Pencil sketches are always a delight to see if they are created with passion. Do they make an original statement about something we've never envisioned or seen before? If so, it must be a great sketch!
You can see instantly if the pencil sketch has been drawn by an artist who knows line, value and texture and reveals an effortless approach to drawing. Many of the drawings below show this style and most drawings with a boldly stated line.
Let's start with the Dutch/Flemish painters and their drawings. Below is Rembrandt's "Lioness Devouring a Bird" 1641. This is a quick sketch showing the form with only a line or two. Notice the bold strokes indicating the shape of the lion's form. He was greatly influenced by Caravaggio (who had many admirers in Holland.)
Sketches do not have to be "polished" as if they are for gallery display; have a look at Rembrandt's rough sketches or Picasso or the superb Matisse drawings. Many of these were "studies" for further exploration of the human form.
The sketches below by Rubens show how he captured the essence of the human figure and portrait with economy of line—which does show how you can master any subject with few lines.
A common error with artists is overworking their drawings by adding more and more lines with shading destroying the spontaneity which becomes just "another drawing." Why draw more lines when one will do?
Below are pen and pencil drawings of some of the grand old masters from Da Vinci, Rubens, and Rembrandt etc. It's a good idea to study these and copy them, and then you'll get a "feel" for the drawings they created. I will add many more artists' drawing here...if you would like to make a comment about any works of art, please do so here.
Here is a portrait of Isabella Brandt by Rubens, drawn about 1625. One of Rubens famous paintings is "The Raising of the Cross" a powerful composition painted in 1620—I will be adding it here shortly.
See the incredible drawing of "The Gleaner" by Vincent van Gogh. In this drawing, he used black chalk very effectively to show the lady's form.
Here is a portrait drawing of Pieter Brueghel The Younger by Anthony van Dyck.