Creative Ideas To Improve Your Drawing Skills | Jane Snedden Peever | Skillshare

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Creative Ideas To Improve Your Drawing Skills

teacher avatar Jane Snedden Peever, Living the Creative Life

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro to Creative Ideas To Improve Your Drawing Skills


    • 2.

      Get Ready To Play


    • 3.

      Shapes Within Shapes


    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.

      Loose Petals


    • 7.

      Petal Bunches


    • 8.



    • 9.



    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class


Have you been trying to inspire yourself to draw more?  

Have you been looking for fun ways to improve your drawing skills?

Are you trying to spark your creativity? 

This class will give you inspiration in the form of simple, fun and creative exercises you can do anytime, anywhere with just a pen and paper.  I will show you 7 different ideas that will help you improve your skills and get you drawing everyday. Each lesson walks you through an exercise that will help you develop better hand and eye coordination, a steadier line, and will help you explore both positive and negative space and balance in a design.  These exercises are created so you will get different results every time you draw them and you will always be coming up with different designs. They are not only fun but when you are done they make great colouring pages.

Included are 5 worksheets to use while working through the lessons.
NOTE:  There are now 8 worksheets. I have added 3 more at your request.  There is now one worksheet for each exercise, plus the circle framework to work the exercises yourself from scratch.  

What you will need

  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Compass and or Ruler - optional

If you would like to explore more ideas to get you drawing and get that creative spark lite, try out some of my other popular classes on using shapes to create some fun designs

Basic Shapes Beautiful Designs

Creative Drawing With Simple Shapes

Grab your pen and lets get creative! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Jane Snedden Peever

Living the Creative Life

Top Teacher


- Create Some Space For Yourself, And Enjoy Simply Creating Something From Your Heart-


Hi I'm Jane and my favourite ways to relax are crocheting and doodling.

I love exploring creativity through texture, colour and shapes

and sharing this with you through

Simple and Fun Classes.

One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to carve out some space everyday for a little creativity. 

It doesn't have to be elaborate or complicated, just simple and fun and speaks to... See full profile

