Start Drawing: 5 Exercises to Overcome Creative Blocks | Beatriz Barrett | Skillshare

Start Drawing: 5 Exercises to Overcome Creative Blocks

Beatriz Barrett, Marketing Specialist and Illustrator

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9 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Overcoming the fear of failure

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Tools and Supplies

    • 4. Warm Up: No Erasers Allowed

    • 5. Blind Drawing

    • 6. Routine

    • 7. Essence

    • 8. Experimenting

    • 9. Final Thoughts

122 students are watching this class

About This Class

Drawing can be a skill you already possess or are just starting to pursue. Either way, sometimes looking at a blank page can cause anxiety, and we tend to put too much pressure on ourselves. This, in turn, can stop us from practicing and honing our skills.

This class will give you some exercises that will help you overcome these moments of doubt, by experimenting and letting go of expectations. You can use them again and again, whenever you have a creative block or are just having a hard time starting a new drawing.

No prior skills are needed, and anyone who wants to make their drawing practice more enjoyable can try these! All you need is some paper, pencils, pens, and in one of the exercises, you are free to choose whatever media you want to or have available.

So join me to learn these exercises step by step, and don’t forget to share them with our class!


1. Overcoming the fear of failure: Hi, my name is Bia Barrett. I'm a marketing specialist and an illustrator in my spare time. I've always drawn ever since I was a little kid. But it doesn't matter if you're an accomplished artist, if you're hobbyist, or if you're just starting out. We all have moments when we tap our own capacity, where our own fear of failure stops us from practicing. In this class, we'll be going over five different exercises that will help you overcome that fear and work through creative blocks. These exercises require no prior skills, so if you're just starting out, you can do them. If you're accomplished artist, you can do them. If you're just a hobbyist, you can do them. They'll all be using observational skills. Most of the exercises only require pen and paper, so you can follow along easily. For the last two exercises still, we will need other art materials and that can be colored pencils, markers, paints, whatever you have or whatever you you. Join me in this class and let's get over those creative blocks. 2. Class Project: To take full advantage of this class, make sure you submit a class project. We'll be going over five different exercises so you can post whichever you like the most. It's a great way to get some feedback from your peers and also to have some accountability. As if you're taking this class, you're probably having a hard time either starting or keeping a drawing practice. Try to scan your images if you can. Or if photos aren't the only option, make sure they're well-lit. Remember, if you're accessing Skillshare from your phone, you won't be able to upload the images. You must access from the desktop and then submit your photos. 3. Tools and Supplies: All right. So let's go over the tools you'll need for this class. As I said before, most of the exercises only require pen and paper. You can use any pen you like. I'm using a [inaudible] so you can see better in the video. We can also use a normal ballpoint pen. For some exercises, you can also use pencil, a mechanical pencil, eraser. For the last two exercises, we will need a little bit more material. For class four, it'll be ideal if you have paints, either watercolors or guache. If you don't have any of those options, you can still use colored markers. If you are using guaches or watercolors, you will need paintbrushes, two recipients of water: one for the clear water, one for the dirty water; a pallet to mix your paints and [inaudible] rag, where you can clean your paintbrushes. For the last exercise, you can use whatever media you like. So colored pencils, different markers, paint, whatever you want. 4. Warm Up: No Erasers Allowed: Back in 2017, I went through a really difficult period where I would judge myself too harshly for every line I put down. I will erase everything and that would get me nowhere. So to combat that, I started making drawings directly with pen or even colored pencils because then I wouldn't be able to erase them. I had to finish each drawing before moving on to the next one and that really helped me practice. So this first exercise will be a warm up. You only need a pen and paper. You can get objects from your house or use photos from the additional classes material as reference. Try to time yourself five minutes, three minutes, or two minutes drawings. Makes sure your lines are confident. A very common beginner mistake is that you do a lot of little lines, what we call sometimes very lines or blurry lines, instead of a continuous stroke. Try to use your arm, or even your wrists as a way to make more confident lines. You can repeat this warm up, every time before starting a new drawing. It will help you gain more confidence. 