Drawing Site Map
Drawing in the Visual Arts


There are many different types of drawing depending on the intent, which include sketching, traditional, non-traditional, commercial, design, or technical.

Drawing is defines as:
1. a picture or diagram made with a pencil, pen, or crayon rather than paint.
2. the art or technique of representing an object or outlining a figure, plan, or sketch by means of lines.
1. an act or instance of drawing.

Materials or Supplies

Includes the following.

Types of Drawing

Includes the following.

What is Traditional Drawing?

It is a form of visual art in which an artist uses instruments to mark paper or other two-dimensional surfaces.

What is Graphic Design?

Is the technique or process used to convey information graphically for signs, logos, or advertising a specific brand. It is the creation of visual compositions to solve problems and communicate ideas through typography, imagery, color, and form.

With origins in antiquity, graphic design emerged as a distinct profession in the 19th century within western culture and has evolved since. Given the rapid and massive growth in information exchange today, the demand for experienced designers is more significant than ever.

Types of Graphic Design

Includes the following.

Symbolic or Hieroglyphic is a technique or process used to simplify any language or using symbols or graphic language, i.e., Egyptian hieroglyphics

Silhouette is a technique or process used to fill in the shape with a flat town or cut out of black paper, commonly in black & white.

Page Layout or Publications deals with the arrangement of elements (content) on a page, such as an image placement, text layout, and style. This is also for book or magazine publications. This may also include marketing materials or advertising designs, such as postcards or decals.

Topography includes type design, modifying type glyphs, and arranging type. Type glyphs (characters) are created and modified using illustration techniques.

Web or User Interface is involved in interface design in an environment commonly referred to as a Graphical User Interface (GUI). This has included web design and software design when end-user interactivity is a design consideration of the layout or interface.

Calligraphy is the type of visual art related to writing. Essential tools for a calligrapher are a pen and brush, which are also used in drawing.


Illustration or Commerical

Includes the following.

Illustration is a technique or process used to create drawings for a book or some type of storyline. It also includes representing the layout of a particular piece of literature or document.

Fashion Design is a technique or process used to create drawings with the intent to design fashion prototypes before being made out of muslin or fabric.

Cartooning is a technique or process used to create drawings for comic books, animation, or graphic novels.

Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM)
or Technical Drawing

Includes the following.

Architectural, Blueprints or Floor Plans is a technique or process used to create drawings for designing and building architecture or structures. Usually giving dimensions with symbols, based on the American Society of Mechanical Engineering standards or ASME Y14.

Historical or Botanical is a technique or process used to create drawings when new plants or species were discovered or record historical events before the invention of photography.

Diagrammatic or Analytic is a technique or process used to create drawings that simplify complex systems or are used as an active design process for new ideas conceived and developed.

Scientific is a technique or process used to create drawings that visualize some scientific idea that we can not see with the naked eye or a complex concept, such as the DNA helix or a supernova.

Schematics or Structural is a technique or process used to create drawings to design scaffolding or build anything from the mind.

Non-traditional Drawing

Includes the following.

Expressive or emotive - Technique or process used to communicate raw emotions or emotional ideas that are not visible or tangible. These drawings may capture movement, energy, feeling, memories, or even a spiritual realm. The intent of these drawings is to emphasize the exploration or the expression of different feelings, emotions, or moods.

Imagination or Fantasy is a technique or process that creates drawings without any reference materials or comes entirely from imagination. They may contain creatures or worlds that do not exist in reality.

Innovative is a technique or process that creates drawings using non-traditional tools, such as putting ink onto man-made objects and then dragging them across the surface.

Frottage is a technique or process of taking a rubbing from an uneven surface or object to form the basis of marks that can not be created by hand or traditional drawing tools.

Non-Dominate Hand drawings are created by someone's non-dominate hand. For example, a right-hand person makes a drawing solely from their left hand.


Includes the following.


What is Sketching?

Sometimes called a "sketch," it is a quick drawing that captures the main features of a subject but contains little detail. Sketches are usually executed rapidly or freehand without any drawing tools. They are vignettes or not intended to be finished fin art pieces.

Sketches are often used for designing or planning and may be used to explore a theme for more significant works or a more detailed drawing.

Both sketching and basic drawing skills will help you develop the ability to manipulate line, shape, value, texture, or space, all of which are part of the Visual Elements of Design, used to translate any verbal idea or message to an image.

Types of Sketching

Include the following artistic styles or intent.


Studies or Preliminary Drawings are techniques or processes used to create on a smaller scale for a more precise understanding or to represent initial observations. Sometimes often called thumbnails, if used to capture the initial composition idea.


Is a technique used to let the subconscious mind flow. It is executed quickly with simple lines or shapes, usually without any reference material.

Examples of Other Types of Sketching

Include the following.

Pencil Sketching
Ink Sketching

Urban Sketching
Art Journaling

5 min Gesture Drawing

What is Gesture Drawing?

Gesture is a technique that will help you capture your first impressions and further articulate your message. It is also an abstract concept that tells the story.

