Henri Matisse (1869–1954) attached fundamental importance to his drawings, in particular to the famous Themes et Variations series. These were accomplished following a precise method, starting with arduous life studies and evolving into brilliant spontaneous drawings. A 1946 archival documentary film showing the artist drawing four portraits of his grandson Gerard was shot in such a way as to allow the present author to undertake a detailed eye-hand interaction analysis of the drawing process. It was found that Matisse's temporal working rhythm and use of motor memory resulted in a more direct approach than that used by most painters. Taken together with remarks the artist made throughout his lifetime, these results provide a cognitive interpretation of his drawing method.