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1. Intro to Creative Ideas To Improve Your Drawing Skills: Hey everyone, my name is Jane. Today, I'm going to show you some creative and fun exercises to help you improve your drawing skills. One of the questions I get asked the most is, how do you get so much detail in your drawings and how did you learn to do that? In this class, I'm going to share with you a group of simple and fun exercises that I use to keep my drawing skills sharp, and that have helped me develop the hand that I've required to get the detail into my drawings. I'll walk you through seven different exercises that I use to develop hand-eye coordination, steadiness of line, and an understanding of use of white space and balance in your design. Best of all, they're fun to do and you'll found yourself playing with them so much that your drawing will automatically improve from all the practicing that you'll be doing. I provide you with five worksheets to help you along and get the feel for these exercises. They're designed so that they will turn out different every time you do them, so you'll never get bored and when you complete them, they make great coloring pages, double the fun. Ultimately, the best way to improve your drawing skills is to practice and practice lots. These provide you a simple and fun way to get yourself drawing every day, and enjoying the creative and relaxing benefits of creating art. Join me now in hit and roll. We will seen you in class. 2. Get Ready To Play: When I got asked about how I learned to draw the detailed art that I do, the only answer I can really give is practice. Lots and lots of practice. When I first started drawing Mandela's, they were pretty simple and basic with lots of white space on the paper, but over time, I would just start adding in more and more detail as I became more confident with my drawing skills. There are still times where I pick up the pen, and nothing comes, and I feel creatively empty. In those times, I've developed exercises that will keep me going. Simple things that I can pick up and do without having to put any thought into it really, and it lights that fire, it gets the creativity going, and it helps me keep the pen moving on the paper, which is really what keeps you improving. I'm going to share these exercises with you today. I have seven of them that I've set out, and I found these are good go-to exercises for me. They're simple. I can pick them up when I'm talking to someone, or I am watching a TV show because they're just easy to do. They usually lead to something more, and I develop ideas while I'm drawing. Ultimately, creativity doesn't come from sitting and thinking about it. It comes from putting that pen to the page. For this class, all you'll need is a pen and paper and for one exercise, only a pencil and razor. If you want to draw your own circle framework, a compass is handy, but I have provided circle frame printout in the downloads that you can print out and use as many times as you'd like. I recommend using only pen to do these exercises as you're also trying to develop your confidence, and you're trying to kick that judging mind out the door. These are just exercises, not finished designs. Play, make mistakes, use your creativity to make pretty things from your mistakes, and just keep moving and then repeat. The point is to just keep drawing. In the project section, please share your results. Let me known which one of these exercises is your favorite and how it ends up working out for you. Let's get started. 3. Shapes Within Shapes: We'll start with a framework to work within. It makes the exercise easier if we define our space so we don't get overwhelmed with too much white space to fill in. So you could use a square or a rectangle or any shape of your liking. I'll be using a circle so you can use a compass to create one as I have. I've also included a circle frame in the downloads as we'll be using this framework in each of the lessons. So our first activity will be creating shapes within shapes. To setup our space we'll draw lines to intersect the space and cut it into smaller sections. You can use any length and type of wavy or a straight line you'd like. The more curves, the more challenging and interesting the exercise will be. Try to cut the space into a variety of bite-sized shapes. You can start and end the lines anywhere on the outside circle. Once you have the circle divided up, we can start working with the shape areas. So pick an area and we'll start to trace around the inside of each section, leaving a small gap between each new shape and the larger shape we are drawing within. This is also referred to as drawing an inset, which we've done in some of my other creative and simple shape drawing classes. Continue to draw smaller and smaller shapes inside the sections and when one shape will no longer fit, you can divide it into two or more shapes. When we've gone as small as will fit, we move on to the next section. The size of the gap you leave between each of the shapes is up to you, but the goal is to go for consistency of the space between the shapes you're drawing. This exercise is great for improving your hand-eye coordination, your steadiness of line, as well as practicing consistency in your spacing. I've also included a framework for the exercise in the worksheets with the circle already segmented into sections. It's called the shape within shapes worksheet. This may help get you started. The fun of this exercise is to repeat it over and over, breaking your space into different size shapes each time to see what kind of effects you can get. As you do this exercise, your hand will become steadier and you'll have a new understanding for filling in the white space in a design. As with each of these exercises, the final page will make a great coloring page. You're not looking for perfection or speed with this exercise, but an improvement in your consistency of space and steadiness of hand, as well as a keener eyes for balance. 4. Bubbles: Now we're going to try and exercise that involves drawing a lot of circles. Don't worry, they don't have to be perfect circles by any means. We're going to start again with our circular framework. With your pens, start drawing in lots of different sizes of circles spaced around the inside of the framework. Use different sizes to fill up the framework being sure to leave some space around each of the circles you draw. When you get to the edges, you can draw in some half circles to meet the edge of the circular frame. I've also provided a worksheet to get you started on this exercise if you'd prefer. It's called the bubble worksheet in the download section and starts you out with the first set of circles already drawn. Once you have all those circles you want added in, we're going to draw around the outside of each of the circles a couple of times each, just as we drew around the inside of the spaces in the previous lesson. So don't worry if you feel you should have added in more circles, just add them in as you go if you found the left too big of a space somewhere. We're going to keep the space between the outlines as even as possible. When the outline start to intersect, we'll just skip over the parts that are already drawn in. This is going to create the illusion of an overlap effect as though the circles are bubbles on a water surface with ripples emanating out all around them. So skip randomly around the framework as you draw each outlines so that your overlap effect is also random instead of working from one side of the frame to the other. When you draw your outlines around each circle, be sure to make sure that you draw all the way around skipping over the areas that are already drawn in. This process will help you with spatial perception as it makes you aware of where the outline will lie, even if other objects are in the way. This exercise improves your steadiness of hand and your hand-eye coordination. It helps you to develop your perception of the space on the page and how to fill in the white space, keeping balance in your design. In the end again, you're going to have our great coloring page and with repeat practice, you'll see your drawing skills improving. One of the things I enjoy about each of these exercises is how they are never the same twice. So have fun and do them as many times as you please. 