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drawing, art of the draftsman. In its broadest sense it includes every use of the delineated line and is thus basic to the arts of painting, architecture, sculpture, calligraphy, and geometry. The word drawing is commonly used to denote works in pen, pencil, crayon, chalk, charcoal, or similar media in which form rather than color is emphasized. For centuries drawings have been made either as preparatory studies (see cartoon) or as finished works of art. Preparatory drawings sometimes reveal a vigor and spontaneity lacking in the completed work. Among the many artists acclaimed for their drawings are Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dürer, Rubens, Hogarth, Goya, Daumier, Klee, Picasso, and Matisse. Drawings are often used as illustrations and are reproduced by such processes as etching, engraving, and lithography.


See H. Hutter, Drawing: History and Technique (tr. 1968); K. T. Parker, ed., Old Master Drawings (14 vol., 1940, repr. 1970); J. Meder et al., The Mastery of Drawing (2 vol., 1978).

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A sketch, design, or other representation by lines.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the deformation of metal by pulling rolled or pressed rods through a hole to reduce their cross section or to produce more exact dimensions and a smooth surface. Force is applied to the tapered end of the rod, which passes freely through the tool (draw plate) and is grasped by a special grip. As a result of the drawing operation, the rod acquires the shape and dimensions of the hole in the draw plate, its trans-verse dimensions decrease, and its length increases. Drawing can produce wire with a diameter of less than 0.01 mm. Grease is spread over the rod being drawn in order to minimize friction. Tubes can be drawn in three ways: without a chuck, on a short fixed chuck, or on a long moving chuck. In the first case the tube diameter is decreased, and in the second and third cases the diameter is decreased and the wall of the tube is made thinner. Drawing has received wide application in the fabrication of rod metal, wire, tubing, and other products of constant cross section and great length.


Perlin, I. L. Teoriia volocheniia. Moscow, 1957.
Gromov, N. P. Teoriia obrabotki metallov davleniem. Moscow, 1967.




the removal from a hide of parts not used to produce leather or fur (including hooves, horns, frontal bones, adhering flesh and fat, lips, and ears); also, the removal of dirt.



in metalworking, an operation used in pressure shaping (for example, in forging) to reduce wall thickness and to increase the length of a billet having the shape of a sleeve, usually as a result of incomplete piercing. The billet is drawn through one or several consecutive dies by means of a punch. Drawing is usually carried out using hydraulic presses.



a representation executed by hand using such graphic elements as outlining, shading, and filling in of solid areas; also the act of creating such a representation. Different combinations of the graphic elements are used to achieve three-dimensionality, tonal effects, and chiaroscuro. Drawings generally are monochromatic or consist of a somewhat organic blend of different colors.

Drawing has broad application, representing one of the most important and highly developed fields of representational art. In addition to its use for artistic purposes, drawing is used for scientific illustration. It is also used in applied art and in designing (drafting). Drawing is the basis of all art forms on a planar surface (painting, printing, relief). It is usually the initial stage in the execution of a painting, playing an important role in determining the outlines, form, size and spatial distribution of objects. Hence, the term “drawing” signifies the totality of linear and plastic elements that determine the structure and spatial relationship of forms in a painting.

As an independent art, drawing is the basic technique used in the graphic arts. Other forms of graphic art, such as engraving and lithography, are based on drawing. An exceptional means by which an artist grasps and studies reality, drawing—especially drawing from real objects or models—constitutes the foundation of artistic training.

There are numerous types of drawing, differing in medium, theme, genre, purpose, and technique. A drawing may be executed as an independent work of art or as a preliminary study for the execution of other works of graphic art, painting, and, less commonly, sculpture. Preliminary drawings (studies, sketches) are often of outstanding artistic merit. Architectural drawings are also of merit.

A drawing may be executed in a dry or liquid medium. Charcoal was one of the earliest used dry coloring substances. Metal points (lead or silver), which date back to classical antiquity, were popular from the 12th to 16th centuries. Black chalk and red chalk came into use during the Renaissance. Graphite was first used in the 16th century, with the modern pencil, in a wooden casing, appearing in the late 18th century. Liquid mediums, which are applied by pen (reed, quill, or metal point) or brush, include india ink, bister, sepia, and writing inks.

