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What is a sketch?

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 07:25 PM

I have received a PM from scorpionagency. He disagrees with our vision of the term "sketch" that we imply in community contests. Well, to be more precise he disagrees with Sharie, but it happens that we have the same vision of what a sketch is. So instead of sending PMs back and forth I though I'd post here so that other members could participate in the discussion and if other views are voiced, maybe we can come to the definition that we'll be acceptable for the majority of the community.

So my idea of a sketch does not go too far from the definition given by Merriam-Webster dictionary "a rough drawing representing the chief features of an object or scene and often made as a preliminary study b : a tentative draft (as for a literary work)".
I have underlined the point that I think is the key here. A sketch, in my opinion is a preliminary study that may (or may not) become a final project and the question of medium in which this study is realized if of secondary character. So a sketch can be done in pencil or 3D software as far as it is not a finished project it remains a sketch for me.

If you have different thoughts about this, please, post here.

#2 sharie



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Posted 25 October 2009 - 08:20 PM

What I have issue with on the comments on the pumpkin contest is a member telling another member "what is and is not a sketch" and going as far as telling them thatthey didn't enter a sketch or see any sketches in the contests then refer to thier own as the only sketch in the contest. Those comments are for the forums not in the contests themselves.

I know some do not agree on what a sketch is and that is fine. If we all agreed on the same things all the time life would be very boring!

I remember way back when I first started my digital photography. The traditional photographers were not ready to accept digital photography as "real" or true photography. In a way the same is true when it comes to traditonal artists. Definitions you find on what a sketch is behind the times per se' in what folks can use for sketching. I have seen works of art from that old toy "etch a sketch" and many of those etch a sketch art works are finished works.

As far as what a sketch is...I have always refered to my intial work as a sketch no matter the medium. I always say time to go go work up a design. Also many sketches are works of art. Sometimes I don't finish up a sketch in one sitting, sometimes I do. Sometimes my sketch ends up being the finished work sometimes not. It all depends on how time time and effort I put into my work-up (sketch)

As far as the word sketch.....open to interpitation but just my opinion for the community contests....it deson't matter to me if the work is preliminary or finished as long as it is a new work created for that certain contest. I have put a few restriction on some of the contests and that restriction is photo manipulation. My opinion about photo manipulation is an art in itself and could make a very fun contest. The current contest has no restrictions.

I wanted to also add....I don't have a problem with anyone submitting finished work in the contests just as long as it was created for that certain contest. What is considered finished? That would be up to the artist. Finished work is subjective also. Is concept art finished or is it a sketch (work in progress). Depending on the the end use would also determine if the art is considered finished. That though is up to resureprus.

Edited by sharie, 25 October 2009 - 08:59 PM.

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#3 scorpionagency


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Posted 25 October 2009 - 08:22 PM

This could prove to be an interesting thread.. :)

Myself, I tend to go by the websters dictionary version of "sketch", same as above "a rough drawing representing the chief features of an object or scene and often made as a preliminary study"., however, my personal view on what a sketch is that webster describes as follows:

1. An outline or general delineation of anything; a first rough or incomplete draught or plan of any design; especially, in the fine arts, such a representation of an object or scene as serves the artist's purpose by recording its chief features; also, a preliminary study for an original work.

2. To draw the outline or chief features of; to make a rought of.

I go by the above definition because we are designers in the field of art. Sketching can mean many different things to different fields, I like to try & keep it all design related though.

I can agree that 3D is also a form of art & requires a different kind of sketch. However, I feel that a 3D sketch would be it's raw modeling form before all the textures are added. Once you you start adding all the textures, backgrounds, & photo manipulations it's no longer a sketch & becomes a first draft.

as the definitions of the dictionary's show, a sketch is the first / preliminary rough outline, so once we go past the point of preliminary (as in first stage) it then becomes more of a 1st draft or presentational concept.

I would like to think that a rough sketch is the very first part of the design process. From there you would move onto cleaning up the lines (2d & 3d), then adding any additional tweaks, then splashing color (or textures for 3d) onto it, cleaning up again, Then moving onto emphasizing detail, etc, etc.

I don't however view photo manipulation as a sketch. Photo manipulation is normally done by applying filters / effects to pre-existing photo's. In this case it would bypass the sketch phase & go straight to 1st draft after initial manipulation attempts.

I'm sure everyone here has a little different view as what a sketch should be & at what phase of the design process it should be placed in. it's important that all our thoughts on what a sketch is remain in the Artists industry of design, as other forms of sketch in other industries my just complicate it more. :)

In conclusion I think that a preliminary sketch comes before a first draft (When applicable). :)

I am definitely interested to hear what everyone's thoughts are on this subject. it would help us all get on the same page when it comes to future site participation & especially help with our own process philosophy as we grow in the industry of design together.

Edited by scorpionagency, 25 October 2009 - 08:40 PM.

#4 jiaix



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Posted 25 October 2009 - 09:07 PM

duh ... semantics mixed with semiotics ...
didn't the historic acceptance of impressionist art render the term 'sketch' useless alltogether?

and if outline=sketch then comics=sketch aswell?

i can go with the 'first draft' definition (first things you made ... no corrections, (no pose adjustment or erasing bits, for example)), but then it might turn up to be a matter of techne instead of idea ...

so a sketch for me (if any) is a frivolous sidestep from the major corpus of your work which you have no intention to really go public with ... the experimental stuff, no matter how long it takes or what it looks like ... if the author says it's a sketch - then it is (an anlog from the tech world could also be applied (beta vs official release) ... hum you don't get paid for it = it's a sketch ... if you do = it's a piece of (art) work :p

#5 sevehn


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Posted 26 October 2009 - 02:51 PM

hmmm ... sketch ... from my point of view is uhmmmm ......