5. Blossoms: Starting with our circle framework, this exercise will be fairly similar to the bubbles exercise, but this time we're going to use flowers. You can use your favorite shape of flower, or you can do a variety of flowers. For this demonstration, I'm going to draw a simple 6-8 petaled flower of various sizes. Drawing them loosely and freehand, don't worry how many petals they have. Just keep adding the pedals until you get all the way around. Start drawing in your flowers, make them different sizes, place them randomly around the framework, just as we did with the bubbles in the last exercise. Once we have all these placed, we begin to outline each one. If you feel there's room for more as you go, you can add these flowers in on the fly. As you work the outlines in, they will start to overlap. As we did in the previous lesson, skip over the parts that are already drawn in. Continue to work around the entire areas, skipping around the frame to create a random overlap appearance. This exercise is much the same as the bubbles except that you're working with a more complex shape. Do not try to go for speed in these exercises, they're meant to be done slowly and with care. Start out loosely and work your way towards a more clean style as you practice. We're not worried about perfection, the more you allow yourself to just draw without judgment, the better your drawing will become. By not judging our work as we go, it allows you to work in ways that help to develop your hand coordination. You are not only training your hand, but you're also training your eye, a steady and consistent line is not just the work of your hands, but of a keen eye as well. Both of these will only develop with lots of practices and a loose non-judgmental style. Good thing you have sum fun exercise is to keep your practicing for weeks that come. To keep you interested, switch up your flower design. Variety is the spice of life and keeps you on your toes. When developing your drawing skills, experiment, play, and practice. 6. Loose Petals: This exercise will be just drawing in single loose petal shapes. The goal of this one is to fill up the entire circular frame with curved petals of all different sizes, the curve around each other. Notice while you draw how the petals flow and fill in the white space. This exercise is great for working with movement and balance, you want the petals to be random, but still have a flow and a movement that makes them look like there's an underlying order to the chaos, as though the wind came in and scattered them all about. By working on this exercise, you'll learn how to use a shape to fill in an area of space. I've also done this exercise using a combination of petals and circles, it can be done using any shape and gets more challenging when working with detailed shapes. The simple beauty of using the petal shape is they're the easiest to shape and curve to whatever size the area requires. You'll be developing an eye for balance as you try to fill up the space without any of the petals touching, and you'll also become an expert at drawing petals. 7. Petal Bunches: In this exercise, we're going to use a pencil to start dividing up our space again as we did in the first exercise. This is the only exercise where we start with a pencil. The lines we're drawing to divide the sections are only guides for the exercise and can be erased when we get to the second half of the design exercise. Once the sections are divided, we can once again use our pen. This time, I'm going to feel each divided section with petals flowing in the same direction. I'm going to work randomly around my framework. For each section, try to fill in the entire shape with petals moving in the same direction if possible, but as you move around to each section, change the direction of the bunches to best suit the shape you're working within. This will give you a random toss look to your petal bunches. This exercise helps you understand how to fill in whitespace, keeping design balance in mind. It also introduces you to movement similar to the loose petal exercise, except this works your petals in groups. Use whatever shape and size of petals you need to fill in each section entirely. I love working with the petal shape because they're so easy to make them fit into any space that you need them to. Take your time and have fun with this. All these exercises are great form of meditation. The more you do them, the better you'll get, and because they're different each time you'll continue to learn from them as well as develop a great steady hand from all the drawing practice. Once all your sections are complete, we're going to move on to a second part to the exercise. Just like the bubbles and flowers exercise, we're going to outline the bunches of petals. We're only going to outline each bunch once, but it will give us the look of overlap as well. Work your way around the bunches, choosing where to skip over parts already drawn and what bunches to include together. By outlining groups of petals, it'll help you decide where the flow of your pieces and how to follow an outline around a detailed area when it overlaps other objects. Move randomly around your piece, so it has a toss look to your overlap instead of a layered look from one side to the other. Trust your eye and just keep moving. Disregard the pencil lines you made to divide the section or better yet, erase them all together. This exercise helps you develop an eye for filling in your whitespace with groups of objects. You see how you can divide up your whitespace and tackle it one section at a time, and still end up with a balanced design with nice movement and flow. Once again, you have a great design to color and you have improved your line work simply through the practices of drawing. 8. Shells: This exercise is a bit different than the other ones in that the focus here is to draw the entire pattern with one continuous line. In this exercise, we're going to fill our framework with a show like design, keeping a continuous line throughout the entire design. We start at the edge of the framework and create scallop-like shell shapes, tracing around what we've already drawn, and filling in the entire framework. The challenge here is to keep the continuity of the design without breaking your line and still be able to fill the entire area. I provided a worksheet in the downloads labeled "Show Worksheet." On the worksheet, I've started the design for you to trace and get you going. It'll give you a feel for the shell shapes. This exercise will develop your ability to fill in white space while keeping design balance in mind. You'll be required to maintain balance and continuity while using creativity to get you out of tight spots. As with each of these exercises, I suggest you use pen instead of pencil. Using a pen requires you to keep moving and trust your skills and intuition. Pencil, especially in this case, will just have you stopping and erasing all the time, not to mention judging your work. Just go with it. In this exercise, you may find yourself cornered in some tight spot. Use your creativity and work your way back out of them. This will develop your iris eye for creative solutions and seeing where design is headed before you get there. You'll learn to see problems before you hit them so you can divert and try a different method. Have fun and seen if you can make it to the other side of the framework without having to break your line. 9. Spirals: This exercise is similar to the last one, in that you'll be creating a design to fill your framework with just one continuous line. The spirals are a little more complex than the shell design. Again, I have a worksheet in the download section by the name of spiral worksheet. On this worksheet, I have the first part of the spiral design for you to trace out, and this will help you get the feel for the spiral design and how it fits together. These last two designs require you to think on your feet. You'll become more aware of the space you have and what it will take to fill it in. It's a fun challenge to use your creative skills, to work your design into whatever space you have in front of you. Keep working your way around the framework until you have all the space filled in. These designs never come out the same way twice. Use small spirals and large spirals depending on what the space requires. You can also use the technique of outlining your work, that you've already done to found your way across to a new section of the framework. The shell exercise in this one are just two ideas you can use with a continuous line. These techniques are used in quilting and in order to learn it, quilters are encouraged to get pen and paper and practice it many times to get the feel for it before attempting in on their quilt. This exercise will never be the same twice. It'll help you develop your sense of space and a good eye as the design turns into quite the maze as you go. You'll have to use your artist's eyes to see ahead in order to get the whole frame filled. 10. Final Thoughts: There you have it. Now, you have a group of fun go to exercises that will keep you drawing every day. Share your finished drawings with your friends and family so they can color them. You'll found if you keep putting pen to paper every day, you're drawing will improve, very possibly improved dramatically. These exercises will help you learn to explore new ideas and techniques. So have fun, share your drawings with us in the project section, and keep on creating. Thanks so much for joining me in today's class.