How do beginners start drawing?
With plenty of practice, of course!
Every artist has to start somewhere with their drawing skills, and even the most enviable of experts weren’t creating stunning pieces right from the start. To help you improve, we offer lots of courses on the basics of drawing, from how to get started to how to master 3D drawing and perspective. And we’ve also got plenty of drawing tips to share.
Whether you’re just starting or are working on refining your craft, here are 21 tips for drawing that can help you take your skills to the next level.
1. Practice Observing
You can’t draw what you can’t see. Take the time to really study your subjects before putting pen or pencil to paper, and consider working off of photographs so you can practice translating what you see onto the page.
2. Don’t Aim for Perfection
One of our best tips on how to get better at drawing is to let go of the idea of perfection. Work on establishing comfort with shapes, lines, and shading first, and from there you can begin honing the details.
3. Take Time to Doodle
Doodling is a fantastic way to kickstart your creativity. It’s especially useful in terms of figure drawing tips, since over time you’ll refine your ability to evaluate proportions and how different elements work in conjunction with another—even if they’re not looking very true to form yet.
4. Start With Stick Figures
Another of the best figure drawing tips is to master the stick figure before attempting realism. This is based on the same principles that make doodling an effective place to start, but is specifically driven toward improving your ability to capture the human form.
5. Play Around With Light and Dark
Light and shadow are two of the most important elements in drawing. Further your understanding of how these two features interplay with each other in a drawing by studying up on the shading process and getting creative with how you utilize light and dark in your work.
6. Vary Your Line Quality
Line quality—i.e. how thick or thin the lines are in your drawing—plays a big role in the overall effect you achieve. Experiment with both width and the softness or severity of line edges, with the understanding that a well composed piece will often have a lot of line quality variations.
7. Choose the Right Medium
One of the most important drawing tips that we can give is to figure out which medium will be ideal for what you want to achieve. Pencil, ink, charcoal, and digital devices all have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the medium that’s right for one drawing might not be right for another.
8. Keep a Sketchbook
It’s a great idea to start and maintain a daily sketchbook, especially if you’re at the early stages of learning to draw. Just like budding writers should be writing every day and singers should be singing every day, drawing every day will help you develop your skills and grow your confidence. It will also help you see your improvements in real time.
9. Draw With Your Eyes Closed
Here’s one of those tips for drawing that might seem counterintuitive but actually has some real benefits. Your finished product will be far from “perfect” (which we know isn’t the goal anyway), but this challenge will exercise your mind and help you draw more freely.
10. Position Your Hand Correctly
How you position your hand matters. Grip closer to the tip of your pen or pencil for heavier strokes and more precision, and further from the tip for lighter, less defined lines.
11. Warm Up
Speaking of hands, they may require a bit of warming up before they’re ready for complex work. Stretch your fingers, swivel your wrists, and start with some basic sketches before delving into your art.
12. Use Perspective
No tips on how to improve drawing skills would be complete without mentioning perspective. Perspective refers to the angle from which you’re drawing from, as well as how various elements in your piece relate to each other. And in both cases, it’s key to adding space and depth to your art.
13. Draw in a Continuous Line
Not sure where to even start with a piece? Take a stab at continuous line drawing, a technique that serves as an excellent way to explore lines and shapes while improving your hand-eye coordination.
14. Mix Up Your Subjects
Every artist has their preferences in terms of what they like to draw, but mixing it up can be one of the most helpful tips on how to start drawing better. If you normally draw faces, try your hand at animals or landscapes. Used to sketching still objects? Try out water or motion. You’ll not only gain new skills, you’re almost guaranteed to learn some things you can carry over.
15. Get Inspired
Use a random drawing idea generator (or make your own!) to boost your creativity and explore new techniques and ideas. Then come up with alternate ways to draw each prompt, varying up the pattern and medium to see what you can come up with.
16. Understand the Fundamentals
What are the five basic skills of drawing? What role does dimension play? The more you can understand fundamentals like these, the more you’ll understand the why behind tips on how to get better at drawing, instead of just the how.
17. Take on a Challenge
Test your limits with a challenge, such as the 14-day fearless art jumpstart. You’ll get a prompt each day, plus an added incentive to make drawing part of your daily routine.
18. Learn Hatching
Hatching is an ink drawing technique that can get you more familiar with lines, textures, effects, and working with mixed media. It’ll also give you a lot of general practice with pen work, with tips on how to improve drawing skills with pen that you can build on with other tools.
19. Change Your Perspective
Find new ways of looking at things and you might just discover new ways of drawing them, too. Changing your perspective is key to developing your artistic eye and can provide you with a new challenge whenever you’re looking for one.
20. Bring in Color
Feeling stuck or uninspired? Go back in your sketchbook and add color to existing drawings. Use paints, pencils, markers, or oil pastels, and look for ways to revisit and refine your old work—you never know what you might discover along the way.
21. Find Your Voice
You may emulate other artists, but who you are as a drawer is completely personal and unique. Overcome negative self talk and start to explore your strengths so that you can appreciate your skills instead of judging them. From there, you can never go wrong.