What is a freehand drawing? – all Types Explained

what is a freehand drawing

Freehand drawing is a form of drawing that is not dependent on straight edges, mechanical rulers, scale models, or stencils. The drawings are created with just a pencil and paper. The artist will just look at what they want to draw and then create it on paper without any need for tools. A freehand drawing can be created in any size which makes this technique great for quick sketches. A freehand sketch allows you to quickly show your ideas and work through them on the spot.

Types of freehand drawings: gesture drawing, sketching, doodling

Drawings are created by hand, so one could say freehand drawings are done without an instrument’s help. Generally, there are three types of freehand drawings: gesture drawing, sketching, and doodling. Though they can be done with any medium, they all rely on skill to create the image.

Gesture drawing

Gesture drawing is a way for an artist to communicate ideas and feelings through drawing. Gesture drawing does not rely on realistic proportions or shading but instead on the expressive lines that can express the emotion or view of the artist. 

This type of drawing can be done with any pencil, though graphite pencils are generally used because they produce a smooth line.

There are many benefits to gesture drawing. First, it is a great way to loosen up and get started on a piece. It can also help an artist focus on the feeling or idea they are trying to communicate rather than getting caught up in details. 

Gesture drawing can also help train the eye to see shapes and movement, essential for creating realistic graphics.

Gesture drawing is meant to capture the motion of an object or part of the body; animators often use it. Sketching involves creating images using only lines and shapes, while doodling uses no lines.


Sketching is a way of drawing that is quick and rough. Artists use sketching to plan their paintings or to get their ideas down on paper. There are many different ways of sketching, but the most common is with pencils.

Sketching can be very beneficial for artists. It helps them plan out their paintings, and it also teaches them how to draw quickly and accurately. Sketching also helps artists develop their skills, allowing them to experiment with different ideas.


Doodling is a form of freehand drawing that doesn’t require much effort from the artist. It’s usually done when someone is bored or has nothing else to do. 

The way of doodling can be anything from scribbling in a notebook to drawing shapes and patterns. Doodles can also be very simple or complex, depending on how much time the artist spends on them.

Despite its simplicity, doodling has many benefits. 

For one, it helps you stay focused and organized. When you’re doodling, your mind is occupied with the task at hand, which prevents you from getting distracted. 

Doodling also helps you come up with new ideas and solutions to problems. It’s been shown that people who doodle are more creative and productive than those who don’t.

Freehand drawing allows you to explore ideas freely in a natural way to your body. You can draw quickly without thinking about each line or mark you make.

History of a freehand drawing

Freehand drawing often focuses on realism and can be used in a pinch for a quick caricature. Since the Renaissance period in Italy, it has been around when artists would draw quickly from life to capture movement and emotion. In modern times, many people use this technique as a way to relax after work or school. Freehand drawings are also commonly done during meditation or prayer time.