A variety of materials have been used as drawing surfaces. Papyrus was widely used in the ancient world. Parchment, sometimes coated with a special priming, was used during the Middle Ages. Paper, which was invented in China and known in Europe from the tenth century, became the principal material for drawings during the Renaissance. Paper is often primed and tinted in various colors. Drawings on tinted paper are executed with black chalk or charcoal; light spots are made with chalk or white paint.

The great variety of materials and methods of application contribute to the extraordinary wealth of artistic devices in drawings, ranging from hastily executed sketches to painstakingly detailed works and from precise linear pencil or pen drawings (in which elements of chiaroscuro and tone are introduced by hatching, shading, or washes) to purely tonal brush drawings that approach paintings in execution. There are polychromatic drawings, which by their very nature make it difficult to distinguish the boundary between drawing and painting. Watercolor, tempera, pastels, sauce (soft crayon), and india ink are mediums for both drawings and paintings.

Drawing is one of the oldest forms of art. Prehistoric drawing reached its fullest development in the Paleolithic. The drawings, which represented animals and hunting scenes, are inseparable from cliff and cave painting and from primitive engraving (scratchings on bone, stone, and clay). Neolithic drawings were highly stylized, with the representations often approaching ornamentation. The syncretism of primitive forms of pictorial and ornamental art was retained in the drawings of early slaveholding cultures.

At the same time, the use of drawing as the initial outline of murals and reliefs emerged in ancient Egypt and the ancient Orient. Papyrus drawing was an independent art in Egypt’s New Kingdom (16th to 11th centuries B.C.). The drawings that embellished classical Greek vases (for example, the white lecythi of the third quarter of the fifth century B.C.) were marked by a distinctive plasticity. Subtle observations of real life characterized the ink drawings on silk and paper that were produced first in China (from the fourth century B.C.) and then in Japan and other Far Eastern countries. The drawings depicted landscapes, human figures, animals, and flowers. In the Middle Ages the line drawing was used as an architectural sketch and as a model of details of architectural ornamentation. It was also used to produce the outlines in monumental mural painting. The lines were drawn in the damp plaster with a hard instrument or a brush. The drawing served as an iconographie model in the execution of intricate compositions (for example, in icon painting). As a rule, the medieval line drawing was stylized and ornamental. Drawing as a form of graphic art received fuller definition in the illustration of medieval manuscripts.

During the Renaissance the theoretical and practical bases for the subsequent development of the creative and academic methodology of European drawing were laid. The laws of perspective, chiaroscuro, and three-dimensional anatomy were studied during this period. Drawing from real objects became highly developed. A new type of “artistic” drawing appeared alongside preliminary studies, sketches, anatomical drawings, and natural-science studies. Its principal genres—historical composition, themes of everyday life, portraits, and landscapes—emerged during the Renaissance.

The drawings of such 15th-century Italian masters as Pisa-nello, A. Pollaiuolo, A. Mantegna, and V. Carpaccio are marked by precision, plastic clarity, a certain dryness, and detail. In the High Renaissance, Italian drawing attained a special richness and expressiveness. These qualities are evident in the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, and A. del Sarto. In contrast to the strict linear-plastic manner of most Italian graphic artists of the Roman-Florentine circle, 16th-century Venetian artists, such as Titian, P. Veronese, and Tintoretto, were distinguished by a free, somewhat sketchlike style.

In 16th-century German drawing the linear element predominated. Other features were universal breadth, precise shading (A. Dürer), and picturesqueness (M. Grünewald). The line—terse but sometimes intensified by shading—often became calligraphic (W. Huber, A. Altdorfer, H. Baldung, U. Graf).

Pencil portraits noted for the subtle rendering of the sitter’s facial features were produced in the 15th and 16th centuries by J. van Eyck in the Netherlands, H. Holbein the Younger in Germany, and J. Clouet and F. Clouet in France. The drawings of the Italian mannerists, including Pontormo, Parmigianino, and L. Cambiaso, are distinguished by intensified expressiveness and a special brittleness.

The collecting of drawings by outstanding artists dates back to the 16th century. Drawings were collected to serve as models for aspiring artists and as works having independent aesthetic significance. One of the first collections of drawings was gathered by G. Vasari—the well-known historian and biographer of the Italian Renaissance.

