Historically, drawing was expected to illustrate and represent. With the advent of photography, drawing gained more freedom. Yet it was still often viewed as "only" the first step towards a painting or a sculpture. Looking back at the volumes of drawings of the Old Masters, these sketches were actually the structural foundations on which their subsequent works were built, as the artists were able to conquer basic challenges through drawings including light, planes, mass, proportions, relationships, and perspective. These sketches have been much admired by the art world ever since for their immediacy, raw beauty and artistic focus.
There are many artists, who continue to choose to use drawings to capture their initial thoughts which may be relied on later as references for more complete works. Some may even annotate their sketches with text to highlight specific colours or nuances for later reminders of the original idea or observation.
At the other end of the spectrum, a drawing can also be a fully developed exploration of a subject. The artist considers the drawing to be a stand-alone, comprehensive narrative completed in graphite, coloured pencil, pastel, conté, charcoal, soot, ink or even watercolour or oil on paper, or mylar or Dura-Lar or even using digital media.
But whether a sketch or developed, there remains a hidden strength in the honest straightforwardness of a drawing. The mark, the careful arrangement of line on page, continues to reveal an artistic expression that is at its core - truth. In the words of Leopold Kowolik, "There is simplicity in drawings. A drawing is art pared down, stripped of jargon, reduced to honesty. A drawing is a record of thought, an unassuming, intimate murmur of an observation. Drawings are art speaking plainly."