Disclaimer: This question might not be suitable for this site, I am not sure beforehand.

Having seen this sketch on today's Google Doodle, I remembered that I have an innate crush for them - those having little details on facial expressions, and on shapes/body parts yet still expressive enough. They look like rough sketches but I hesitate to classify them as such. I wonder if you have any ideas on the naming of such drawings. What are they called?

Thanks in advance.

Edit: To be more illustrative I am adding the following sketches, which I assume similar to Google Doodle in terms of drawing and details. Let me know If I am wrong about this similarity. First One And the Second

  • 1
    I'd say that's "early 80's pen and ink clip-art"
    – DA01
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 22:52

5 Answers 5


The sketches you've shown above are examples of 'Pen and Ink' drawing. Check out http://www.flickr.com/groups/pen_and_ink_drawings/pool/ for examples.

As e100 said, though, the illustrations used for the Google logo were more based on fashion design sketches.


I am assuming that given they're to celebrate the birthday of "Martha Graham, the US choreographer who helped to pioneer modern dance" that they are influenced by the practice of choreographers.

They might be actually be directly used as dance notation - I don't knwo anything about the subject.

They are somewhat like less stylized fashion design sketches, which I guess have a similar need to capture the key points of body posture.

  • I have updated the question.
    – Özgür
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 18:17

Oh, the good old days! :-D These, I would say, stems from Letraset clip art: enter image description here

(seriously; am I the only one old enough to have worked with this? :-S )


I would say that in both the traditional and modern sense(s) of the word, they are "cartoons"

  • 1
    mickey mouse is cartoon as well, I look for this type especially :)
    – Özgür
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 17:30
  • 1
    the traditional sense of "cartoon" goes way back, and refers to sketches and preparatory work for paintings, stained glass, and even sculpture.
    – horatio
    Commented May 11, 2011 at 18:32

I agree with @horatio's label of Google's art as a cartoon. I think you might be confusing a sprite sheet (going by the name of the file being shown in the URL) as commercial illustration (per your updated example).

A sprite sheet is the digital equivalent of a stack of animation cells. The sprite sheet is imported by the application, in this case the animation on Google, and each of the images is a frame shown by the application in turn. Video games use sprite sheets a lot for handling animation quickly and easily.

Commercial illustration, which I think is what your image is an example of, is an "old school" term for a type of illustration used in graphic design (or at least I don't hear it anymore these days), typically in the style you have in your question. The best example I know of is the venerable Pee-Chee folder:

enter image description here

  • 2
    No, I wasn't confusing sprite sheet with something else. It wasn't the point of my question at all. I was just wondering the technique/type of drawings on that sprite sheet. Thanks for the info though.
    – Özgür
    Commented May 13, 2011 at 7:33

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