In the late 16th century, Annibale Carracci developed an “academic” program for the study of drawing. This program remained part of the curriculum at art academies in many countries until the end of the 19th century. In the first stage of training, the student copied originals, that is, the drawings of acknowledged masters. The student then learned to convey three-dimensionality by drawing from plaster copies of ancient statues. Only in the third stage of training was the student permitted to draw directly from life. This method, while it inculcated firm systemic drawing skills and habits, led the artist away from a direct perception of reality.

The 17th century produced works that contrasted with the clear, precise, lifeless academic drawings. The drawings of Rembrandt are extraordinarily profound in concept and bold and free in style. In Holland faithful observations of nature were depicted by the landscapists J. van Goyen and J. van Ruisdael and by the genre artists A. van Ostade, G. Terborch, and G. Metsu. Energetic drawings were created by P. P. Rubens in Flanders. Noteworthy drawings were produced by major French graphic artists, for example, the grotesque sketches by J. Callot and the picturesque drawings—full of inner feeling—by N. Poussin and C. Lorrain.

In 17th-century Italy academic drawing was countered by the restless, dynamic drawings of such baroque masters as L. Bernini and Guercino.

A number of virtuoso masters, whose drawings are rich in subtle observations and painterly effects, came to the fore in the 18th century. They included A. Watteau, F. Boucher, G. de Saint-Aubin, H. Robert, and J. H. Fragonard in France; G. B. Tiepolo and F. Guardi in Italy; and T. Gainsborough in England. In opposition to the overrefinement of rococo drawing, French representatives of 18th-century classicism, led by J. L. David, revived a bold style of drawing, characterized by precise line and effective three-dimensionality.

In the 19th century the traditions of classicist drawing, in particular the emphasis on outlining, were further developed by J. A. D. Ingres. However, this trend quickly degenerated into cold, lifeless academicism.

The study of the drawings of the old masters enables one to analyze more precisely an artist’s style (which is better known from the master’s paintings), to discover hints of a given artist’s preliminary concept, and to follow the evolution of the artistic principles of certain movements, schools, and styles.

Beginning in the 19th century the drawings by leading graphic artists were increasingly related to the overall development of art and the spread of progressive artistic ideas. At the turn of the century the Spanish artist F. Goya dedicated his impassioned, incisively executed drawings to the themes of peasant life and the liberation struggle. The principles of free, expressive drawing, imbued with the breath of life, were affirmed by the French romantics T. Géricault and E. Delacroix and, especially, by H. Daumier—the leading French graphic artist of the 19th century. Daumier’s drawings combine grotesque images satirizing bourgeois-aristocratic reaction with powerful images of the common people. Gavarni and a number of other French draftsmen followed in the footsteps of Daumier the caricaturist.

Nineteenth-century French drawing is also represented by the subtle landscapes of C. Corot and the Barbizon school and the realistic yet greatly generalized sketches of J. F. Millet. The drawings of E. Manet and such impressionists as E. Degas and P. A. Renoir convey movement and the vital plasticity of the human body.

Other major 19th-century European graphic artists noted for their drawings include C. D. Friedrich, A. Menzel, and W. Busch of Germany; W. Turner, E. Burne-Jones, and W. Morris of Great Britain; J. Israëls and J. B. Jongkind of Holland; J. Mánes and M. Ales of Bohemia; and A. Orłowski, J. Matejko, and A. Grottger of Poland.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries a special style of drawing developed that was intended for reproduction in books, magazines, and newspapers by new photomechanical technology. The drawings were distinguished by exceptional clarity. The masters of this type of drawing, most of whom were influenced by art nouveau, included T. T. Heine in Germany, A. Beardsley in Great Britain, and F. Rops in Belgium. A number of architects, such as P. Behrens in Germany and J. Olbrich in Austria, turned to book and magazine illustration and made an important contribution to art nouveau drawing, imparting a special “constructive” character to the art form. Drawings in the post-impressionist style were also produced during this period by E. Munch in Norway and by P. Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, and the Dutch V. van Gogh in France. In both content and style, the drawings were closely related to post-impressionist paintings.

The turn of the 20th century was marked by the spread of political drawing directed against social oppression and often imbued with revolutionary spirit. Drawings of this type were produced by T. Steinlin in France; H. Zille, H. Baluschek, and K. Kollwitz in Germany; and F. Masereel in Belgium.

