Sketch represents the preparatory study of a small-scale model of a work of art (e.g., a painting, sculpture, fresco, monument, or architectural work) before it is finally executed. The sketch is a well-defined preparatory study, but it is distinguished by the use of color; it is in fact executed in tempera or oil on supports such as canvas or cardboard. It can be defined as the finished work but with different dimensions, obviously smaller.
To the preparatory drawing belong also the studies related to the single details (drapery, anatomical parts, facial expressions, etc.) of the final composition, elaborated from living models. In addition to the living model, the artists made use (one of the first was Fra’ Bartolomeo) of wooden mannequins, particularly suitable for studying the positions of the body. Tintoretto, on the other hand, as ancient sources report, created wax or clay models, covered and lit by candlelight to study chiaroscuro effects.
The sketch, therefore, was generally created with the aim of illustrating the characteristics of a product and to give an idea of how the finished product would look. Depending on the type of work that is going to sketch, it takes on different characteristics and can be more or less defined and finished.
Depending on the degree of completion achieved, the design is defined in the treatise with a variety of terminology, and not always unambiguous. It should be borne in mind that the various stages, of which an example is offered here, do not necessarily imply the automatic passage to the next stage, and that each has an autonomous aesthetic value.
Often the finished work, differs greatly from the sketch, in this latter only helps to understand what was the original idea of the artist and in some way the evolution that has suffered. Obviously, being a study, there can be several sketches referring to the same work, even performed with different techniques and different sizes.
Today, in addition to artistic graphics, includes the creation of works of artistic design as an end in itself, even those oriented to design and advertising and therefore the promotion of third party products. Often moreover the graphic realizations, beyond that manually, with the traditional methods, are realized with the aid of technical and computer means. The existing computers and programs allow the creation and realization of innovative works with minimum execution times. Many artists have specialized in this field and have created new trends and new schools.