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With the range of drawing media available, artists can produce a wide variety of multicolored and monochromatic art drawings in a number of styles and categories including figure, portrait, and nature. If you enjoy drawing and would like to own original works to inspire you, or if you’re an art lover who’d like to feature one or a collection of drawings in a room, we’re confident that you’ll find works you love within our vast selection of original fine art drawings for sale from around the world. Browse original drawings by style, subject, and medium now, or get personalized one-on-one help by taking advantage of our Art Advisory service.
Dating back at least 40,000 years, humans have created drawings as both a form of artistic expression and communication. Before the invention of writing, people used pictography--a system of communication using a series of drawn icons resembling actual physical objects. They also created artwork of people, animals, and patterns by drawing or etching on rock--the oldest example to date of such artwork has been found in Gibraltar and is thought to have been created by Neanderthals. In the 14th century, drawing became a popular activity after paper became a widely available material. It was regularly practiced at that time by painters and sculptors to create preliminary studies for their works, illustrators of science and nature texts, and by both architects and engineers creating technical drafts. Today, drawing remains one of the most popular artistic disciplines among both professional and amateur artists alike.
Artists may choose between dry media (e.g. graphite, pastels, charcoal, conte, metalpoint) or wet (pen, ink, marker) to create their drawings. Watercolor pencils, however, can be used both dry (like normal pencils) and wet (like watercolor paint), depending on the artists’ preferences and desired effects. The type of paper chosen will also affect both the appearance and longevity of a drawing. Highly textured papers can help to “grip” softer drawing media such as charcoal, while smooth paper (such as Bristol paper) allows for fine lines and precise detail in graphite pencil drawings. Artists also typically choose acid-free paper to create their works, as basic wood pulp paper will degenerate and discolor far more quickly over time. Actual drawing techniques vary greatly depending on the specific media used as well as the artist’s preferred style.
Well-known pencil drawings by famous artists include the “Portrait of Mme Guillaume Guillon” by Jean-Auguste Ingres, “Trees and a Stretch of Water on the Stour” (1832-1836) by John Constable (who also used a sepia wash in this expressionistic work), a sketched portrait of “Alice Meynell” (1894) by John Singer Sargent, “Drawing Hands” (1948) by Maurits Cornelis Escher. Famous drawings in pen and ink include “The Vitruvian Man” (1490) and “Five Grotesque Heads” (1494) by Leonardo da Vinci, “Rhinoceros” (1515) by Albrecht Dürer, “Pastoral Landscape” (1644) by Claude Lorrain, and “Don Quixote” (1955) by Pablo Picasso. Other master artists who frequently created drawings include Raphael, Peter Paul Rubens, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Rembrandt, Francisco Goya, Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, and Henri Matisse.