Go back

Learn The Basics of Drawing Illustrations

Read in 4 minutes
Published on: 25 May 2022

Do you know that you can't draw a perfect circle no matter how hard you try?
But that shouldn't stop anyone from trying. Isn't it? 

Illustrators fail when they lack compositional strength. In other words, parts in the artwork are not placed in a visually appealing manner. There are times when even the best designers skip some basics and end up being in a mess. Such rough situations can be avoided. All it needs is some caution and correct information. 

Save your time. Learn this in as little as 1 minute.

We’ve got 500+ bite-sized content to help you learn the smarter way.

Download the app

So, to improve your sketches and illustration composition, following these six essential steps will help clear all doubts. 

Step 1: Creative Ideas

The first step in creating an illustration is to get inclusive ideas that will startle the audience. An innovative concept is something simple that you will strive to make the artwork.
Now the question arises, "Where and how to find inspiration"?
The answer is the majority of illustrators follow Instagram and Pinterest portfolios of other well-known illustrators. To search them first, read about renowned artists' and designers' design and art blogs. To develop your taste for illustration, start observing things around you. After exploring, add the findings to your drawing.

Step 2: Assemble Your Ideas

As a designer, it's your duly responsibility to pen down your ideas. You may have amassed many pictures over several months, and looking back at previous ideas might help you come up with something to work on while you're starting a new illustration. Also, try to think out of the box. Use your imagination dynamically. There is no fun in being traditional 24x7.

Step 3: Composition

Depth: Ensure that whatever you make looks realistic, and it should have some in-depth details so that the audience understands the meaning. While creating a design, always keep the main objects closer to the eyes. You can always experiment with unusual elements to spice up your designs.  

The Rule Of Thirds: The rule of thirds is essential when making illustrations. It helps to efficiently place the prime objects in a frame, and your core idea and visual element should be put at the intersections of the grid lines.

Detail: By adding in-depth information, the picture will look more appealing. Also, it clears the concept in the reader's mind. Make sure to research the persona you're portraying in your artwork and incorporate the facts you find. Again, you do not have to be extreme with details, and it is better to purposefully ignore some elements to save your viewer from information overload. You have to decide what to show and what to avoid. 

Framing: At the beginning of the drawing, clearly position the objects in a frame. You can deliberately leave some elements out of the frame but it should be backed with reasoning.

Step 4: Narrate a Story

Check to see whether your illustration is communicating a narrative to the audience. Storytelling is an efficient method of conveying a compelling concept to contemplate.
Remember that artwork may appear lifeless if it lacks a storyline. So, investigate the characters and their backgrounds, and consider how others interpret them.

Step 5: Complete the Drawing

Every illustrator has unique processes and preferences while converting ideas into drawings. There are two ways to sketch your ideas; First, start drawing digitally; secondly, draw on paper with all the details; next, scan and trace the drawing digitally. 
While making illustrations, keep the eventual buyer in mind, as they are the ones to buy the product. Draw the concepts from their perspective to attract them. As we all know, emotional appeal always works. 

Step 6: Colour Scheme

Try to focus on colour combinations, methods, themes, and compositions.
You can develop a fresh illustration concept if you follow the steps accordingly. Consider going through periodicals, looking at posters and website banners, and hunting for ideas.
Once you've completed the drawing portion, take time to revise your artwork correctly. Rearrange the layout till you get the best one at the final stage. 
Make sure your illustration is original and shines out.

The best drawing activities for artists are right here for you.

  • You'll like to think about what you want to do

Try looking at photographs of strange places on the internet to get your imagination going.
A sketchbook is a great place to begin experimenting with your ideas.
Natural subjects allow you to see every day in a fresh light and come up with original ideas. Additionally, you can think of some aesthetic abnormalities to develop your design.

  • Sketch your imagination

After deciding on the primary theme, it's time to gather visual references and begin finalizing the composition. Using photos as a starting point for a few rough layouts on paper is a great way to get your thoughts in order. Make your sketches as detailed as possible when you're just starting. This is followed by a final rendering that removes anything that isn't necessary.

  • To select a colour scheme.

Do check out Dribbble, Pinterest, and Kuler to get some inspiration for your colour scheme. Try to play around with a few colours to get more creative. 
It's time to add dimension!
You'll need a decent grasp of compositional elements such as depth, gradients, and the rule of thirds at this point. Clearly show objects that are set in the foreground or background.

  • Add Light and shadows

Light and shadow play essential roles, and it's better to choose their intensity at the sketching stage. At the same time, don’t forget to play with their position and angle. A lot can change with different lighting.  

While creating an illustration, it's critical to take a step back and look at the larger picture to see how everything fits together. Upload your designs on social networks and ask for comments from colleagues and friends.
The basic steps of illustration will motivate you to start the sketch work. Implement all the ideas, and your art piece will come out nicely. You must also save yourself from comparing your designs with others. Your art is unique, and art is never a competition.
Creativity is collaboration! You'll be able to make great graphics using your creative abilities and our new features without paying a costly monthly charge for tools. To put it straight, you will have the opportunity to connect with people interested in learning Illustration. Likewise, you will also have the chance to meet industry experts for strategic motivation and guidance. 
To get more tips regarding illustration, check out our micro learning app. Our skilled professionals will help you become a better version of yourself in less than 15 minutes. All the best!


What do you mean by illustration?

An illustration is a pictorial presentation of a subject. It helps readers to understand the concept easily. 

Are cartoon artists and illustrations the same ?

Cartoon artists and illustrators have the same goal. They use art to tell a story. Illustrators are more focused on imagery, while cartoonists use images and text.

What are the basic steps of drawing illustrations?

The art of illustration comes with proper research, creativity, brainstorming ideas, drawing skills and colour scheme. 

Can I learn to draw illustration without any diploma or degree?

Indeed, anyone can learn the basics of making an illustration at home. Apart from diplomas and degrees, online learning websites help a beginner learn all about drawing. Online short term courses are available, and blogs on e-learning platforms are there to help.