What is Drawing?
Drawing is one of the most commonly recognized forms of visual art. Drawings are created by an artist using instruments to create lines on paper or another two-dimensional surface.
Common drawing instruments include pencils, chalk, charcoal, pen and ink, colored pencils, crayons, pastels, inked brushes, erasers, markers, styluses, and even metals.
The term “drawing” is a broad description that can apply to many works, which vary significantly in technique. The perception and definition of a drawing have changed over time and can therefore be challenging to define.
However, in modern understanding, the description of drawing is broadly the formation of lines on a surface by drawing using a tracing instrument.
Drawing, or sketching, is one of the fundamental types of art. Whether they are painters, sculptors, or digital artists, many artists will learn to draw as a fundamental artistic skill. But drawing is not just a precursor to other types of visual art; it is a recognized art form itself.
How is drawing different from painting?
Many people wonder how drawing differs from painting. Drawings are usually distinguished from paintings by the focus on lines. The arrangement of lines is crucial to determine a form in a drawing, whereas in a painting, the texture and strokes would be responsible for creating form.
That doesn’t mean that drawings can’t still have a sense of depth or even use color like a painting can. Depth, perspective, and even texture can be achieved in a drawing through shading techniques or colored inks and materials.
Drawing is often taught to children and art students as a creative fundamental. Because of this, it is often wrongly perceived as a mere precursor to other forms of art, such as paintings, sculptures, or even mixed media artworks.
However, drawings are works of art in their own right, but they can also be used to plan or instruct. There are many reasons to draw, including:
- To visualize a concept or work something out
- To provide a pattern to follow or give instructions
- To record or describe an object
There are many different learning techniques used to teach drawing, and these will influence an artist’s style as they hone their skills.
Here are ten of the standard drawing techniques:
- Maquette, or Shape-Based Drawing
- Keyline or Armature Drawing
- ‘Engineering’ Drawing
- Linear Drawing
- Negative Space
- Scribble & ‘Blind Contour’
- Tonal Drawing
- Subtractive Drawing
- Drawing Planes
Many of the drawings created by the “Old Masters” are considered to be among the world’s most significant artworks.
The Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci is perhaps the most recognized drawing in the world, and one of the most well-known pieces of artwork across all styles.
Older drawings, like those of Leonardo da Vinci and other masters, are often classified as “fine art” and held in high regard. More contemporary drawings are often perceived as being more commercial and strongly associated with graphic art, animation, pop culture, or architecture.
While both older and contemporary drawings have value, the more famous drawings tend to be several centuries old. Here are some of the most famous and recognizable drawings in the world.
10 Most Famous Drawings
- Head of a Young Apostle by Raphael
- Head of a Young Man by Michelangelo
- Knight, Death, and Devil by Albrecht Dürer
- Woman Carrying a Child Down Stairs by Rembrandt
- Study for Mucius Scaevola Before Porsenna by Charles Le Brun
- Wild Vegetation by Vincent van Gogh
- Study of a Dancer in Tights by Edgar Degas
- Pollard Birches by Vincent van Gogh
- Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci
- Lion by Peter Paul Rubens
The value of drawings
Drawing plays a vital role in the creation process of many forms of art. But it’s important to remember the artistic value a drawing has on its own.
It should also be recognized for its significant influence on many contemporary and commercial art forms such as graphic art, comic book art, fashion illustration, architecture, and much more.