5 tips to improve your drawings today
Drawing is probably the most old-fashioned act in human history, and still, we are fascinated by it. Everyone believes that drawing is a talent when actually, drawing is a skill that can be acquired with a lot of practice.
But what is drawing after all? Oxford dictionary defines it as "a picture made using a pencil or pen rather than paint". Someone that is already aware of what drawing is may defy this traditional definition. Drawing can be broadly defined
"as the action of making marks on any surface with any mark-making material" - The Virtual Instructor
It is crucial to define drawing this way because drawing is the root of any art form. Take abstract art, for instance, a deliberate splash of paint can be a drawing because it is the act of mark-making that defines it.
There are tons of different techniques and types of drawings, but the truth is: if you are just starting, you should start off with what you have available to learn the basics. Learning how to draw does not require you to be creative. I will give you 5 easy tips to start drawing today.
1. Do not overestimate observational drawing
Observational drawing is the type of drawing that everyone should be available to do. Take Vincent Van Gogh as an example, he always painted himself. Guess why? Observational drawing is cheap and accessible anytime. Literally, no excuses.
Observational drawing is cheap and accessible anytime. Literally, no excuses.
You can draw your own hands; your feet; your reflection; the fruit you are eating after lunch; the building you are staring at while waiting for a friend; the lady that is standing on the bus, etc.
Nothing better than to observe the world around you to start your artistic journey. Through observational drawing, you will be able to train your perception of scale, perspective and contrast altogether.
2. Make it a routine and repeat, repeat, repeat!
Have you heard the expression "persistence leads to perfection"? It is proved.
The more you draw, the better you will get.
Drawing is about training your eyes, train your brain to perceive things more accurately. Drawing is an act that requires more than the use of your hands. Your eyes start to function like rulers, your perception of space and contract becomes sharper the more you draw. Nothing better than keeping a sketchbook with you to make this a habit.
Sketchbooks can be tiny to fit in your pocket or slightly larger, whatever suits your needs, you can get it. There is no rule for materials.
3. Copy as much as you can
With so many resources nowadays, it would be a shame if you did not use everything you can. With knowledge on the tip of your fingers, you can easily find photographs that are incredibly good to train mark-making techniques. Also, remember old masters drawings as Leonardo DaVinci or Michelangelo.
It is excellent to copy other drawings to learn how to master specific techniques. As long as you are not selling those drawings, it shouldn't be an issue with copyrights.
4. Explore materials and techniques
Nowadays we have a wide variety of different interesting materials to use in our creative projects but it wasn’t always like that. The oldest and most basic materials to start your artistic journey are graphite and charcoal.
They are cheap, easy to find and also give you the ability to practice a vast range of mark-making techniques.
Graphite comes in bars, powder or more commonly in pencils. Pencils generally have a code for easier identification of hardness/softness. It is important to know that codes range from B to H. The B, followed by a number usually refers to a softer and darker tone, and the H refers to a harder and lighter tone.
Charcoal can be messier and harder to master. Charcoal also comes in bars or pencils, but it is more common in bars as it gives more freedom to be more expressive in your lines. Charcoal needs an extra non-common tool: a kneaded eraser.
Normal rubbers won’t erase your charcoal drawing, it will smudge your lines instead.
When familiarized with these basic mark-making materials, you should try things like watercolours, gouache, acrylics, coloured pencils, oil and soft pastels, different types of ink, etc.
Each material has its own techniques, but once you master the basics of shapes and contrasts with graphite and charcoal, other materials are easy to get comfortable with.
5. General to details
This is a rule for any type and level of artists, you never draw detail to general! It is a lot easier to get proportions right when you start with the simple shape of the object you are trying to draw, and then slowly target details.
For example, if you are drawing a portrait, draw the outside line that shapes the head and then slightly mark where you will position eyes, mouth, nose, etc.
This way, you will get your proportions right, and then you are ready to start focusing on shading and edging everything.
Drawing is a skill that will always come in handy because it develops your brain to be more attentive to things that are usually unnoticed. You will train your mind to be more focused, and you will also get a great skill to impress anyone.
I leave you to reflect on these essential drawing tips to allow you to start your artistic path.
Have fun and don’t forget that once you are happy to sell your drawings, you can always set up an ARTMO profile that will allow you to sell your work online for free!