Sketch – The Art of Expressive Drawing

The Concept

A sketch is a quick freehand drawing, which may or may not be called finished work. Mostly, it is made in a two-dimensional plane to record visual data for later use. Being preliminary outlining step, sketches help try out different ideas and establish a composition, before being painted or embellished finally.

The Details

Sketching is an outline of the desired work, which helps sharpen the artists’ ability to focus on the crucial elements of a subject. While, dry media, such as pencil, chalks, and pastels are the preferred tools for drawing, graphite pencils, charcoal, pen, and ink are also used. A quick watercolor work or even modeled clay may be considered sketching in broad terms. The commonest platform for drawing is paper. Certain other materials, like cardboard, plastic, leather, board, and canvas however, are also used for the purpose.

The History

During the pre-historic times, artistry found place on rocks and caves walls. By 12th-13th centuries AD, monks in European monasteries started making illuminated manuscripts, vellum, or parchment. Soon, silver was employed for sketching and drawing. Reused wooden tablets were the drawing platforms until paper was available from the 14th century onwards. It was used for both, preparatory studies and finished works.

Types of Papers

Papers come in a variety of forms, sizes, and quality ranging from cheap newspaper class up to high quality individual sheets. When wet, they differ in texture, acidity, hue, and strength. Smooth paper is apt for fine sketches, while a toothy paper holds the drawing better. Newspaper and typing paper are great for rough sketching. Acid-free archival quality paper retains the color of sketch longer than the wood pulp based paper, such as newsprint or typing paper. Tracing paper may also be used for duplicating and transferring a drawing to another platform, like paper, cloth, board, etc. Cartridge paper is a basic yet standard drawing paper, mostly sold in spiral or hardbound pads.

The Artists

Some of the most famous artists with popular sketchbooks were Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452-1519), Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594-1665), Antoine-Laurent (1743-94), Jean-Baptiste (French, 1744-1829), Francisco de Goya (Spain, 1746-1828), Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917), Paul Cezanne (French, 1839-1906), Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926), and Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch 1853-90). Their pages depict more thoughtful studies rather than mere artistic sketches.

The Artworks

Some prominent sketch concepts include ‘line drawing in sanguine’ by Leonardo da Vinci, ‘Orlando Furioso defeating a monster’ by Gustave Dore (French, 1832-83), two point perspective drawing, and Chiaroscuro study drawing by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905).