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Everyone can draw. Drawing is a skill that requires desire, time, and practice. This list of drawing tips will help you start your journey of drawing. These tips are the things that I find the most helpful and important to know, especially when starting to draw. I learned some of them the hard way and I believe they will help you see an immediate improvement in your drawing.
1. Get to Know your Pencils
This is probably the most important drawing tip. In the drawing, there’re ‘B’ pencils and ‘H’ pencils on a scale of 1-8. What does it mean? It basically an indicator of the hardness of the graphite. ‘B’ pencils are softer, and ‘H’ are harder. In practice, ‘B’ pencils look darker and ‘H’ brighter. The pencils help you to create values, light and dark, and texture. It’s important to get to know them in order to improve your drawing.
HB is right in the middle and represents the pencils we usually use for writing.
When you start sketching the foundations, you want to start using the ‘H’ series, usually, 2H or 4H. As you start adding details and values, you want to start using the ‘B’ pencils. 8B is the softest and I highly recommend starting from 2B and move forwards until you reach your desirable values.
2. Avoid Smudging
Graphite and charcoals are soft and easily smudged and transfer to your hand. If you’re not careful, the graphite will transfer back to your paper which can ruin your lovely drawing.
An easy way to avoid it is simply using a regular printer paper or even tracing paper and place it beneath your hand.
Another tip- if you’re right-handed, try to draw your drawing from left to right. If you’re left-handed, then work from right to left. It will decrease the chances the graphite will transfer to your hand and back to the paper.
3. Stop Outlining- Control your Edges
One of the biggest mistakes is outlining the drawing. When we’re outlining everything, we ruin the depth of the object we’re drawing. Focus on the values instead of the lines.
4. Use a Blender
Using my fingers as a blender was my biggest mistake as a beginner artist. It makes the drawing messy, and you have graphite all over your hands and drawing. The alternative- use a blender!
My favorite type of blender is actually a makeup brush. It’s easy to clean and makes the perfect blending without the mess.
You might be interested in…
- 10 Simple Oil Painting Tips and Techniques for Beginners
- 7 Effective Ways to Save Money as a Beginner Artist
- 8 Valuable Tips to Success for Self-Taught Artist
5. Use Reference Photos
This one is one of the best drawing tips for beginners. Sometimes we have a vision of a specific object we want to draw. We can draw a flower (for example) from our imagination but it’s hard to be accurate if we’re not looking at a specific flower (or any other object).
Reference photos show us the angels, light sources, and shadows which make it easier to draw. Moreover, photos are two-dimensional, meaning, they’re easier to draw than real-life drawings (which are 3D). It’s extremely helpful for beginning artists.
Few things to pay attention when you use reference photos:
- If you’re planning to exhibit or sell your works, be careful what references you use. Check out the copyrights before and see if you can use the photo.
- You can use a photo as a reference but add unique details to make it your own work.
- You can always take your own photos.
Personally, I try to take as many photos as I can on my own or combine elements from different sources.
- Ask permission from other photographers and artists.
If you’re not planning on making a profit, using a reference can be a great tool for practicing and improving. It allows you to test your abilities and see what’s your strengths and weaknesses.
6. Repeat your Drawing
Practice is essential for improvement and learning. Repeat your work and see how much you improved from the last time you tried drawing it.
Personally, this is one of my favorite tips because you can truly see your improvement. Taking the same reference, drawing it a couple of times, and compare your results gives you a better understanding to where you’re standing. You can identify the areas you’ve improved and the areas that still need practice.
7. Look for Shapes
Especially in the beginning, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to draw. Try to focus on the shapes and then add the details to the drawing. Don’t add details, shading, or texture until you have the basic shapes of your object.
8. Learn how to Hold your Pencils
You probably think you know how to hold a pencil, but do you really know how to hold a pencil for drawing? The way we hold a pencil for writing can limit you when you draw. It’s important to understand the types of grips and when to use them when you’re drawing.
The two main grip types are Tripod and Overhand. The Tripod grip is similar to the way we hold a pencil, and the range of movement is limited. Therefore, it is the most useful when drawing details or small sections. The Overhand grip might feel strange at first, but it increases the versatility and range of movement you can make. Don’t give up! It can be hard to adjust in the beginning but it’s totally worth the practice. Try a few Overhand grip exercises and explore the type of marks you can draw using each grip.
Practice practice practice! This is the best tip I can give you. Draw every day, carry a sketchbook and be creative. You can decide to focus on different shapes, values, or objects but the most important thing is drawing. The more you practice the better your drawing will be. Without noticing, drawing will become part of who you are.