Fremont Frameworks

Using Drawing as a Form of Expression

Amongst the several branches that constitute fine art, drawing comes under the two-dimensional category and is one of the main forms of visual art wherein an artist leaves a discernible mark on a surface. Traditionally, paper has served as the most commonly used medium for drawing but over a period of time, using other types of surfaces that have evolved like cardboard, canvas, leather and so on, has become equally popular. A person who draws is known as an artist but if it is a technical drawing, then he is referred to as a draftsman or a drafter.

When viewed from a historical perspective, drawing is accorded a special place because it is believed to have been the earliest forms of expression, meaning it originated even before writing and languages. For some of the early humans who roamed the foliage covered planet and lived in caves, drawing was the only manner by which they could emulate their surroundings and experiences. It was this practice that eventually led to the evolution of alphabets and scripts that created permanent records of the spoken language.

Prior to the advent of paper in 14th century, the norm entailed drawing on wooden surfaces and tablets of specific sizes and shapes were created especially for this purpose. Invention of paper and its immediate proliferation into almost every sphere of life gave drawing the impetus of a rapidly growing form of fine art. In fact it began to be used extensively in the field of science and astronomy too wherein intricate diagrams were drawn on parchments to serve as records for teaching and future reference.

Tools that enable artists to create drawings vary from pencils and crayons to chalk, charcoal, ink and pastels. Likewise, the drawing sheet also comes in various shapes, sizes and quality and some of the parameters that are applied for judging the suitability of paper are its hue, texture and reaction to moisture.

Under normal circumstances, a sheet of paper is spread on a drawing board which in turn is based on a flat surface such as a table. While the artist holds the pencil in his hand, there are a number of tools that are kept close at hand like eraser, compass, ruler and a fixative. If ink is being used, then it is advisable to have blotting paper too in order to absorb any stray drops or strokes. Very often, artists use drafting tape to secure the paper to the board in order to prevent it from moving when the drawing is in progress. Another prevalent practice is to use an easel instead of a table so that it can be fixed at a suitable slant as per the artist’s convenience.

In drawing, the final appearance is often an outcome of choices made by the artist and techniques employed are different for pencil and ink. An artist who uses pencil usually follows the contour of main subject that is being captured and must guard against smearing. Similarly, artists who use ink for drawing employ hatching techniques like cross-hatching, broken hatching and stippling. Opting for charcoal entails subtractive technique wherein the drawing sheet is covered with charcoal and then erased systematically to acquire the desired shapes.

Depth in drawing is acquired through the concept of perspective wherein a one-point perspective with a single vanishing point is used for displaying objects on a flat surface. To provide more depth, a two-point perspective is used and there is a three-point perspective too which calls for vertical integration.

Whether it is doodling, shading, sketching, cartooning or drawing figures, the basic principles, tools and techniques of drawing remain the same across all forms.