The Art of Sketching

The humble sketch is rarely showcased as an art-form in itself. Using inexpensive tools and materials  —  and without the help of photographs or the leisure to rework a scene in the studio — the plein-air sketch is direct, spontaneous, immediate, and definitive.

Sketching in public sometimes turns into performance art, too. Like early drafts of a poem or out-takes from a recording session, sketches reveal the creative process.

Artists often use sketches to explore ideas for a painting or other finished piece. Even with no other purpose in mind, the practice of sketching contributes to an artist’s store of visual memories. It also hones observational skills and dexterity with pencil or brush. And then there is simply the delight of making marks on paper. Most children know this joy as part of spontaneous play; any adult can recover it, too. Like meditation, sketching invites us to slow down and become aware of the excellence of the present moment. It is a practice, moreover, that is accessible to artists and aspiring artists of any age or stage of life.

This site presents some of my work of this kind over many years — pages from sketchbooks, scraps of paper memorializing a scene or moment, illustrated postcards and illuminated journal entries.

Click on the links at left to view a few of my sketches (“Portfolio”) and for more information on the show. Comments are welcome!

Gregory Robison


The photographs at right of me sketching were taken, from top to bottom, on Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland; the corner of Patrick and Market Streets in Frederick, Maryland; and looking out on Frenchman Bay, Bar Harbor, Maine.

GFR-drawing-on-Sugarloaf-Mtn,-MDGreg drawing Cit Natl Bk Frederick 2 Spet 2013 GFR-drawing-Frenchmans-Bay,-ME-2015-09-06