The Beauty Of Sketches - Atelie

The Beauty Of Sketches

Ivan Galuzin at his studio - Photo: Leikny Havik Skjærseth

In the art world, sketches typically play a more subtle role, often not as prominent as the final, polished artworks. Yet, these initial drawings carry their own importance. Serving as the foundational elements of artistic creation, sketches represent the first expressions of an artist's concept.

Explore sketches from 24 artists on Atelie

The act of drafting a quick, simple sketch, serves as the first tangible manifestation of an artist's vision. It captures the spontaneity of their thoughts and the immediacy of their creative impulses, offering an intimate view into their artistic process. These sketches, often executed with just a pencil or pen, are valued for their rawness and authenticity, providing a direct connection to the artist’s inner workings.

Ane Barstad Solvang in her studio. Photo: Pernille Muster

The Beauty of Imperfection

A sketch, by its very nature, is less refined than a study or a completed work. Its charm lies in its imperfections – the rough lines, the tentative shapes, the visible corrections. These elements tell a story of exploration and evolution, making sketches particularly appealing to those who cherish the journey of artistic creation as much as the destination.

Bente Sætrang testing colors at her studio. Photo: Leikny Havik Skjærseth

Historical and Educational Insights

Historically, sketches have played a vital role in the arts, serving as the foundational step in creating more elaborate works. From the Renaissance onward, the practice of sketching has been categorized by different levels of refinement, from the loose 'Pensiero' (idea sketch) to the more detailed 'Disegno' (drawing), encompassing all preceding stages. This historical perspective adds depth to the appreciation of sketches, highlighting their significance in the artistic tradition.

The motif "Jeanne d'Arc, You Crazy Broad" by Ole Fredrik Hvidsten started as a sketch in his notebook and later evolved into a painting for his solo exhibition Hos Arne. It was eventually transformed into a screen print, on which he added additional drawings. Photo: Christian von Hanno

view Ole Fredrik Hvidsten’s Edition series

Diversity in Expression and Technique

The term 'sketch' encompasses a wide range of expressions and techniques, from two-dimensional drafts to oil sketches like Claude Monet's "La gare Saint-Lazare". The 19th century saw the rise of the oil sketch, particularly among impressionists who valued its suitability for plein air painting. These sketches are characterized by their spontaneity and small size, emphasizing the overall composition rather than detailed execution.

Liv Tandrevold Eriksen at her studio. Photo: Christian von Hanno

In-Depth Look at Artists' Work Processes

Sketches offer invaluable insights into the artists' work processes, revealing how they develop and refine their ideas. They are often the birthplace of innovation, where artists experiment freely without the constraints of creating a 'finished' piece. This glimpse into the artist's methodology is not only fascinating but also educational, providing a roadmap of artistic evolution.

Love Terins at her studio in Oslo, surrounded with paintings and sketches. Photo: Christian von Hanno

View Love’s Edition series or Atelie profile

We believe that sketches are standalone pieces that deserve recognition and admiration. They represent the essence of artistic expression in its most unadulterated form. For collectors, artists, and art lovers, sketches are treasures that encapsulate the spirit of creativity, offering a unique and intimate perspective on the art-making process. In the contemporary art landscape, these sketches stand as a testament to the enduring power and beauty of artistic beginnings.

Sketches from 24 artists

Sketches from 24 artists

Last year we invited 24 artists to share their sketches with us. Many of these contributions from are still available on Atelie, offering a unique perspective into the diverse and often unseen aspects of artistic work. We invite you to explore this collection and gain a deeper appreciation for the role of sketches in the creative process.

Explore the collection of sketches

Artists that have contributed with sketches:

Ole Fredrik Hvidsten, Liv Tandrevold Eriksen, Elin Melberg, Esra Duzen, Victor Guzman, Josephine Lyche, Anders Kjellesvik, Matilda Höög, Simen Langeland, Jan Christensen, Solveig Ane Kirkaune Øksendal, Ane Barstad Solvang, Mari Eriksen, Yola Maria Tsolis, Yngvar Larsen, Sindre Goksøyr, Heidi Marie Wien, Jessica Williams, Lena Trydal, Terje Nicolaisen, Tonje Plur, Marius Martinussen, Bodil Drange Pedersen and Cecilie Lind.


  • How do artists decide when a sketch is complete and ready to evolve into a more refined piece of art?

    Artists often decide a sketch is complete based on the purpose it serves in their creative process, whether it's a preliminary exploration of ideas or a detailed study for a final piece. This decision is subjective and varies widely among artists.

  • Are there any specific techniques or materials that are emerging as popular among contemporary artists for sketching?

    Contemporary artists experiment with various techniques and materials, including digital tools, mixed media, and traditional pencils and charcoals, to create sketches. The choice depends on the artist's style and the effects they aim to achieve.

  • Can the article provide case studies or examples of how sketches have directly influenced the outcome of major artworks or art movements?

    While the article doesn't provide specific case studies, it's known that sketches have influenced major artworks and movements by allowing artists to explore ideas, compositions, and techniques before executing the final work. They serve as an insight into the creative process and have been crucial in the development of art throughout history.

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