Style Catalog

Please note: This is not a dictionary, nor a set of tried & true expert classifications of art. In an attempt to refine my own style, I've been putting a keen eye to how other artists draw, and then trying to put aspects of those styles into my own words with the end goal of reconstructing new personal styles from the component approaches to art, sketching, painting, etc. Take from it what you may, and I do welcome more insight or feedback on my amature interpretation of things, but this is mostly a personal collection of observations than anything else. You may browse or filter to find some styles of sketching, painting, and art that I've cataloged by category.


An artistic representation of a person or person type that both simplifies and exaggerates notable features of the subject in a cartoon-type way. This can be done for many reasons, but is common in depictions of famous people, used street art or features prominently in political/editorial cartoons. Usually the subject is recognizable from the depiction but the exaggerated features are meant to make statements or give an opinion that accentuates the personality of the subject.

casual impressionistic figures.

In attempting to categorize various broad collections of depictions of people in urban sketches, I have come across a style of drawing that seeks to bring a casual impressionism to figure drawing. In this form, there is a relaxed approach to strict forms of human shapes, and rather a more realistic "everydayness" of the subjects found in street scenes are implied through loose, scribbly, rough line work. Clothing is often bulky and rough with uneven connections, and imperfections of real people are embraced through simplistic lines and implied shapes, curves, and generalized or implied boundaries. Faces are greatly simplified and often reduced to broad shadows, implied features, or features and accessories that stand out, such as glasses or large jewelry. Hair can be amorphous or implied, and the directionality of arms and legs is almost always more important than the fine details of hand or feet. Positive space and use of simplified colour palettes to highlight or imply shading is also regularly used.

continuous unbroken.
lines & ink

Without lifting the pen, an expressive flow of ink renders the shape of the subject and brings life through overlapping, repeating and intersecting lines. One continuous and unbroken line defines both the edge boundaries of the subject and whatever internal details are supported by the weight of the ink.

There is a broad amount of flexibility in this style, that flexibility extending on at least two axes.

On one axis is the quantity of lines applied, from a few simple twists and curves implying shape, to on the other end of the same axis, many lines tracing across and over and twisting as the pen moves around the page without losing contact.

On the alternate axis is complexity or density of lines, where on one end a single pass over a part of the image defines the edge or entire shape while on the opposite end of that axis many repeating and overlapping lines give a different feel to the image.

Changing the quantity and complexity of lines will obviously change the feel of the composition, adding weight or the feel of motion or a fluidity to the subject.

colours | form & perspective

Falling somewhere related to the graphic abstraction, teetering or loose styles of drawing, expressionistic can be thought of more as an effort to capture the details of the scene in a way that is deliberately distorted from a realistic portrayal as a means to evoke a feeling or message in that distortion. Colours may be altered. Shapes and forms may be skewed, exaggerated, or distended. Proportions may be warped or otherwise altered.

familiar scene.

Drawing or painting a scene of something familiar or personal, such as people or pets in a space or other common relationship to the artist.

graphic abstraction.
form & perspective

Cartoonists often lean on a style that is very abstract, using shapes and forms that are cliche or shorthand to fill in the details of a frame. Consider abstract examples of, say, an apple (a symmetrical orb with a leaf and stem), a bird in the sky (a curved v-shape), or a house (a box with a triangle roof), as extreme versions of this style.

Sketchers can lean on a similar sort of approach as a stylistic choice, defining objects in their sketches by varying degrees of abstracted versions of themselves rather than detailed copies. Trees or other foliage can be overly simplified. Clouds or skies can be reduced to flowing shapes.

Details in the scene can be selectively sketched inside this scene to highlight them as the subject.

The entire scene can be rendered in a graphic abstraction to capture the spirit of the scene rather than the precision.