What are the Meanings of Sketch?

A sketch is an outline, scheme, draft or essay of a visual project that allows to characterize the essential features and elements of the future work.

The word comes from the Italian term bozzetto, formed in turn by the particle bozzo, which means ‘unpolished rock’, and the diminutive suffix ett. Therefore, as well as unpolished rock, a sketch is an unfinished project or an unborn project. In other words, the sketch allows its director to make the first tests of his final work.

The sketches are visual studies that help artists, architects, sculptors, illustrators and designers to extract ideas from thinking, in order to conceptualize them and give them concreteness on paper, whether it is a two-dimensional or three-dimensional, artistic or functional work.

For both the artist and the architect or designer, sketching is the first step in building a visual concept. They will prepare one or more sketches of their object of study according to the complexity of it. In addition, they can make sketches of the general concept as of each of its parts or details, always freehand.

An example of this are the sketches that Pablo Picasso prepared before painting the Guernica paintingIn these sketches, Picasso studies the ensemble, as well as the details: bull heads, objects and human bodies.

Characteristics of a sketch

  • They are made in freehand paper.
  • They are usually made with pencil or ink, although there will also be sketches with color (wax, pastel chalk, watercolor, etc.).
  • They have no rigor of calculation.
  • They do not usually involve the use of auxiliary objects (compass, rules and other gadgets).
  • They are fast made.
  • They are schematic in their features.
  • The contours are unfinished.
  • It is common to observe correction of overlapping lines.
  • They represent only the essential elements of a given design.

Sketch function

  • Anticipate the complications of the execution of a future work.
  • Study the main axes of the design.
  • Show possible errors in planning.

Sketch in sculpture, architecture and industrial design

In sculpture, architecture and industrial design, the paper sketch can also be followed by a second phase of testing, which is also a study. We refer to the scale model for sculpture, the model for architecture and the prototype for industrial design. However, the three disciplines will start from the traditional concept of the sketch as a first approximation.