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


Drawing is defined 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 using lines.

1. an act or instance of drawing.


For more information or resources on each medium, click on the following:


For more information or resources on each medium, click on the following:


Click the text below to learn more.


Lines are long, thin marks on the surface. Lines may also be created from the edges of shapes. They may be sharp, firm, soft, or lost in or out of focus. Lines may create boundaries or contours defining a shape or form. Lines may also create the illusion of motion or lead the viewer's eye through an image.


Lines may also be implied, and their quality can be soft or bold. Lines can also convey emotions. For example, sharp or jagged lines portray a different feeling than elegant or smooth lines. Straight lines may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Organic lines may be radial, spiral, or curved. Line lengths may be long, short, continuous, or broken, whereas the line width can be thick, thin, uneven, or tapered.

Straight lines may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Organic lines may be radial, spiral, or curved. Line lengths may be long, short, continuous, or broken, whereas the line width may be thick, thin, uneven, or tapered. Lines may also be implied, and their quality may be soft or bold.


It is an enclosed area or figure. It is a potent tool for visual communication as one of the Elements of Design. When looking at an object or image, 'shape' is the first retinal impression the human eye registers before color, texture, space, or anything else.

Two-dimensional shapes may be manipulated with mathematics but lack three-dimensional visual information about their location, scale, or orientation within space. They have uniform measurements and are usually man-made.

Contours are the outlines or outer edges of a shape.

Contrast is the difference in value, luminance, or color that makes a shape distinguishable.

A Silhouette is a shape filled with a single tone or a color, usually black.


It is an actual, three-dimensional shape or conveys three-dimensional information to the viewer. The term "form" differs from shape because it includes visual information regarding location, scale, or orientation with regard to the viewer.

Elliptical distortions, curvatures, or angles suggest perspective. Forms provide information to the viewer so they know how that object sits in space. It is well understood if they are looking up or down upon an object. Forms may be geometric or organic.

Cross-contours are lines that go across the form and may provide three-dimensional information on the form.


It is the lightness or darkness of a color.

The lightness or darkness of a silhouette or color.

Tone is a single-color or color swatch with a unique combination of color characteristics. Note that tone is sometimes defined as any color or hue mixed with gray. In charcoal or pencil drawings, there are only gray tones. Each tone has a unique combination of hue (color family spectrum), value (light or dark), intensity (brightness or dullness), and temperature (cool or warm). 

Shade is created from any tone with the addition of black or dark (in a drawing, it would be a darker mark or darker pencil). A tint is any tone mixed with white (in drawing, it would be the lighter marks or the paper's white).

The Vocabulary of Value

A gradation is a minute change in value over several tones. It allows us to visually sense what we see when light falls onto a round or curved object, and the surface turns away from the light source. Soft lighting creates a gradual gradation. Harsh lighting creates a dramatic change in gradation.

Value Scale in Six Steps

A value scale is a tool used to measure a single tone's lightness or darkness. Next to other tones in context, the scale has a light or dark relationship.

Each tone relates to another, getting darker or lighter in equal increments. A complex scale may contain as many as nine to eleven distinct tones.

Any scale can be simplified into six, five, or even three tones. Light or dark shapes may be simplified using only two tones until the shapes are clearly defined.

Visual Texture

Texture or implied texture is an illusion. It is created on a two-dimensional surface, in drawing or painting, and makes the appearance of a physical texture. For example, paint-spattered from a toothbrush in watercolor will create visual texture.

The visual texture created may portray the subject matter realistically. However, the texture appears as a repeating pattern without a sense of structure or form (i.e., cone, cylinder, sphere, cube-type shading, etc.).

In a drawing, implied texture can be created by repeating shapes, dots, lines, stenciling, or mark-making. Remember to use the edges or contours of the object to enhance the texture (i.e., fur does not have a smooth edge around it; it looks furry).


It is a continuous area or expanse that may be free, available, or unoccupied. It refers to the distance between shapes or objects. 3D space is recognized as having height, width, and depth and is referred to as space. Nothing exists without it and is the distance or area around each object, between, above, below, or in real places.

2D space is the illusion of depth. Visual Arts is primarily limited to height and width. It can be created by linear perspective, atmospheric perspective, magnified perspective, placement, elevation, or overlap.

Types of Drawing

Include the following.


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: click here.

Graphic Design

It 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.

From 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 use symbols or graphic language, i.e., Egyptian hieroglyphics.

A 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 arrange elements (content) on a page, such as image placement, text layout, and style. This is also for book or magazine publications. This may 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 called a Graphical User Interface (GUI). This has included web and software design when end-user interactivity is a design consideration of the layout or interface.

Calligraphy is a 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 to create visual 2D images for a book or a 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 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 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.

Traditional Drawing

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


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, feelings, 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 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 draws solely from their left hand.

5 min Gesture Drawing


This technique 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 the "line of action," which follows through the overall movement.

These quick sketches focus on the big picture, not the details. They are drawn quickly (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 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 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 action line connecting all parts.

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

Perspective Drawing

Perspective Drawing

It 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, it is sometimes credited to Brunelleschi, an artist and architect who created the Florence Cathedral dome.

It is a mathematical system for representing three-dimensional objects and space on a two-dimensional surface using intersecting lines drawn vertically and horizontally and radiating from one point on a horizon line.

Perspective is defined as:

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

2. the technique or process of representing the spatial relation of objects on a plane or curved surface as they might appear to the eye. Specifically, representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging 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 a two-point perspective, there are two vanishing points.

Viewing Point - The location of the eyes relative to a 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

An object's width and height 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 viewer's viewing direction. The elevation is considered by raising or lowering the horizon line according to where the viewer stands.

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.

Drawing from a live model is crucial to an artist's development; it is one of the most longstanding aspects of their training with centuries of history.


What Are Mannequins Used For?

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

Mannequins can be placed in various poses, holding them much longer than a live model. Larger-scale mannequins are used by designers and dressmakers to display clothing in windows.

A mannequin is defined in the dictionary as "A life-size or partial representation of the human body, used for the fitting or displaying 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 from 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.


Click the tabs below for resources.

Get Started for Free

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-known artists that cover all topics and mediums. Some videos are free, and most videos are paid monthly for access.
  • The Drawing Academy - pay once in exchange for unlimited viewing.
  • Web Art Academy - pay once in exchange for unlimited viewing.

How To

Historical Techniques

Contact Form