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Sketch by Albrecht Dürer
Architectural sketch
Sketch of a sprocket made by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
Map sketch in the official atlas of the Principality of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, Gottfried Mascop , 1574

The sketch ( Italian schizzo ) is the attempt to present an idea , also a draft , a concept, a first overview. The term is used in different contexts.

Visual arts

In the fine arts it serves as the basis for a later work, a preliminary drawing that does not have to be detailed or worked out, but contains the impressions that are essential for the artist. Famous sketchbooks such as those by Leonardo da Vinci and Edgar Degas are sometimes viewed as art objects themselves.

In the visual arts, a preliminary drawing or signature is also referred to as a sketch that is drawn on its carrier before painting is carried out and then painted over with one or more layers of paint.


In architecture , it is similar. The architect uses the sketch as a quick reminder and as a simple means of expression, in which it is not a question of accuracy, but the striking representation of an idea. Means of representation are soft pencils , colored pencils or felt-tip pens , fiber pens, ballpoint pens as well as watercolors, chalk and charcoal on rolls of sketch paper, sketchbooks or the famous “Italian napkin”. For some years now, graphics programs such as Sketchup have made it possible to give computer-generated models a sketchy appearance.


In mathematics , the main course of graphs is represented as a sketch. A special feature is the plan sketch in geometry , which provides a rough overview, but does not have to be metrically correct.


In the literature , the term sketch describes:

  1. a first draft, action framework, preliminary version of a literary work.
  2. a not clearly definable term for a short, formally and often stylistically deliberately undeveloped prose text with a wide variety of content.
  3. a short play, mostly comical or satirical, like in cabaret .


In music , sketches can be simple but formally exposed pieces as well as verbally formulated musical thoughts. Many composers have developed their own, more or less formal notation . The French term Esquisse is occasionally used for a musical sketch .

Surveying technology

In surveying technology , the field sketch is used to record the situation in the survey area. For this purpose, the objects of interest as well as additional information, for example the type of marking of border points, are recorded in a sketched, approximately to scale site plan. The field sketch also contains the date and creator of the recording, an indication of the approximate scale and a north arrow. Compasses of various types, tape measure, possibly measuring table with tilting rule or diopter ruler are important aids in addition to general writing and drawing implements. Due to the increasing automation of surveying work, the field sketch is no longer so important today. It is often replaced by computer-aided evaluation in the form of coded recordings with an electronic field book , laser scanning and digital photography .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. preliminary drawing. In: Angela Weyer et al. (Ed.): EwaGlos. European Illustrated Glossary Of Conservation Terms For Wall Paintings And Architectural Surfaces . English Definitions with translations into Bulgarian, Croatian, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Turkish. Michael Imhof, Petersberg 2015, ISBN 978-3-7319-0260-7 , p. 130 , doi : 10.5165 / hawk-hhg / 233 ( download ).


Web links

Wiktionary: Sketch  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Sketches  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikiquote: Sketch  - Quotes