Since the early part of the 20th century drawing has developed under the influence of various schools and styles. In the drawings of many 20th-century artists belonging to avant-garde movements, such as expressionism, cubism, futurism, abstract art, and surrealism, the artist’s professional skill and the sharp expressiveness of form often contradict a deliberate distortion of the objective world and self-indulgent experimentation. This contradiction is evident in the drawings of E. L. Kirchner, E. Nolde, G. Grosz, and O. Dix in Germany; A. Kubin and O. Kokoschka in Austria; and H. Matisse, R. Dufy, J. Braque, J. Gris, and F. Léger in France.

In the 20th century realistic traditions continued in the drawings of A. Fougeron and B. Taslitzky in France; P. Hogarth in Great Britain; L. Mendez, J. C. Orozco, and D. A. Siqueiros in Mexico; C. Portinari in Brazil; R. Guttuso, D. Purificato, and A. Salvatore in Italy; W. Sitte and W. Klemke in the German Democratic Republic; T. Kulisiewicz in Poland; M. Ŝvabinsky in Czechoslovakia; and S. Ék in Hungary. Masters of sharply satirical drawings have included R. Minor, F. Ellis, and W. Gropper in the United States; J. Effel in France, and H. Bidstrup in Denmark.

A special place in the history of 20th-century drawing belongs to P. Picasso. Picasso’s drawings encompass a vast range of styles, from the precisely linear and consciously archaic to the lapidary. A keen sense of modeling distinguishes the drawings of such late-19th-century and 20th-century sculptors as A. Rodin and A. Maillol of France, E. Barlach and H. Kolbe of Germany, H. Moore of Great Britain, M. Marini of Italy, G. Marcks of the Federal Republic of Germany, and F. Cremer of the German Democratic Republic.

In Russia drawing from life and from models had already assumed an important place in the artistic culture by the late 18th and early 19th centuries, thanks to the efforts of the drawing instructors at the St. Petersburg Academy of Art, who included

A. P. Losenko, G. I. Ugriumov, A. I. Ivanov, and K. P. Briullov. Classical perfection of form, convincing lifelikeness, and profound study of nature characterized the drawings of O. A. Kiundprenskii, M. I. Kozlovskii, A. E. Egorov, V. K. Shebuev, F. P. Tolstoi, and Briullov. The drawings of A. A. Ivanov reflect the combination of strict academic principles with moving realism and of laconic line with the painterly use of shading.

Genre artists, satirists, and illustrators played a major role in the development of drawing in Russia during both the 18th century (I. A. Ermenev) and the 19th century (A. G. Venetsianov, P. A. Fedotov, A. A. Agin, P. M. Shmel’kov, P. P. Sokolov, the Polish artist A. Orłowski, the Ukrainian artist T. G. Shevchen-ko). The rapid development of drawing in the 19th century was to a large extent brought about by the struggle for realistic methodology in the teaching of drawing. This struggle, which aimed to bring drawing closer to real life, was carried on by Venetsianov, I. N. Kramskoi, and, above all, P. P. Chistiakov. Their pupils included I. E. Repin, V. I. Surikov, V. M. Vasnetsov, V. D. Polenov, V. A. Serov, M. A. Vrubel’, and D. N. Kardovskii.

The peredvizhniki (the “wanderers”—a progressive art movement) produced many noteworthy drawings. The drawings of K. A. Savitskii, V. E. Makovskii, and N. A. Kasatkin depicted scenes from everyday life. Kramskoi and N. A. Iaroshenko drew portraits, and A. K. Savrasov, I. I. Shishkin, and F. A. Vasil’ev produced landscapes. Keen observation and dazzling skill distinguish the drawings of Repin, the simple, virtuoso sketches of Serov, and the nature studies and illustrations of Vrubel’. Vrubel’s drawings are marked by picturesque expressiveness and unique “cubist” shading to render three-dimensionality.

The artists of the World of Art group were outstanding draftsmen. Although they worked primarily in book illustration, they also drew portraits, landscapes, and historical compositions. The World of Art draftsmen included A. N. Benois, L. S. Bakst, M. V. Dobuzhinskii, E. A. Lansere, A. P. Ostroumova-Lebedeva, K. A. Somov, I. Ia. Bilibin, A. Ia. Golovin, B. M. Kustodiev, N. K. Roerich, G. I. Narbut, and S. V. Chekhonin.

