Some experienced artists have a way of making drawing look so easy. You may have watched tutorials on how to draw certain objects, scenes, or characters online and become frustrated at this. What those artists can do in just a few fluid motions, you are struggling to get right after a solid 15 minutes.
If this sort of thing has come up in your experience, don’t feel discouraged, it is a natural part of learning, and with some guidance and practice, you will be able to express yourself more easily through your sketches and feel like you have more control over the process.
You can get started learning the basics in a beginner’s course on learning to draw. And here are some concepts you might begin to examine to get a start on your learning process :
Learning how to see
According to many art educators, an essential step in becoming a good artist in any medium is looking at the world a little differently. Even if the drawing style you are interested in does not involve realism, you will benefit from honing your ability to do this.
Human minds are configured to make sense of things symbolically. For instance, when we see branches, leaves, and the general arrangement of objects and light that make up a tree, we just think “tree.” And when we do this, it can actually interfere with our ability to see what’s really in front of us. We might gloss over the real details and fill in from our expectations of what a “tree” should look like
So, in learning to draw well, you need to see and record objects as they actually appear, with all of their contours, shapes, and shadows. It may seem simple, but it takes some practice to actually see what is in front of you, in its full detail.
If you were specializing in drawing through a university fine arts program, you would have some art history as part of your course of study. That is for a good reason. Going hand in hand with learning how to see, viewing the work of masters and understanding the components of their pieces can be enlightening and lead to ideas that you can use in approaching your own drawings.
If you think this might be a fruitful approach, you can try an online art history course. You will likely find it useful and have fun while you learn. But even if this kind of course isn’t your cup of tea, think about how you can immerse in the art you are interested in and begin to look at it critically, breaking it down in to its fundamental elements.
If you are planning to draw compositions, you have to understand what makes a good composition. Once again, this might sound obvious, but it is important to make a distinction between drawing objects well and making compositions that work as a whole. In addition to creating the elements, you need to design their layout and plan their color (if you are using color in your work)
If you already have an eye for composition, you may still benefit from learning composition theory and some strategies you can use. This will help you plan your work better and give you more control over the outcome of a piece. You can learn about composition in a basic art creation course that also focuses on drawing skills.
In drawing, there are different techniques you will use to capture different details and to achieve a particular style and tone for your work. Part of growing as an artist is learning a range of techniques so you have them at your disposal and can use them to realize your vision for a particular work.
Adding techniques to your repertoire takes more than just learning about those techniques. It also requires focused practice before you can employ them effectively. Of course, there will be some you will master more thoroughly than others, and there will be ones you use more frequently in your work than others. This will ultimately help to define your specific style as an artist.
Make sure your drawing instruction includes education on a range of techniques, like this online course on drawing with confidence. There are also courses dedicated to specific techniques, such as a course on the Reilly figure drawing technique.
Trying different styles and projects
As you are developing your techniques, you can try them out on a range of different project types. Working in different styles can help you both expand your skills and find your own voice as an artist over time.
You can find guidance to help you undertake plenty of different styles. For example, as a departure from figure drawing, you can take a course in drawing comics from your imagination, and pick up a number of new techniques as you learn it. You might also try a course in drawing caricatures or even a course focusing on drawing through a computer program.
You may already have an idea of the direction you want to go in, but it’s best not to limit yourself as you are just beginning to learn to draw. You will have more fun and get to know yourself better as an artist if you engage in work that is outside of that more narrow focus.
Perhaps most importantly, don’t forget to have fun as you are learning to draw. You are pursuing a creative activity and expressing yourself – a fun thing to be doing. It’s normal to get a little frustrated at times, but make sure you remember this experience is a journey that deserves to be enjoyed.