Mid 1970s Sketches of Children at Play
In Chinese art, there is a phrase ‘nine sketches, one completion’, implying that many sketches are undertaken. One can use a pen, coal, crayon, or pencil in a notebook or on paper (Huang, 2000 Yibi Hua). With reference to sketches Huang Yao commented that not all sketches left behind by old artists are good but some artist’s sketches are excellent artwork.
For example, the prices of Xu Beihong’s sketches are quite expensive and are more precious than his actual paintings. This is because his sketches are the original of his paintings, with no preten-sion. In some of his sketches we can see the horse that he drew, he made notes of “front kick”, “back kick” and other finer points. Today, these sketches are printed for young artists, interested in using his sketches to learn his technique. Qi Baishi, who was such a hardworking artist and writer also did many sketches, he had many sketches of the same topic but used different colors (Huang, 2000, 一笔画).
‘You can use a brush made of wolf hair for writing xiao kai, or small Chinese characters and then draw with “tia xian miao” (iron wire lines) on rice paper. If you are satisfied with the results, you have a completed painting’ (Huang, 2000 Yibi Hua).