The history and life of the peoples of the USSR defined the new content of Soviet drawing. Building on realistic traditions and guided by the method of socialist realism, Soviet artists have developed unique types of drawings. Narrative drawings (often in the form of series or cycles) devoted to the themes of socialist construction, the heroic history of the Soviet people, and the people’s struggle for peace have been produced by D. A. Shmarinov, E. A. Kibrik, V. A. Serov, B. I. Prorokov, K. I. Finogenov, A. M. Laptev, P. V. Mal’kov, and N. A. Ponomarev.

Portraits of leaders and important figures of the USSR, workers, collective farmers, the intelligentsia, members of the Komsomol, and Soviet soldiers have been drawn by N. I. Al’tman, N. A. Andreev, I. I. Brodskii, G. S. Vereiskii, N. P. Ul’ianov, D. N. Kardovskii, E. A. Katsman, A. I. Laktionov, and V. A. Favorskii. Traditions of landscape drawing have been developed by V. V. Meshkov and A. A. Deineka.

Soviet draftsmen have also developed a genre of artistic-documentary drawing. Their drawings include illustrations for works of Soviet literature and other classics. Such illustration work has been done by Lansere, Kustodiev, the Kukryniksy, Shmarinov, B. A. Dekhterev, A. F. Pakhomov, V. M. Konashe-vich, D. I. Mitrokhin, P. V. Miturich, N. A. Tyrsa, E. I. Charushin, N. N. Kupreianov, S. V. Gerasimov, M. S. Rodionov, N. N. Zhukov, V. V. Lebedev, D. A. Dubinskii, O. G. Vereiskii, and V. N. Goriaev.

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 a special type of “drawing of the front” was created, which patriotically recorded the heroism of the Soviet people and the tragic misfortunes they experienced.

Enjoying great popularity is the genre of the travel sketch, which depicts with documentary accuracy scenes from the everyday life of the Soviet nation and of peoples in foreign lands.

Drawing is a flourishing art form in all the republics of the USSR, as exemplified in the works of V. I. Kasiian and M. G. Deregus in the Ukraine, S. G. Romanov in Byelorussia, A. Azimzade in Azerbaijan, I. M. Toidze in Georgia, M. M. Abegian in Armenia, A. N. Volkov in Uzbekistan, and L. A. Il’ina in Kazakhstan.

Even in the first years of the Great October Socialist Revolution drawing was a means of political agitation in poster art, the art of caricature, and newspaper and magazine illustration. It played such a role in works by V. V. Mayakovsky, D. S. Moor, V. N. Deni, M. M. Cheremnykh, the Kukryniksy, B. E. Efimov, A. M. Kanevskii, and L. V. Soifertis.


Sidorov, A. A. Risunok starykh russkikh masterov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Sidorov, A. A. Risunok russkikh masterov (Vtoraia polovina XIX veka). Moscow, 1960.
Solov’ev, A. M., G. B. Smirnov, and E. S. Alekseeva. Uchebnyi risunok. Moscow, 1953.
Grashchenkov, V. N. Risunok masterov ital’ianskogo Vozrozhdeniia. (Moscow, 1963.)
Vipper, B. R. Stat’i ob iskusstve. (Moscow, 1970.)
Flekel’, M. I. Velikie master a risunka. Moscow, 1974.
Meder, J. Die Handzeichnung: Ihre Technik und Entwicklung, 2nd ed. Vienna, 1923.
Grassi, L. Storia del disegno. Rome, 1947.
Boekhoff, H., and F. Winzer. Das grosse Buch der Graphik. Braunschweig, 1968.
Kenin, R. The Art of Drawing From the Dawn of History to the Era of the Impressionists. New York-London, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(chemical engineering)
Removing ceramic ware from a kiln after it has been fired.
(graphic arts)
A surface portrayal of a form or figure in line.
Pulling a wire or tube through a die to reduce the cross section.
Forcing plastic deformation of metal in a die to form recessed parts.
A textile process in which the sliver is prepared for spinning by being held at one end while the other end is pulled to increase the length and decrease the diameter of the ropelike form.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a picture or plan made by means of lines on a surface, esp one made with a pencil or pen without the use of colour
2. the art of making drawings; draughtsmanship
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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