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This article examines how Diderot, after some initial reservations, praised the sketch as a process of artistic and intellectual creation that highlights the singular “faire” of the artist or thinker. He joined in an original manner a tradition that accorded an increasing value to the sketch, as much in the art market as on the theoretical level. The freedom of the sketch – sometimes associated with libertinage – consists in an energetic economy of the sign that privileges intensity and expressivity. The aesthetics of incompletion appeals to the public’s imagination. The perfection of the finite is replaced by the materiality of the creative act, the pleasure of indetermination and the dance of the mind.