From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Drawing is a visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. An artist who practices or works in drawing may be referred to as a draughtsman or draftsman.
A small amount of material is released onto the two dimensional medium which leaves a visible mark—the process is similar to that of painting. The most common support for drawing is paper. The medium has been a popular and fundamental means of expression throughout human history. The relative ease of availability of basic drawing instruments makes drawing more universal than most other media.
Drawing is a form of visual expression and is one of the major forms within the visual arts. There are a number of subcategories of drawing, including cartooning. Certain drawing methods or approaches, such as "doodling" and other informal kinds of drawing such as drawing on a foggy mirror caused by the steam from a shower, or the surrealist method of "entopic graphomania", in which dots are made at the sites of impurities in a blank sheet of paper, and lines are then made between the dots, may or may not be considered as part of "drawing" as a "fine art." Likewise tracing, drawing on a thin piece of paper, sometimes designed for that purpose (tracing paper), around the outline of preexisting shapes that show through this paper, is also not considered fine art, although it may be part of the draughtsman's preparation.
The word 'drawing' is used as both a verb and a noun:
- Drawing (verb) is the act of making marks on a surface so as to create an image, form or shape.
- The produced image is also called a drawing (noun). A quick, unrefined drawing may be defined as a sketch.
Drawing is generally concerned with the marking of lines and areas of tone onto paper. Traditional drawings were monochrome, or at least had little colour, while modern coloured-pencil drawings may approach or cross a boundary between drawing and painting. In Western terminology, however, drawing is distinct from painting despite that similar media are often employed in both tasks. Dry media, normally associated with drawing, such as chalk, may be used in pastel paintings. Drawing may be done with a liquid medium, applied with brushes or pens. Similar supports likewise can serve both: painting generally involves the application of liquid paint onto prepared canvas or panels, but sometimes an underdrawing is drawn first on that same support. Drawing is often exploratory, with considerable emphasis on observation, problem solving and composition. Drawing is also regularly employed in preparation for a painting, further obfuscating their distinction.
No one really knows when art or drawing really began. Humans supposedly made sketches and painting in the early years. Cave paintings are a good example. People have made rock and cave drawings since prehistoric times. By the 12th-13th centuries AD, monks were preparing illuminated manuscripts on vellum or parchment in monasteries throughout Europe were using lead styli to draw lines for their writings and for the outlines for their illuminations. Soon artists generally were using silver to make drawings and underdrawings. Initially they used and re-used wooden tablets with prepared ground for these drawings. When paper became generally available from the 14th century onwards, artists' drawings, both preparatory studies and finished works, became increasingly common.
Since the 14th century, each century has produced artists who have created great drawings.
- Notable draftsmen of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries include Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello.
- Notable draftsmen of the 17th century include Claude, Nicolas Poussin, Rembrandt, Guercino, and Peter Paul Rubens.
- Notable draftsmen of the 18th century include Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and Antoine Watteau.
- Notable draftsmen of the 19th century include Paul Cézanne, Aubrey Beardsley, Jacques Louis David, Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, Edgar Degas, Théodore Géricault, Francisco Goya, Jean Ingres, Odilon Redon, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Honoré Daumier, and Vincent van Gogh.
- Notable draftsmen of the 20th century include Käthe Kollwitz, Max Beckmann, Jean Dubuffet, Egon Schiele, Arshile Gorky, Paul Klee, Oscar Kokoschka, Alphonse Mucha, M. C. Escher, André Masson, Jules Pascin, and Pablo Picasso.
The composition of the image is an important element in producing an interesting work of artistic merit. The artist plans the placement of elements in the art in order to communicate ideas and feelings with the viewer. The composition can determine the focus of the art, and result in a harmonious whole that is aesthetically appealing and stimulating.
The illumination of the subject is also a key element in creating an artistic piece, and the interplay of light and shadow is a valuable method in the artist's toolbox. The placement of the light sources can make a considerable difference in the type of message that is being presented. Multiple light sources can wash out any wrinkles in a person's face, for instance, and give a more youthful appearance. In contrast, a single light source, such as harsh daylight, can serve to highlight any texture or interesting features.
When drawing an object or figure, the skilled artist pays attention to both the area within the silhouette and what lies outside. The exterior is termed the negative space, and can be as important in the representation as the figure. Objects placed in the background of the figure should appear properly placed wherever they can be viewed.
A study is a draft drawing that is made in preparation for a planned final image. Studies can be used to determine the appearances of specific parts of the completed image, or for experimenting with the best approach for accomplishing the end goal. However a well-crafted study can be a piece of art in its own right, and many hours of careful work can go into completing a study.
- Architectural drawing
- Color theory
- Engineering drawing
- Figure drawing
- Sketch (drawing)
- Technical drawing
- Traditional animation