A Discussion on Sketching and Drawing

A Discussion on Sketching and Drawing
Is a sketch and drawing identical? Yes and no. I will explain the similarities/differences and artists who were practitioners - for various reasons.

A sketch is defined as a preliminary drawing or painting that is done freehand, in a looser form, decidedly experimental, using a notepad or sketchbook.

A drawing is a more detailed, finished work, meant to be displayed.

In art, a study is defined as a sketch or drawing done in preparation for a finished work.

Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci sketched much of his observations of the world. His "Codex Atlanticus" (1478) consists of a twelve (12) volume set of drawings and writings.

Japanese printmaker and painter Hokusai is best known for "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" begun in 1830 when the artist was seventy (70) years old.

His "Manga" or "Random Sketches" (begun in 1815) comprise fifteen (15) volumes on nature and society in Japan.

French Impressionist Edgar Degas used pencil, ink, chalk, and charcoal for his sketches of dancers, caricatures, and so much more.

Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh produced 1,100+ drawings. He said, "Drawing was the root of everything." Van Gogh believed an artist must master black and white
before developing into a painter.

What may have been a deciding factor in Vincent's preference in drawing is that it was cheaper in cost than oils and canvas. His first great painting, "The Potato Eaters" (1885), began with sketches of the heads of peasants.

Swiss-born German artist Paul Klee said drawing was "a line going for a walk." His work "Burdened Children" (1930) is a fine example and can be seen at Tate Britain.

French visual artist Henri Matisse was prolific into his 60s and 70s, with "rolling arabesques" from "Themes and Variations" (1943), consisting of seventeen (17) sequences of 158 drawings done in charcoal, ink, or pencil.

French surrealist artist Andre Masson is considered the 'pioneer' of automatic drawing – by expressing the subconscious.

In surrealist automatism, the artist suppresses conscious control over making the art, allowing the unconscious to take over. [Is that possible?]

Proponents of automatism were Salvador Dali, Helma af Klint, and Dadaist Jean Arp.

Pablo Picasso is well known for his "Peace Dove" drawing of 1961. He was filmed drawing "Guernica" before completing the work.

Although Italian early Renaissance artist Vittore Carpaccio may not be a household name, his painting "Saint George and the Dragon" (1504-1507) is recognizable.

Carpaccio's drawing, "Study of a Seated Youth in Armor" (1505) is done in black chalk, gray wash, white gouache, on blue paper.

This outstanding work is on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC for the exhibition “Vittore Carpaccio: Master Storyteller of Renaissance Venice.”

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