5. Blind Drawing: If you think you can't draw, or aren't confident in your observational skills, then blend drawing is a great exercise. First, grab a pen and paper, just like last time. Then, try to find a simple household object, that has a clear shape, and not too many details. Things like mugs, lamps, vases, even different teapots and stuff like that works great. Now, look directly at the object, and put your pen to paper. You cannot look down at the paper while you're drawing the line. When you finish a line, and try to make it a good one, continuous one, then you can look down at the paper to place your pen at the next position. Keep doing that. Draw looking at the object, and do not look down on the paper. Once you're done with the household object, you can pick another image from our additional images in the gallery or you can also try to find a mirror and draw your own face, or draw a face from a photo, again, without looking at the paper. Look only at your reflection, or your reference picture. Another fun thing to do is flying-figure drawing. If you don't have photos, I recommend you use [inaudible] Cafe, they have a wide selection, and it's always very interesting to see the different poses. Flying-drawing is great because you usually don't expect a good results because you're not looking at the paper. But the final drawings may surprise you. 6. Routine: Often when we're being too critical with ourselves, is because we're not happy or satisfied with the rate of our progress. There are some exercises where you can really see your progress, such as drawing a picture you already drew a couple of months or even years ago to seeing how much you've changed. However, you can also make this process quicker. The next exercise is aimed at showing your progress in a quicker and more tangible way. Commit to drawing the same thing every day for these two week. It can be an object or if you already know how to draw, challenge yourself with a landscape or portrait. After each drawing, reflect on how hard was it. Is there anything in the references becoming easier or is there anything we have a particular difficulty? At the end of the week, see drawing side-by-side. Maybe the last one isn't the one you like the most. That's okay, progress isn't always linear, but you will be able to see differences and hopefully some progress even if you're using the same reference picture in such a short amount of time. Remember, any improvement requires repetition. 7. Essence: This exercise is going to be a little bit different. I'm going to give you some instructions and then I'll tell you when to pause the video. You can only come back and press play once you're done with the first instructions. For this exercise, you will need some type of paint, if you don't have it, use colorful markers. The second thing you need is a still-life reference photo. You can grab one in the additional class materials, or you can make your own or even look for one in Unsplash or Pexels. Now, set a timer. You have one hour to draw that picture. Now pause the video and I'll get back to you when you're done. Hey, welcome back. Now that you've drawn the picture, take away the reference photo, put away the picture, get a new piece of paper, and do the same picture now from memory in 30 minutes. Set a timer, 30 minutes, go. Come back when you're done. All right, so you're back. By now I think you've learned the rules to this game. Grab another piece of paper, put away your second painting, put a timer for 15 minutes this time, and get on to painting. Come back after you're done. All right, we're almost there. This is the last painting. Get another piece of paper, put away any painting reference that you have. Set a timer for one minute and go. I'll see you in a minute. So now you've gone through the process of drawing the same image in one hour, 30 minutes, 15 minutes, and one minute. You can put them side-by-side and think about how each one changed. What usually happens is that you simplify, you strip down the painting to its most essential elements. So maybe that pineapple doesn't look like the pineapple from the photo, but you can tell that it's a pineapple, or at least, I hope so. This is a very fun exercise that will also help you think about how to simplify your drawings or how to get an idea to paper quicker. 8. Experimenting: When you start making art, it's very likely that you have a medium you're most comfortable with. But that also means when you're using that medium, you're usually more harsh on yourself. You expect more, right? I use graphite for most of my drawings, but then I hit a wall. However, I realized I wasn't as harder on myself when I was using different mediums such as water colors. For this next exercise, I want you to challenge yourself, experiment with different mediums. Draw the same picture or the same reference three times with three different mediums. One of them can be one that you're likely comfortable with, but the other two have to be new. At the end of the process, you will have experienced different materials, the way they behave, and maybe you'll even find a new media that you'll like more. For the first painting, I chose to work with watercolors. Today, it's the medium that I'm most comfortable with. I really like the fact that it dries really fast so I can finish a painting in about an hour or an hour and half. Even though at the start of the video I said graphite was my main medium, that was back in 2017. I actually hadn't done a graphite drawing in the past year. So I took this as an opportunity to get back, and it was really hard. Watercolors are quick and easy. But if I want to render a drawing with graphite, it takes time. It's a lot more work. I didn't really like the result though. Here, I tried something completely new for me, colored pencils. I tried using them as if they were paint getting a lot of different colors to achieve the result I wanted, and I really liked it in the end. It gave it a really saturated look that I don't usually have even when using water colors. 9. Final Thoughts: Thank you for joining the Skillshare class. I hope you enjoyed the exercises, and we're able to overcome your creative blocks. Don't forget to upload your drawings onto the Class Project, and if you'd like you can tag me on Instagram @biabarret. I look forward to looking for at your works and giving you feedback.