Is sketching a better way of seeing and creating than photography?…

I am sure that, like me, you read so many times that sketching was such a better way to catch a moment and to really see than photography…
And I am sorry but I just can’t stand anymore reading this in all the sketching books and all the Urban Sketchers blogs I visit.  😫

So, pleeeeeaaase stop detracting photography to enhance sketching! It’s just nonsense…
Sketching is amazing enough in itself!! 😀 There is no need to depreciate anything to praise it. 😝 😉




I am a sketcher and a photographer and I have to reveal something to you. 😊  

You, sketchers, think that photography is not interesting because it is not your thing so you don’t use photography in an interesting way.
And the way you use it is fine! But depreciating it like it’s often done is a bit like telling that cooking is not creative while defrosting a frozen dish in the microwave! 😉
Of course, cooking that way is not creative and that’s not even sure that you could call that cooking, lol! 

The same way, if the way you use photography doesn’t seem creative or interesting to you, that’s because you do it “the defrosting way”! 




I am sorry but the reason of this thinking probably is that you may not practice creative photography but just push the button to take pictures… And photography is so much richer than what you may imagine!!

Yes, that’s a real way of seeing, just as sketching is (although in a slight different way)!
Photography is fun but it’s hard work too, exactly like sketching. It’s a whole world of complex vantage points to choose, of framing and refined compositions to make, of catching fragile fleeting moments and of settings and shooting effects to enhance reality! 
(By the way, none of the photos I share with you are digitally falsified. All the effects are natural photographic effects created when shooting)




So, that’s just not possible anymore that so much people think that photography is the lazy art for those who can’t draw or don’t want to work hard to draw!! 




Did you ever shoot a really really good photo? A dreamy one, a pic that helped you to lay new eyes on the world, and to share your surrounding in your own precious way? 

If not or if you only achieved that a really few times, how could you say that this is easy? 😊 😉




I am a skilled photographer and I can’t even say I am capable of creating a really great photo a day or even a week.
Because it’s so difficult, because photography needs a lot of inspiration and a lot of clever ways to handle and to model our surroundings!



So, please, the next time you want to express how much sketching is important for you and is an awesome way of creating, just talk about its incredible richness without comparing it with any other art or practice to depreciate! 😊

And next time you take your camera (or your phone, to take a pic), just stop and wonder : what if I actually missed another fascinating way of seeing and of expressing myself, thinking that photography is just the lazy way to capture something I saw? 

You can’t never have too much art in your life. 🎉 😉 
So, maybe creative photography could be a great addition to your sketching practice? 😃




I wrote this article in reaction to last Liz Steel post, quoting Le Corbusier saying that “The camera is a tool for idlers, who use a machine to do their seeing for them.”. 😔😟

I have been wanting to write this article for a long time, though, as I read so many times that photography is a poor art for the laziest persons, and not so amazing, of course, than sketching. 😬

By the way, it was really fun for me to illustrate this post and I am happy to show you how i “translate” the subjects I love with my sketching skills but with my photographic practice too. I hope you will like all the pics and not only the sketches!!!! 😜




Oh, I realize that this may be a good occasion for me to share with you that one of my book about photography has been translated in English!! I am so happy about that! 😀

That’s my book meant for children but be sure that adults love it too and that, if you realized that you practice photography a bit “the microwave way”, 😅😜 you will discover a lot of things in this fun book to enhance your photographic skills but also your sketches, for sure. 😊 

And if you search for a nice gift idea for your kids or grand-kids, for Christmas… 😉 maybe that’s a idea.
Here is the link for an article I wrote about it. 😊


Happy creating, everyone!! 🎉
Pleasure from any source is always welcome! ☺️😉


14 thoughts on “Is sketching a better way of seeing and creating than photography?…

  1. I concur 110%
    I love the way you have expressed your thoughts here..with your words/sketching/watercolors and photography.
    Your watercolors..that’s how I found you..only to then discver you were also a skilled photographer.

    So much talents..and yes sometimes I have taken a photo and thought..I love this..and even in my very humble paintings..a few things I have thought I like this:)

    You are multi-talented.

  2. Superbes photos!!!!!! je vais apporter ma caméra avec moi à Québec!!! Merci!!!!!

  3. I like this article and agree. Im only a beginner and not an artist like yourself or many. I say each to his/her own method and move on, don’t depict one technique better or worse then another. Many don’t care to be out sketching in the elements or can’t and there are some fabulous photographers & glorious shots. 😉

  4. I use the microwave when I take photographs, and then I take a hammer (photoshop) and try to pound them into being beautiful… sigh. Photography is an art, and in the hands of an artist like you it can be awesome. I’m not sure why some people try to get people to look down on photographers and elevate sketchers as the cool people, human nature maybe? I’m ok, you’re not so hot…

  5. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!

    Someone sketching an old stone church might leave out the power lines and garbage cans and pothole-ridden street on which that stone church is on in order to capture the elegant proportions and materiality of the building. A photographer might take a photo of the same church in order to capture the blight that has taken over a neighborhood that was once pristine and manicured.

    There is nothing inherently “better” about the drawing over the photograph, and nothing inherently “better” about the photograph over the drawing. Both are equally valid mediums, they are simply different methods of expression or of recording a moment.

  6. Well said! I love both photography and sketching. Neither needs to put the other down. I feel that both help me to learn to see, so that my photography feeds my sketching and vice versa.

    Un jour, peut-être, j’arriverai à m’exprimer en français…

  7. I agree. Both are a form to express yourself by seeing the world with a camera or by drawing/ painting. I’ve seen so many fantastic photo’s which could only be taken if this person saw the speciality in this univers around him/her. So let appreciate these arts without negativism.

  8. Thank you Anne-Laure for a spectacular article.
    I enjoy sketching, but don’t necessarily want quick vignettes to be the sole representation of my holiday because lack of time prevents more detailed pen/brush work.
    Joy in both fields.

  9. I read that quote on Liz’s blog as well and because I love photography, I felt a little offended. But, I like the heart of the quote which is that making art (of any kind) does improve your way of seeing the world. I’ve enjoyed photography for years and I’m new to sketching. I still find that my photographer’s eye is framing a picture, or a scene, and my sketching ability is trying to catch up. There’s definitely room for both disciplines in an artist’s repertoire.

  10. Thank you! Good article, we can embrace them both without feeling guilty. Sketching and photography.

  11. Thank you so much for all your kind reactions and contributions to this post! 😀
    I am so happy you like photography and are absolutely open minded. 🙂

    Thanks for your various compliments about my art too. 😉

  12. Thank you so much for this post Anne-Laure! I didn’t realize you also are a wonderful photographer. I also have always loved photography as well as my art and also was annoyed everytime I read similar criticisms of photography as ‘lazy’ art. Thank you for putting my sentiments into words, I agree 100 percent! I share both my art and my photography at Flickr (Az~Kate), both are important to me. I am just starting to put myself out there in both artistic ways. I often paint from my own photos, but I like my photos to be beautiful as well as references. Bless you!

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