Sketching and drawing is an incredibly important part of art history or if you’re an artist yourself; whether you’re a painter, sculptor or even an installation artist – it has been a key element of art throughout history and in the contemporary art world.
At the end of October, the Big Draw took place – a worldwide festival devised to encourage everyone to pick up their pencils and start drawing again. This event has inspired us to explore the world of sketching and drawing, so in this article we’re going to look at why sketching is such a huge and important part of art and how the initial sketch influences the final artwork or even become the final piece itself.
Georges Feldkitchner – Study of a Lioness
The purpose of sketching varies; it can be to try out a range of different compositions and angles, especially when it comes to still life paintings – it will help to mould the final artwork. Sketching can also help the artist to be expressive and get initial ideas down onto paper. Much of the expression found in the final piece of work will have been created in the sketch; however in a much rawer form.
Most artists will carry some form of sketch book around with them wherever they go; as inspiration can be found everywhere, plus there is always a chance to increase drawing skills. Sketching and drawing is important as it allows observational skills to grow and therefore representation of certain objects, people, animals or landscapes can be more realistic – if this is the desired effect of the artist of course.
Materials & Experimentation
Jackson Pollock – Autumn Rhythmn
The brilliant thing about sketching is that you can sketch with just about anything; pencil, pen, biro, ink, mud or anything else you can find. Mark-marking experimentation is what has contributed to much of the art that was created in the modernist movement and beyond. Just look at the work of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock (above) for an experimental, expressive example; this is certainly not conventional sketching; however it is a form of expressionist mark-making born out of raw materials and emotion. For more figurative yet expressive sketching, see the fascinating preliminary sketches by famous British sculptor, Henry Moore.
Betram Nichols – Hastings Castle
Drawings do not just have to be a preliminary piece, this is a misconception that continues to be apparent throughout the art world. Drawings are beautiful pieces of art which can often construe more emotion than the final work, however often in a much more expressive or experimental form. You don’t have to look far to see an example of this; the drawing above (Hastings Castle by Betram Nichols) is well refined however, it is likely to have been created as a preliminary drawing. As an observational drawing it is flawless; the drawing itself is dramatic, yet romantic thanks to its ghostly representation as it emerges subtly from the blank background.
Whether you’re an artist or an art lover, sketching and drawing is certainly something that will continue to be important. It helps to stimulate creative thought, increase observational skills and of course, develop visual artwork ideas in all mediums. To say that drawing is any less important than oil painting or fine sculpture would be a great shame; it has and will continue to influence artists throughout time.