Sketching has a long history!

Sketching is a beautiful art form that has been around for centuries. It’s a form of visual communication that has been used by humans since prehistoric times to document their surroundings, experiences, and emotions. Over time, sketching has evolved into a highly sophisticated and diverse practice, encompassing a wide range of styles and techniques.

The earliest known sketches were made by early humans on the walls of caves. These drawings were made using basic tools such as rocks and charcoal and were used to record daily life, hunting and gathering activities, and religious rituals. These sketches also served as a means of storytelling and communication.

Bradshaw rock paintings in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, taken at a site off Kalumburu Road near the King Edward River.

As time passed, the art of sketching continued to develop. In ancient Egypt, sketching was used as a form of communication and documentation, with artists creating detailed sketches of daily life, religious ceremonies, and important events. These sketches were often used as a reference for sculptures, paintings, and other forms of art.

Joseph Smith Papyri
Funerary papyrus, 1070-712 BCE

During the Renaissance period, sketching took on a new level of importance. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo used sketching as a means of exploring their ideas and developing their artistic vision. They created sketches of human anatomy, landscapes, and buildings, often using their sketches as a basis for their more finished works.

Anatomy sketches by Leonardo da Vinci

Tuscan Landscape by Leonardo da Vinci

In the 19th century, sketching became a popular pastime for people of all ages and backgrounds. With the development of new materials, such as pencils and paper, sketching became more accessible to the masses. Artists such as John Constable and J.M.W. Turner became known for their detailed and expressive sketches of landscapes, while other artists, such as Vincent van Gogh, used sketching as a means of exploring their inner emotions and experiences.

Corner of the Asylum and the Garden with a Heavy, Sawn-Off Tree by Vincent van Gogh
Two Women with a Boy and a Small Child (1796) by Joseph Mallord William Turner
Dead Leaf and Pod (1890) by Vincent van Gogh

Today, sketching continues to be an important form of artistic expression. From pencil sketches to digital drawings, artists of all levels and backgrounds use sketching as a means of exploring their ideas, developing their skills, and expressing their creativity. Sketching is also used in fields such as architecture, fashion design, and product design, where sketches are used to develop concepts and communicate ideas to clients and collaborators.

The art of sketching has a rich and fascinating history, and continues to be an important form of artistic expression and communication. Whether you’re an experienced artist or just starting out, sketching is a wonderful way to explore your creativity and connect with the world around you. So why not pick up a pencil and start sketching today? Booking a Walk-Stop-Sketch tour is a great way to get started and build your confidence. You never know what amazing ideas might come to life on your page!

For further historical information…


Corner of the Asylum and the Garden with a Heavy Sawn-Off Tree, c. 2 November, 1889 (2023, April 6). Van Gogh Museum

Funerary papyrus, 1070-712BCE. (2023, April 6). Arts Mia

Joseph Smith Papyri. (2023, April 6). In Wikipedia.

Study of a Tuscan Landscape, c. 1473  (2023, April 6) Leonardo da Vinci

Two Women with a boy and a Small Child, 1796 (2023, April 6) Tate

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