Have you ever started a new skill and found yourself feeling frustrated quickly because you’re not immediately seeing progress? Of course you have. You’re only human! It’s hard to be a beginner at anything—and cultivating rookie art skills can feel especially discouraging, since the results of your efforts are literally right there in front of you. If you don’t like what you see, you might not feel especially inspired to stay with it. But you’ve gotta know that practice makes perfect with any new activity, and drawing is no exception. Learning how to draw takes time and patience. Maybe all you need to develop those basic drawing skills and flourish as a beginner artist is a few simple drawing ideas for beginners to help keep you in the game.

Read on for drawing ideas for beginners that will ensure you stay motivated and inspired as you’re gaining confidence with basic drawing techniques. 

1. Landscapes

night sky
Pencil artist Jasmina Susak shows how dramatic landscape drawings can be.

A landscape drawing is any drawing in which the main focus is scenery—but the type of scenery is entirely up to the artist! Need some landscape drawing ideas for beginners? Consider drawing mountains, a forest, a beach, a desert, a valley… the possibilities are (quite literally) as big as the world. 

Landscapes are great drawing ideas for beginners because they offer opportunities to practice shading, texture, perspective, and detail. They also give you the chance to pay tribute to a place that’s special to you. 

2. Fruit

apple drawing
Houshang Falahrezaei demonstrates how to start drawing fruit still lives with an apple.

There’s a reason you’ve seen lots of works of art featuring bowls of fruit. Artists enjoy working with fruit as a subject, and there’s no reason you can’t borrow this inspiration for your own beginner drawings. Arrange your favorite fruit in a bowl, grab your drawing pencils, and get to work, because creating a still life like this is fantastic for your ongoing artistic education. 

In this class—which is all about drawing fruit step-by-step—art teacher Houshang Falahrezaei explains that fruits all have interesting shapes, which is why they’re so perfect for figure drawing practice. As you begin to understand how to capture each individual fruit, you’ll find yourself developing pencil drawing techniques that will serve you when you’re drawing all kinds of subjects. 

3. Butterfly 

butterfly drawing
Start with a line drawing of a butterfly, then add color if you feel inspired. 

Drawing a butterfly will offer you a chance to play with details. After all, the pattern on a butterfly’s wings can be as intricate as you’d like! You can keep your butterfly simple when you’re starting out and add extra flair as you begin to feel more confident in your drawing. 

Plus, you can have a lot of fun testing out colors on a butterfly’s wings. You might even find yourself feeling inspired to mix different art mediums to achieve the perfect final product. Let those beautiful wings fly. 

4. Tree

tree sketch drawing ideas for beginners
As you can see, the various component elements of a tree give you many opportunities for drawing practice. 

You’ve already learned about the value of practicing drawing landscapes for new artists, but you might also consider honing in on a single tree that would appear as part of such a landscape. 

Drawing trees with or without leaves will help you work on form and structure so that your future work is stronger and more realistic. 

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5. Flowers 

drawing ideas for beginners
This student work by Jeanette Jackson shows how to make your drawings bloom.

Any burgeoning artist in search of easy sketch ideas should look no further than flowers, especially because there are so many different ways to approach them. You can draw individual flowers (which offer so much variety!), a bouquet, or even a collection of flowers in a vase. Maybe you’ll start with one bloom at a time and go from there. Pick your favorite flower and put pencil to paper. 

The cool thing about drawing flowers is that it allows you to make plenty of mistakes! You can easily incorporate smudges and other basic beginners errors into a drawing of pretty much any type of flower. This takes some pressure off and should make you feel that much more inspired. 

6. Chair 

chair drawing ideas for beginners
A simple chair teaches all kinds of important drawing skills.

Drawing a chair might not sound particularly exciting, but it will help you practice some useful drawing fundamentals. A simple chair requires you to refine basic geometric skills, along with shading and perspective.

Ready to go to the next level? Uplevel from a basic piece of furniture to something a little more ornamental and throw in as many details and flourishes as you’d like. 

7. Coffee Mug 

coffee cup drawing ideas for beginners
Learn perspective drawing with a simple coffee mug.

Many people need a cup of coffee to start the day… and you might just need practice drawing a coffee mug to really start your journey as an artist. Drawing a mug full of coffee requires you to work on shapes, shading, perspective, and texture, since you’ll need to capture the mug, the handle, and the coffee inside. 

