Sketch Definition

1. Draft or visual sketch to deepen with greater complexity, in view of a project or idea, worked especially in architecture.

2. Simple technique for representing the locations of an area on a small-scale map. For example, landmarks in a neighborhood or around a school

3. Graph paper format that facilitates certain layout in the design without other resources.

Etymology: by French sketch.

Grammatical category: masculine noun
in syllables: sketch.


A sketch is a representation of a place, in such a way that a specific space is drawn through a series of lines. In general, these types of drawings are intended to offer an approximate image of something, for example a house or an urban space. It should be noted that the sketch is a simplified version of a plan, so it is not about drawing all the details of a space, but rather offering an approximate image.

In Spanish there are a number of terms that serve as synonyms, such as sketch, draft or scheme.

A clarification on its etymological origin

Regarding its etymology, the term comes from French and it is an onomatopoeic word that, in turn, comes from the verb croquer, which means to crunch or eat (croquer derives from croc, a word that expresses the noise that is made when eating, a rapid action whose immediacy is similar to the rapidity in the elaboration of a sketch).

What is a sketch used for?

For certain daily activities this type of graphical representation can be very useful. Thus, if we want to decorate our home again, the sketch allows us to present an initial sketch. On the other hand, traffic accidents must be reproduced on some support and the sketches are essential to know what has happened and thus determine the responsibilities. If a person lives in a remote place, it is very likely that he will have to draw a sketch to be able to indicate access to her home to others. In short, the sketch is an indicative drawing that provides relevant information.

A sketch is not the same as a plan

Although both terms have an obvious similarity, it is convenient not to confuse them. The plan is a detailed drawing and is made to a certain scale. The sketch is much simpler and in it the scale or the accuracy of the information is not relevant. The sketch can be a first step to later make a plan. In this way, it could be said that the sketch is an initial sketch of a possible plane.

Alternatives to the traditional sketch

New technologies are affecting all aspects of life. A few years ago, making a sketch was an everyday and necessary thing to do a road route or to find a specific address in a city. With GPS navigators and other similar technological tools, it is no longer necessary to have a piece of paper with a sketch, as new technologies are much more precise and allow for exact plans.

Photos: iStock – ismagilov / MickeyCZ