Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Drawing Tips

When I say the word "draw" to other people, often the response is, "I can't draw a stick figure", or "My drawing is horrible."  Well, I think drawing is just like any other skill that one acquires.  Whether it's learning to ride a bike, learning to type, learning to play an instrument, or learning to walk, you have to begin with the first baby steps.  You're going to have to concentrate.  You're going to have to have determination.  You're going to fail miserably at your first attempts.

Photo: Rodin's Sculpture,  "The Farewell" 1892

Sooner or later, you're going to master the basics.  You're eventually going to walk without giving it your undivided attention and concentration.  With more determination you might even find the discipline to walk extreme distances or heights.  I think drawing is the same.  Here are some tips that I've  found helpful and I hope you will too.

  1. Copy artists who inspire you.  Examine their techniques and try to mimic their style. Look to "The Masters".
  2. Develop a tonal value scale.  This is essential.  It's one of the basics!
  3. Watch drawing videos.  YouTube is filled with informative, instructional tutorials.
  4. Use a light touch.  (I'm really heavy handed and have been practicing this myself)  Successful drawings are layers of marks.
  5. Really look at what you want to draw.  Don't draw what you think you see, draw what you do see!  
  6. Squint your eyes to help find the darkest darks and the lightest lights.
  7. Use a medium pencil to begin with and gradually use darker pencils to finish. 
  8. Practice. Practice. Practice.  Practice may not make perfect, but it will certainly make better!
  9. Did I say "Practice?"

Here are some additional tips from a YouTube channel that I stumbled upon recently.  I like the first two videos I watched, and thought I would share them with you.  They're short and informative, and I agree with the things he says about drawing.  Take a look around his channel.  He's completed some really fabulous celebrity drawings that I think you'll like!

I hope you'll pull out your sketchbook and do some drawing.  Remember, there's no need to limit yourself to portraits or people.  Draw what inspires you!  Or draw something that has always been a challenge for you.  I'm thinking that I may do some animal studies, perhaps beginning with birds.  I love them so - I should learn to do them justice with the pencil!

I may work on this some more.  Fix her nose and forehead and do more work on the hand.  Or I just may  move on to the next!

Last put not least, STOP CRITICIZING YOUR WORK!  Making note of what you've done incorrectly and learning from your mistakes is fine.  Telling yourself that "this SUCKS!", without any real critique and solution is NOT.  Did you hear me?  Great!  Now grab your pencils and have some fun with drawing!



  1. Thanks for sharing your tips - I especially relate to the draw what inspires you. It seems when you do that, you can spend hours but if you're not inspired nothing flows.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Geri! As I said to a student in my class, "if you're not having fun doing this, what's the point?"

  2. Angelia this is so true. We have to practice everyday we can then drawing will come much easier to us. Artist just need to keep on & it does get easier . I think this is the point so many artist give up. So thankful we didn't. We would have lost all this fun stuff we get to do.
    Happy Painting

    1. I have to say, Linda, being an artist has gotten me through some really rough road. I'm ever grateful. Some people live and die without ever finding what really gives them pleasure.

  3. Angelia, thank you for your generous sharing. I'll share this, too: My beginning art teacher suggested that in addition to our own drawings, we use tracing paper and trace any art we enjoy. She said that over time this helps connect pathways between the brain and the hand. I don't know the technical terms for this, but I *do* know that I draw/paint more freely after spending time tracing. For pictures, I use calendar art, illustrations in books or magazines, and (my favorite) art books from the library. Also, now it's easy to find and print images of the "Masters' works" with the computer. As you've told us, "Just keep drawing." Thanks! B

  4. Thank you for such a great comment, B! I hadn't heard of using the tracing paper technique, but I think it's a great idea. I think what you may be trying to remember is "muscle memory". That's what I've found it's called as I'm learning to play piano, and it works beautifully for that. Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to leave your comment! :o)

  5. This is my first visit to your page, and it is absolutely 100% motivational. Now I can remove the barriers and do as you have suggested. Thank you so much for sharing your talent!

    Cynthia Jo


Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me! It's a pleasure sharing the creative world of art journaling with you. I love hearing from you, so comments and questions are always welcome.

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