Once you feel comfortable with drawing these basic elements of a coffee mug, you can toss in some more details so your drawing looks like the best-loved mug in your kitchen cabinet. Add logos, patterns, and other funky design touches. 

8. Bird 

owl drawing ideas for beginners
Learn to draw an owl and diversify your bird drawings from there.

There are so many different types of birds to draw. Why not try them all? 

Practicing drawings of various birds will give you a crash course in drawing anatomical features that will serve you as you experiment with other animals (and even humans) in the future. Make your bird drawings even more interesting and instructive by drawing your birds in flight or perched in a tree. 

9. Pumpkin 

pumpkin drawing ideas for beginners
Have you ever seen a prettier pumpkin? 

If you’re working on your basic drawing skills around the fall season, there might not be anything better for your basic drawing techniques than a pumpkin.

A pumpkin is composed of simple shapes, but getting them right can take some time and patience. Once you add colored pencils into the mix, things get even more interesting—but you can make a simple look incredibly beautiful. Plus, you can turn the pumpkins you draw into jack o’ lanterns or add them to fall stationery and decorations.  

10. Eyes

eyes drawing
Arleesha Yetzer demonstrates how to draw each part of the eye. 

Portrait drawing is a whole world of art unto itself, but in order to break into it, you’ll need to practice the individual elements of the face. Eyes can be a really fun place to start. 

Drawing a realistic eye forces you to pay attention to the details of the pupil, the iris, the lid, and the lashes. In order to bring all of these elements together—and to make them look good—you’ll need to fine-tune your shading and detail skills. 

11. Feather

feather drawing
You can add so much dimension to a simple drawing of a feather like this one. 

Feathers make a fun addition to all kinds of crafts. Some people like to toss them into their interior design and outfits. So why shouldn’t they make for ideal artistic inspiration too? Drawings of feathers are beautiful, and it’s easy to make your own. 

Like butterfly wings, feathers provide a blank canvas for all kinds of details and special touches. Your drawings can get more intricate as you go. 

12. Bookshelf

bookshelf drawing ideas for beginners
A bookshelf, like this sketch by student Kristen Hess, lets you draw all kinds of additional items, too. 

To achieve a realistic rendering of a bookshelf, you’ll need to draw both the shelf and the books (and other items) on it. Working on these multiple elements will give you an opportunity to practice a wide range of drawing techniques. 

You can arrange the books on the bookshelf in various ways to create additional visual interest and add character to your drawing. Books can be stacked or sloppy depending on the skills you’re focusing on. 

13. Cupcake

cupcake  drawing ideas for beginners
These look good enough to eat and make for tasty drawing ideas for beginners

Cupcakes are fun to eat, fun to look at, and fun to draw. Just as bakers can decorate real cupcakes in many different ways, as a fledgling artist, you can add any design touches you’d like to create the cupcake of your dreams on paper. 

When you draw a cupcake, you’ll have a chance to work on detail, composition, shading, and even color. Yum! 

14. Pair of Glasses

glasses sketch drawing ideas for beginners
Work on shading and contour with these eyeglasses.

Drawing a pair of glasses might not sound especially thrilling, but it’s just another chance to work on a still life! That’s right—a still life is simply a drawing of any item that’s sitting or standing… still. 

Eyeglasses make a straightforward subject for a still life drawing and they’re perfect for working on your shading and contour. 

15. Lamp

lamp drawings
A lamp—like these options from student Anna-Lena Gustafson—can take any shape you’d like!

The interesting thing about drawing a lamp is that you have to draw the shape of the lamp itself, but also the shape of the light that it creates around it. It’s not as simple as you might guess! 

Draw lamps of different shapes and sizes and positioned in different ways, throwing off different kinds of light. This exercise will help you gain confidence any time you’re working with light and shadow, no matter what your subject is. 

Get Started With These Easy Sketch Ideas!

Now that you have this list of basic drawing ideas for beginners, you’re out of excuses not to practice your pencil drawing techniques. These basic drawing inspirations—along with a pencil and paper—are all that’s standing between you and a major boost in artistic confidence.

Get Inspired to Draw! 

Start Drawing: 3 Fun, Freeing Exercises to Spark Your Creativity 

Written by:

Alli Hoff Kosik