-- it is the artist's initial (raw) idea, thoughts, concept squeezedOut into any kind of medium! (eg: paper OR digital -- black&white OR colored) - doesnt really matter!

-- it is something wherein the edits/changes/modifications are "mostly/majorly" from the artists' judgement.

-- a sketch can be "unFinished/draft", something the artist is not yet "done" with, not yet satisfied with ... something that is not yet complete (according to the artist)
-- it can be "final" meaning, almost all of the artists' ideas, thoughts, concept has been squeezedOut onto the art (paper/digital -- BlackWhite/Colored) ... something that feels "enough" from the artists' point of view ... but still the artists' will have to "present/show" the sketch/draft to the audience/client for more "outsideFeedback" to create the final art (the final art which could be considered as the goal)

Soooooo ... i think ...................

sketch/draft = artists' initial or raw work (regardless of medium or color)

finalWork = artists' final work + (audience/clients input) incorporated into the sketch/draft which is accepted by both sides (artist and client/audience) ...

hmmmm .. that was brainExcercise! hahahaha! (okay thats my opinion!)

Edited by sevehn, 26 October 2009 - 02:53 PM.

the best is yet to come ~

#6 rust3dboy


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 02:51 AM

According to my knowledge:

Sketch: A hand made illustration of an object or a scene drawn by an artist/person from his way of looking at the object/scene.

Sketches can be in many kinds, such as initial sketch which is drawn by artist/art directors before proceeding to the actual computer generated illustration/artwork, it can be a detailed sketch such as portrait sketching and it can be a rough sketch drawn on a note pad.

#7 geek



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Posted 27 October 2009 - 03:15 AM

Sketch for me is a rough play.


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 07:28 PM

According to my knowledge:

Sketch: A hand made illustration of an object or a scene drawn by an artist/person from his way of looking at the object/scene.

yeah, and when you sketch a monster you have to be looking at him :D

#9 websmythe



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Posted 15 January 2010 - 08:25 PM

Strikes me that what a sketch is really isn't an issue, as it's a tool to accomplish something, even if that something is just the sketch itself. Most ideas go no farther. A hammer may be made of gold, but it's still a hammer. I think it was Michangelo that said that most important skill was speed, so that you could capture what you see. Sortta best describes what a sketch is for me.
<burgers> So many choices, so little time! </pizza>

#10 Vincent Mills

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 07:19 AM

The initual visual realisation/realisations of a concept.
The first step an idea takes, from the mind into reality.
A place between the infanite to the absolute.


#11 alan4068


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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:26 AM

sketch is a raw fruit :)

#12 alyciaengel


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Posted 01 February 2010 - 04:32 AM

Hmmm...I think of a sketch as putting pencil (or pen) to paper, which is not how I usually work, which is why I have never entered a "sketch" contest on DesignContest.com. It's interesting to think of it in a different way. I guess I am sketching when I am working out initial ideas...even if it is in Illustrator!

#13 cmor


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Posted 14 May 2010 - 07:57 PM

I would say a sketch is your initial ideas that you put down, whatever the medium, that leads to the final product.

#14 Chung Dha

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 10:37 PM

Sketch is a fast version of the design that is in your head can make sketches on or in any media. Doing as many gives yourself best options to choose from. Also it is to test if it can be made or looks good as you had imagined it. But it is always the first step en not the last, also goes through many steps until you get to the final version.

#15 dlhdesigns


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Posted 25 September 2010 - 04:15 PM

I'd consider a sketch to be the initial renderings of what you envision in your head...regardless of medium, although I tend to associate sketching with physical medium, eg. pencil and paper. Probably an old-fashioned way to think of it though, considering that most designers nowadays render their drawings electronically...

#16 BiGLeG


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Posted 05 October 2010 - 08:28 PM

Sketch is the beginning of what you may or may not finish.

#17 soldation2010


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Posted 02 November 2010 - 01:28 AM

BigLeg you pointed very well, haha! Actually, when I do some important graphic projects I start with what I name in my humble opinion "a sketch" : a pen or pencil in hand, a piece of paper and scribble the general idea ... or ideas

#18 Maxson


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Posted 02 November 2010 - 06:57 PM

yeah, and when you sketch a monster you have to be looking at him :D

not physically no, you can imagine it, you don't even need hands for it, you can sketch it in your head. and by that analogy loads of stuff can be tied to it.

e.g. the subject of this thread feels sketchy, uncertain.
"Once you take yourself too seriously the art will suffer."

#19 markiez


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Posted 09 November 2010 - 09:16 AM

for me... a sketch is like a really rough draft of the mood and tone. it's just to see the basic figures and layout of the further productions.

i usually use it as a tool to find out the mood and tone and style of my clients.

#20 trentnoir


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Posted 10 November 2010 - 01:26 AM

Sketch is the beginning of what you may or may not finish. -> LOL
i just can Agree.

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