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What’s The Difference Between Sketching And Drawing

If you’ve never had a chance to indulge in an activity such as drawing or painting there certainly are some words or expressions that are completely new to you and that you don’t understand fully. One of them is most certainly – sketching.

But before we dive into sketching let’s first explain what drawing is, and how it changed people’s lives hundreds and several thousands of years ago.

When did people first start drawing?

You would be surprised to find out that the first drawings appeared even before the first language was invented, or in other words – it was the only form of communication. Although we could say that art is also a way to communicate many things today, these messages are more subtle, and certainly aren’t essential for understanding the world around us, as well as other people (they do help us understand it, but it’s not a must!). The oldest traces of this form of expression were found almost 30 thousand years ago in caves, while today, art is all around us, both in modern and traditional forms. 

As art evolved over the years, a lot of art techniques also evolved and many of them have been invented, so today, there are hundreds of techniques and materials you can use if you want to make art. You are not only limited to traditional ways of painting or drawing but it also includes modern electronic devices and technologies. 

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However, when it comes to drawing, people usually mix this term with sketching or they think it is the same thing. Click here to find out more. Although these two techniques have a lot of similarities, they are different in many ways. How’s that possible? The first thing you need to know about drawing is that this technique requires a lot of time and it also requires not making mistakes or at least planning beforehand. 

This is at the same time the exact and the biggest difference between drawing and sketching. In sketching, mistakes are not only allowed but they are welcome – artists intentionally make mistakes whilst sketching or they’re just trying to understand what they see when it comes to proportions, shapes and details. Simply put, sketching is the best way for artists to explore the world around them and prepare for the final drawing or painting or any other form of art; 

Difference between sketching and drawing

While drawing is usually limited to traditional drawing, sketching can be a base for all the other forms of art. When you make a sketch you can prepare for painting an oil painting, for an acrylic painting, you can make an animation out of your sketch, or you can create a sculpture after you make a sketch.

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A good example of what a sketch it would be to compare drawing and sketching with writing essays. When you first start writing an essay the first thing you need to do is to make some bullet points, make an introduction and a conclusion, and then work on the content. It’s how you organize your essay and it’s all about making a concept. It’s the same thing with sketching and drawing! When you’re sketching you’re making a concept of your future work of art and then you can make a detailed study and approach your piece of art in a more detailed and meticulous way. While it’s possible to make a drawing without sketching what you see, it’s not a common thing. The majority of artists love to make a sketch first, just to make sure they won’t make any mistakes later, and to plan everything before they dive into the real challenge.

There are several types of sketching techniques, and a lot of different tools can be used whether those are pencils, crayons, charcoal etc. The most common sketches are the sketches of people and their figures which is called croquet sketching, portrait sketching and sketches of the environment and nature. But it’s not limited to only these themes – you can sketch literally anything you see. What characteristic about sketching is the fact that it’s usually being done in a matter of minutes, so the whole point of this part of the process is to do it quickly – so you can indulge in the next step of the process which is drawing, painting or any other technique you wanna use.

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When you are an experienced artist you won’t need that much time to analyze what you see. This is because you already have an inner feeling for all the measures and shapes, while if you’re a beginner you’re probably going to need more time, to firstly just place the thing you want to draw on paper or on a canvas, and you’ll need more time to make sure that the things you wanna draw are in good proportions and size. It’s also important to mention that sketches are usually very simple and smaller than the final drawing- the lines on the paper are free and ongoing and there are usually a lot of mistakes – which is a good thing; finally, a sketch is also much lighter than the final drawing. Sketches are easy to erase, change and adjust according to what you want and what you like, which is not the case with a serious drawing.

Logically you will not use the same paper for just sketching things and for the final drawing. Although sketch paper is also important, it is less important than the final drawing and therefore you can use much cheaper paper and paper that is low in quality because the whole purpose of a sketch is to help you make a better drawing, painting or anything else that you wanted to create. On the other hand, sketches don’t need to be precise, beautiful or perfect, they just need to help the artist on his art creating journey.

Professional artists usually say that you shouldn’t overthink when it comes to doing your sketches. You just need to let your hand do what it wants and relax. Being relaxed and being stress-free is the most beautiful aspect of sketching, which is why everybody loves to sketch as much as they do like drawing (or maybe even more)!

About Adam Miller