A frivolous point, perhaps

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Harry
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A frivolous point, perhaps

Post by Harry » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:19 am

Just wondering. When does a sketch cease to be a sketch and becomes a painting, or a drawn work of art?

The very word sketch brings to the imagination dashed off charcoals, inks, hurriedly drawn nudes, or landscapes. "It was just a sketch, Dear Watson."

Yet I sometimes see things that are painstakingly drawn, painted etc, or finished to the nth degree, and called sketches.

I looked at some online sketch books on YouTube and saw page after page of what could only be the artist's best work passed off as Something I dashed off in the elevator this morning.

Clearly this was a very slow elevator. Or perhaps it got stuck between floors.

My sketch books have warm-up exercises, contour drawings that look like scribble patterns etc. They are what I draw in every day, consequently they are a mess with occasional eye catching winners.

When is a sketch not an sketch? And what are people's thoughts on the YouTube Rembrandts.

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Re: A frivolous point, perhaps

Post by Rebecca » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:19 am

This is funny, I mean, how you wrote this! Welcome to the forum, Harry! I hope you stick around.
I'd say it all depends on how much further the artist can take their painting skills beyond their sketches. I've gotta take off for the day, but I'll post more on this later. I like this subject. Again, welcome, Harry!

P.S., can you point to some of these youtube sketchers and Rembrandts? It might help to see before answering.
Rebecca

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Re: A frivolous point, perhaps

Post by Rebecca » Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:41 pm

Harry wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:19 am
Just wondering. When does a sketch cease to be a sketch and becomes a painting, or a drawn work of art? The very word sketch brings to the imagination dashed off charcoals, inks, hurriedly drawn nudes, or landscapes. "It was just a sketch, Dear Watson." Yet I sometimes see things that are painstakingly drawn, painted etc, or finished to the nth degree, and called sketches...When is a sketch not an sketch? And what are people's thoughts on the YouTube Rembrandts.
I also wonder why people call drawings and paintings sketches, and sketches drawings. Maybe they don't know the difference. Or, as artists, they don't want to adhere to old-time conventions.

For the definition, sometimes it has to do with the use of the art. Your description of a sketch is pretty much my understanding of it. Many of us post drawings and paintings here. Some of us qualify our non-sketches as non-sketches, but others don't, and I often wonder if they know the difference. Perhaps they don't. But, maybe they believe their images meet the criteria for sketch. I hope members who post "painstakingly drawn, painted etc, or finished to the nth degree" art as sketches will explain how their images meet our understanding of what a sketch is. That would be a lively discussion!

There are some subcategories of sketches. They share the loose style: doodles, studies, stick figures, thumbnails, free-form, trial marks, scribbles. Blind contour drawings seem closer to sketches than drawings.
Then there are cases where sketchy artworks are not called sketches: cartoons, caricatures, illustrations can be executed in a sketchy manner. Those would be given a more completed status, like drawing or painting.

I have seen a few YouTube videos and can't find one that is perfect. Anyway, nothing is perfect. Many posts are by people enthusiastically sharing the early stages of their learning journey. To varying extents, they don't have the background knowledge for mature art instruction, but their comment sections are filled with gratitude and admiration that could blind them to any need for further growth. I feel a bit sorry for those who swallow YouTuber wisdom as if it were Gospel. It can lead to self perpetuating amateurism. Others, like you, suspect there is something wrong with the picture.
Rebecca

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Re: A frivolous point, perhaps

Post by gunterkoenigsmann » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:53 am

On the other hand I have colleague who has no formal education. But what he does definitively is art - exactly caused by the fact that it doesn't involve copying something that pre-existed.
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Re: A frivolous point, perhaps

Post by gunterkoenigsmann » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:46 am

Another point (that also doesn't mean that any other point isn't valid, but that might show another aspect of the problem): I personally like the sketches Van Gogh sent to his brother in order to tell him what paintings he was working on more than the actual paintings. You could now argue that Van Gogh's roughest sketches still are art (and that would be correct), but...
Do it. Now.

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Re: A frivolous point, perhaps

Post by Rebecca » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:04 pm

gunterkoenigsmann wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:53 am
On the other hand I have colleague who has no formal education. But what he does definitively is art - exactly caused by the fact that it doesn't involve copying something that pre-existed...
Another point (that also doesn't mean that any other point isn't valid, but that might show another aspect of the problem): I personally like the sketches Van Gogh sent to his brother in order to tell him what paintings he was working on more than the actual paintings. You could now argue that Van Gogh's roughest sketches still are art (and that would be correct), but...
There seems to be a misunderstanding. We are not discussing what qualifies as art, but rather what distinguishes paintings or drawings from sketches.

Since you brought this up though:
I regard sketches as art (and I will stipulate that whatever your colleague is doing, that's art, too. No proof required). I suspect most people in this forum regard sketches as art. I have argued here with beginners that their works qualify as art in spite of their protests.

Some of my favorite artworks are sketches, and some sketches are the greatest art I have ever seen.
Rebecca

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Re: A frivolous point, perhaps

Post by Andre Jute » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:44 pm

gunterkoenigsmann wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:46 am
Another point (that also doesn't mean that any other point isn't valid, but that might show another aspect of the problem): I personally like the sketches Van Gogh sent to his brother in order to tell him what paintings he was working on more than the actual paintings. You could now argue that Van Gogh's roughest sketches still are art (and that would be correct), but...
The sketches Vincent sent Theo was art, what Vincent did in his own sketchbooks is so sketchy and childishly crude that one needs to be told they were by Vincent van Gogh to give them a second look. I don't think anyone is likely to consider them better than the paintings!
Andre Jute
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