You do not need to be doodling like Leonardo Da Vinci from the moment you pick up a pencil. Just start by finding something easy to draw! Learning to draw takes dedication but is something we all can learn.
Developing Your Drawing Skills
It might seem like drawing is an artistic talent that is beyond your reach. Perhaps the best you have ever managed are stick figures and smiley faces. But have no fear! If you learn some basics, and practice your new techniques, you might surprise yourself. You, too, can learn to draw with confidence.
Soon you will discover how drawing is just learning how to transfer what your eyes see onto the page in front of you. You begin with shapes. If you can draw a circle, a triangle, or a line then you already have the basic skills needed. These smaller elements – that is, the basic geometric shapes – come together and form a larger cohesive whole. The more you practice your new techniques, the more you will see that your hand reliably reproduces what your eye sees.
Look at an object in front of you right now – say, your keyboard. Look at how it is composed of one general shape (rectangle), smaller shapes (squares for the keys), and their relationship (lines and proportion.)
Once you have developed your skills, you will also be able to draw images and characters from your own imagination. But starting with reproducing what you see develops your skills, so start with finding something easy to draw.
Choosing Art Supplies
Of course, before you can practice or produce a masterpiece, you need something to draw with! Try experimenting with different art supplies and materials to find what you like the best. Maybe you prefer pencil, or maybe you prefer pen and ink.
Pencil, of course, with its ability to erase is more forgiving and a better medium for a beginner. Go to a local art supply store and see what they have for sale. Test out different pencils and papers to see what you like. It could be as simple as you like the feel of it in your hand. Do not feel you have to buy every item in the store – start with some pencils and paper and let the hobby grow from there. Once you have developed your skills you can invest in bigger and better tools, like an easel.
Beginning the Process
Drawing is easiest if you observe and then sketch what you see. Learning to draw will feel frustrating at first as you fumble with your pencil. Getting what you see onto the page in a realistic way is not easy! Never try to learn to draw from memory. You want an object to draw, something to look at, so you can copy down its lines and shapes onto the page.
One of the secrets to drawing is that you can draw an object or subject that is in front of you, like a vase. Or you can draw by copying a clear photograph of the same thing! Some people who do not feel comfortable even sketching their own little cartoon characters can learn to reproduce photo-realistic images by copying from photos. And of course, the reverse is true, too – some people can imagine and draw their own basic figures but no one would ever mistake it for a photo.
The first thing you’ve got to do is pick up your pencil and put it to paper. Your first efforts will doubtless be slightly off – perhaps out of proportion or lopsided – but everyone starts somewhere. You can only get better with practice!
Choosing a Drawing Subject
The big question, however, is what should you draw? You might want to pick on subject and study it over and over again. Or you might try lots of different objects or people in order to perfect your skills. It depends on your personality. Perhaps you are the type of person who likes to dig in and revisit one subject until it is perfect. Or perhaps you are easily bored by repetition and always seek new challenges.
The obvious place to keep the interest of all artists is to draw something you love. That way you will be eager to render the same subject over and over! You could have a beloved vase that your grandmother left you. Drawing that same object each time is a wonderful way to judge and track your progress as an artist. That first sketch can be compared to the one you made months later with much more skill. Your first attempt at drawing the vase may not have looked like much, but your most recent endeavor is quite impressive.
You can also choose to practice the repeated skill of sketching the human figure. Drawing from life is not an easy task but it is teachable. There are specific proportions and techniques for drawing people. You can learn to draw the human figure in just ten hours. You can learn to sketch human figures quickly, or take your time with a long study of the subject. A croquis, from the French word for “sketch,” is a quick drawing of a human subject done in a short time span. (For instance, the drawing is done with a limit of five minutes.) The benefit to the model is that a pose does not have to be held so long that it gets uncomfortable! But the benefit to the artist is learning to focus on the essentials of a pose in order to capture the figure. Longer studies allow you to fill in the blanks that a croquis does not and focus on details.
Drawing something easy could be a question of style. If you focus on the more cartoonish side of thingsyou may find yourself cranking out drawings at a swift pace. Drawing Cartoons – whether they are favorite characters you already know and love like Mickey Mouse or Homer Simpson or your own unique creations – tend to be simplified illustrations. In order to be easily animated, these drawings use only the most basic lines and shapes to convey character. Focusing on animated cartoon style will open you up to a new way of drawing. You need to focus on the basics while at the same time finding a way to exaggerate and bring out the character’s qualities.
If you are faltering in your quest for a subject, start with something easy to draw. That means you want something streamlined and straightforward. Do not start by trying to draw the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Try drawing a coffee cup instead. Practice your drawing skills on something you have sitting around the house and can revisit as you develop your skills. Remember, the most basic drawing skills is breaking down the geometrical shapes you see in a subject and putting them together realistically and proportionally on the page. Start with something that has as few different shapes as possible. Sketching your dog – with his wild fur and quick motion – might be a difficult task. But sketching his favorite bone is a great place to start.
To make drawing any of these easier, you should consider drawing from a photograph. A photograph is already a translation of a three dimensional object into a two dimensional image. You can also fold up the photograph and focus on just one quadrant at a time! That way you are not overwhelmed by trying to draw the whole image. Following the lines and contours of a photograph will help you develop your drawing skills and is an easy way to learn more.