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Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Instruments used include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, various kinds of erasers, markers, styluses, various metals (such as silverpoint) and electronic drawing. An artist who practices or works in technical drawing may be called a drafter or draftsman or draughtsman.
A small amount of material is released onto a surface, leaving a visible mark. The most common support for drawing is paper, although other materials, such as cardboard, plastic, leather, canvas, and board, may be used. Temporary drawings may be made on a blackboard or whiteboard or indeed almost anything. The medium has been a popular and fundamental means of public expression throughout human history. It is one of the simplest and most efficient means of communicating visual ideas. The wide availability of drawing instruments makes drawing one of the most common artistic activities.
Drawing is often exploratory, with considerable emphasis on observation, problem-solving and composition. Drawing is also regularly used in preparation for a painting, further obfuscating their distinction. Drawings created for these purposes are called studies.
There are several categories of drawing, including figure drawing, cartooning, doodling and shading. There are also many drawing methods, such as line drawing, stippling, shading, the surrealist method of entopic graphomania (in which dots are made at the sites of impurities in a blank sheet of paper, and lines are then made between the dots), and tracing (drawing on a translucent paper, such as tracing paper, around the outline of preexisting shapes that show through the paper).
A quick, unrefined drawing may be called a sketch.
In fields outside art, technical drawings or plans of buildings, machinery, circuitry and other things are often called "drawings" even when they have been transferred to another medium by printing.