It’s only a matter of rigorous practice combined with some effective techniques to get better at drawing. Here is a step-by-step learning outline and tips for all you creative enthusiasts trying to master the art of how to draw and sketch. To supplement your learning, we have enumerated helpful firsthand advice from leading artists in the #Koolcommunity. So, call on your muses, pick up a blank piece of paper and get ready, to begin with, fresh ideas of things to draw.
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#1 Familiarise yourself with your drawing pencils
When you are learning how to draw, the most fundamental aspect is to know about your drawing pencils. Like digital artists play around with the software to get a whiff of the features offered, you must start by testing the different drawing pencils. Knowledge of your drawing tools is essential to keep precision when applying light and shade to specific places and adding depth to your art. It will eventually help you master the various pencil shading techniques.
If you want to improve your drawing skills, the biggest tip is to know the use of different shading pencils. The beginners often confuse the different shading pencil names like 4H, HB, 6B, etc. The basics dictate that the pencils are named on the varying hardness levels (written as H) of the graphite present within them and the blackness that comes with it (written as B). While sketching, a good blend of these pencils is essential to create various layering, form, and shading effects. Hence, as an artist, you must acquaint yourself with your pencils to add depth to your drawing.
Here is an introduction to different types of drawing pencils and the effect they have. To begin with, know what the letters on your pencil denote:
H - Hard
HB - Hard Black
B - Black
F - Fine Point
The pencils in order of light to dark or hard to soft are:
#2 Try different shading/blending techniques for value transitions
Blending and mark-making methods lie at the top of basic drawing and sketching techniques. These methods like cross-hatching, smudging, stippling, hatching, etc., are essential to help you achieve different effects and styles. It is only logical to learn about these value transition techniques after gaining an insight into the uses of drawing pencils.
#3 Get an understanding of colours
After knowing the basics of shading, understanding how to employ colours come next in the logical order. The colours you choose have a massive impact on the sentiment you wish your art to convey. It is crucial to know how the colour wheel works to enhance your drawing skills and grow as an artist. Here, mixing colours, the effect created by blending warm and cool tools, and their harmonious blend to create contrast is essential to get better at drawing and painting. To begin with, apart from knowing the physical effect your colours have on the viewer, it is also imperative to understand how colour psychology works.
#4 Learn from other artists
A lot can be learnt by observing tasteful masterpieces by other artists. Taking inspiration from existing artworks is the easiest way to enter into a fellow artist’s mind and unlock his creative thinking process. It is super helpful, especially when you are suffering from creative block. The most famous painting among the art community includes Michelangelo’s fresco The Creation of Adam, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, John William Waterhouse’s The Lady of Shalott, and The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, to name a few. If not the classics, you can easily extract ideas of things to draw from artists in your circle. The goal is to stay enthusiastic, current and creative.
#5 Don’t be afraid to make a mess
Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, only your persistent practice will lead you to perfection. It means endless sessions to perfect one element and make a mess or a few faults in the process. Consider it as a stepping stone to drawing better. The more improvements you make, the closer you get to your goals.
#6 Use your observation skills
Your biggest tool when it comes to improving your drawing skills is your observational power. All the best artworks have blossomed from a keen mind with a creative bend and a powerful observation.
Fierce observation is quintessential to tell a story through art; after all, it is all about the message the artist wishes to portray. This message becomes more prominent when a creator skillfully blends his imagination with things he observes around him.
#7 Select the right drawing paper
Picking up the right drawing paper is pivotal as it gives your art the effect you desire. Moreover, the satisfaction that comes with beautifully curated art is unparalleled. Ergo, choose your drawing paper wisely. There are many options to choose from that vary according to their surface texture (technically known as “tooth”) and weight. The best drawing paper is one that caters to your sketching requirement and does not bleed. For instance, a slightly rough texture paper is optimal for expressive sketching and detailed sketching calls for a more fine quality paper.
#8 Employ reference images
It is arduous for beginners to etch a figment of their imagination onto paper. Here, a reference image comes in handy. Simply having a picture of the object you wish to draw will guide you through creating the possible subjective rendition. Moreover, it sharpens your observation power. As a beginner, drawing directly by looking at a still life may seem daunting at first. Therefore, use reference images from the internet as things to draw to get better. Another option is to trace the reference image simply.
#9 Think about the big picture
The artists and creators we interact with on our Instagram have shared their Story Behind the Skill. They have popularly labelled the creative process as “meditative” and “a break from the mundane.” Such is the impact of having a creative skill! Drawing, the most basic creative skill, is an absolute delight if done mindfully, where you etch however your emotions drive. So the next time you are faced with the difficult question of “what should I draw” sit down with yourself and contemplate. Create a mental map of what elements you want on the paper - their positions, impact and story. Only after you have created a mental image, get down to the actual process of creating.
#10 Look beyond the rules
It is quintessential to play by the rules when you are initially learning how to draw. After mastering the basics, listen to your creative calling and develop a unique style by going beyond the lines restricted by rules.
#11 Progress at your own pace
Becoming a good artist is a matter of regular practice and mastering techniques at your own pace. A successful learner takes his learning seriously, plans it structurally, avoids the common pitfalls of drawing, gains knowledge from all available sources and takes inspiration from other artists, but never compares his progress.
#12 Know the basics of drawing faces
Drawing faces is a prerequisite to mastering the art of sketching. However, it is the most typical area of drawing where most artists face trouble. If you want to practice how to draw expressive faces, you must:
- Gain knowledge of anatomy
- Practice drawing facial features independently
- Know the difference between male and female faces
- Understand the different proportions of the human faces
- Learn how to shade the faces correctly
#13 Have an eye for details
They are not wrong to say that “the devil lies in the details.” After all, the details are the most eye-catching element of artistic creation. Putting in the correct details can elevate your drawing and make it more appealing. However, too many details can be distracting. While you learn how to draw, it is critical to know the best places to insert details, majorly where you wish the viewer to focus more.
#14 Enjoy the process
Good things happen when you love what you do and are committed to improving every passing day. Apart from all the technical drawing know-hows, the only tip that puts things in motion is living the art you create. When you put your heart into the making process, the intentions pilot to originality with optimism.
#15 Invest in rigorous drawing practice
To drastically progress as an artist, practice meticulously. When you draw or paint daily, you stay in touch with your strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, newer things crop up as you experiment with different drawing techniques. A good practice is to fix a certain number of hours within the day. If you are working on a bigger project, or are learning a new technique, set an achievable goal for each day and keep track of what you know with each drawing session. There is no shortcut to becoming a better artist apart from practice. A helpful tip is to keep a sketchbook with yourself and draw everything that interests you.
#16 Take a drawing class
Despite all the free resources that you find online, the knowledge that comes from a true master is unparalleled. The firsthand experience they impart, along with one-on-one query solving, is something that digital online learning lacks. To fill the space and take your drawing practice up a notch, we have come with a digital social learning app - KoolStories. Here, the avid learner can freely operate, surf and connect with professionals in their area of interest or skill domain for smooth knowledge transfer. The presence of micro audio and video feature further streamlines the learning process, removing distractions. Get on with the new-age learning today!