the effect of light on objects in both his paintings and his drawings, even though these two mediums are so very different. The artist would also produce textures by varying his line styles across an element though these skills would have to have been developed over time and with considerable practice.
Venetian draughtsmen would tend to use blue paper for their drawings and these were indeed preferred by Titian as well. The blue would sit neatly between the black and white chalk strokes that the artist would then add, making the paper a middle ground around which the detail would contrast. These three colours would be enough for Titian to produce three-dimensional figures thanks to his intelligent understanding of light and anatomy.
Titian would often apply his darker chalk detail more roughly, perhaps even smudging it in order to allow the lighter areas to naturally take the main focus. Besides chalk, he would also make use of pen, ink and gouache. Each of these mediums would give different finishes with some blending more than others.
The artist would sometimes reposition a pose which would leave a small shadow remaining. This gave an impression of movement, subtlely. This would also underline how he viewed drawing, in most cases, as a medium which would help to develop his paintings rather than giving him individual drawings directly to sell and display.