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About The Met/ Collection Areas/ Drawings and Prints/ The Materials and Techniques of Drawings and Prints/ How Is a Drawing Made?
A variety of drawing tools, including pens, markers, brushes, and various inks and pigments.

How Is a Drawing Made?

Drawings are two-dimensional works of art made on receptive surfaces such as paper, parchment (prepared animal skin), canvas, or a plastered wall. A diverse array of materials can be used alone or in combination to make drawings. A few media—such as chalks and pure graphite—occur naturally and need only to be mined and shaped to use. Most others require preparation: charcoal sticks come from baked twigs or vines, and modern pencils cores are made from powdered graphite mixed with clay. Multi-hued pastel sticks are formed from ground pigments mixed with white filler and a binder. Metalpoint drawings require a specially-coated surface in order for gold, silver, or copper wires to leave a mark. Finally, liquid media—inks and watercolors—are formulated from natural and manmade materials then usually applied with tools, such as pens and brushes, whose different sizes and materials produce a wide variety of effects.

Learn more about the primary drawing media, and their related techniques, below.

Marjorie Shelley, Department of Paper Conservation

Ashley Dunn and Constance McPhee, Department of Drawings and Prints

Paul Lachenauer and Xue Chen, Imaging