This process is used to create a drawing quickly to express the intent or to capture the energy of a figure or subject's movement or motion. It usually contains what is called, the "line of action" which follows through the overall movement.

These quick sketches focus on the big picture, not the details. They are drawn within a short time (in as little as 10 seconds or up to 5 minutes).

Drawing from life is often preferred over a photographic reference. It allows views of the model from multiple angles and without distortion of the lens or poor lighting conditions.

Gesture and rhythm (from Greek rhythmos" any regular recurring motion") are often used interchangeably. We usually associate rhythm with a piece of music; however, rhythm can be found in everything in the visual arts. It can also be exaggerated to move the viewer's eye through an image.

Gesture Drawing

All organics or living things within the natural world have rhythm. In landscape, you will find these repeated patterns in the sea, clouds, trees, or mountains.

In still life, look for recurring lines, shapes, values, or colors with a vital element of opposite or different conditions to create a sense of movement or pattern.

In figure drawing, it's the movement that connects contours, forms, or tones. Analyze motion within a series of model poses or by observing animals. You may have to exaggerate body language or the action in your drawing to get your point across.

The "Line of Action" or directional line of the pose connects the pose from head to toe. Look for the longest axis to find the fluid line of action that connects all parts.

The repetition of short drawings without pausing forces the artist to work intuitively. The other benefits of gesture drawing are self-training. It will improve your ability to draw.

Perspective Drawing

What is Perspective Drawing?

Is a technique or process using a grid and vanishing point or points to create the illusion of a three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface or "picture plane." Invented during the 15th century Renaissance artistic movement, sometimes credited to Brunelleschi, an artist, and architect who created the Florence Cathedral dome.

Within Western Visual Arts it is a mathematical system for representing three-dimensional objects and space on a two-dimensional surface by means of intersecting lines that are drawn vertically and horizontally and that radiate from one point on a horizon line.

Perspective is defines as:

1. the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions

2. the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye. specifically : representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance


Picture Plane - the surface of the pictorial. The edges of the paper represent the "window" through which you see the object or scene.

Horizon Line - An imaginary line that divides the sky and land when viewing a landscape or separates the sea from the sky on the ocean. It is always at the eye level of the viewer and will change based on elevation.

Vanishing Point - The point at which imaginary parallel lines converge as they recede into the distance. In one point perspective, there is only one vanishing point. In two point perspective there are two vanishing points.

Viewing Point - The location of the eyes relative to an scene or object. Objects can be viewed from left to right, right to left, downward or upward. How an object appears with perspective changes depending on these parameters.

Types of Perspective

Include the following.

One Point Perspective

The true width and height of an object in the front view are placed in the picture plane. A horizontal construction line represents the horizon. The location of this line depends on the viewing point and the viewing direction of the viewer. Elevation is taken into account by raising or lowering the horizon line according to where the viewer stands.


Include the following.

Urban Sketching

What is Urban Sketching?

Is a technique or style used by urban sketchers to see the world, one drawing at a time (

Urban Sketcher or Travel Blogs
  • Urban Sketchers - a global community of artists that practice drawing on location in cities, towns, and villages they live in or travel to
  • Artist's Journal Workshops - Expanding on the book by Cathy Johnson
  • John Muir Laws- Nature, stewardship through science, education, and art

Urban Sketcher Artist's Blogs

Get Started in Sketching

Online Drawing Lessons for Purchase

  • Proko - quality video tutorials with a sense of humor and a wealth of information.
  • Craftsy - has classically trained atelier method instructor led classes via a video format for an inexpensive fee.
  • New Master Academy - well know artists that cover all topics and medium, some videos are free, most videos are pay by monthly for access.
  • The Drawing Academy - pay once in exchange for unlimited viewing.
  • Web Art Academy - pay once in exchange for unlimited viewing.

Getting Started for Free

Artist Who Articulate Concepts Well

  • Alphonso Dunn
  • Andra Josheph
  • Stan Prokopenko



Includes the following.


Includes the following.


Includes the following.

What is Figure Drawing?

It is a technique or process used to create a drawing while directly observing a figure from life or observing a live model posing.

  • The History of Life Drawing - crucial to an artist's development, it is one of the most longstanding aspects of an artist's training with centuries of history.
  • The Figure Drawing Lab - for a better understanding of the elements that make up the human figure and how to portray them.

Page from  one of Andrew Loomis' Books


What Are Mannequins Used For?

In the Visual Arts, they are used for practice on figure drawing or painting. It is best to work from a live model. However models can get very expensive so we use smaller scale mannequin or drawing aid instead.

Mannequins can be placed in various poses and can hold them a lot longer than a live model. Larger scale mannequins are used by designers, dress makers or to display clothing in window.

A mannequin is defined in the dictionary as “A life-size or partial representation of the human body, used for the fitting or displaying of clothes; a dummy. “ It is a jointed model of the human body used by artists, especially to demonstrate the arrangement of drapery. Also called lay figure.”  The word originated form the Middle Dutch where it was called manikin or little man.

The classic wooden model is the simplest one and comes from the 19th century but, there are more on the market now that are atomically correct.