“We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out, the better.” - Walt Stanchfield
Much like music, writing, or acting, drawing is a skill you can use to convey ideas and emotions. Drawing can also be relaxing and an excellent way to manage stress. Learning to draw is a great idea, regardless of your experience with art.
There are quite a few ways to quickly improve your drawing. Here’s our advice.
Start with the Basics
Learning to draw is quite a vague concept as almost anyone can pick up a pen or pencil and draw a basic tree on a sheet of paper. However, most people will accept that knowing how to draw means that you understand the fundamentals of the practice, which often means being able to draw things with realistic qualities. This doesn’t mean that it needs to look like a photo, but rather that the work is recognisable as what it’s supposed to be or represent. This essentially means that you know how to draw.
Before you can get good at drawing, there are some basics that you need to understand:
- Light and shadow
- Nuance and shading
- Colour theory
With an understanding of these concepts, you should be able to draw a lot of things with a good degree of realism. From there, you can work on your style.
Why not play around with some of the concepts?
A lot of artists do this to give their art a distinctive style.
Draw a Bit Each Day
Learning to draw requires regular practice. The more you draw, the better you’ll get. A lot of artists recommend drawing every day and at least once a week.
It’s useful to get into a habit of drawing as it also gives you a lot of opportunities to experiment and try out different techniques, approaches, styles, and mediums.
Why not try doing Inktober?
Inktober is a challenge where artists draw every day throughout October and complete drawings on a certain theme. There are also weekly challenges you can try. This is a good way to make drawing part of your daily routine.
Use Your Eyes
Great artists are not just creative and imaginative, they’ve also a great eye. You need to take the time to look at things, especially when drawing landscapes, buildings, and people.
Carefully observing your subject can help you become a better artist. Consider taking pens, pencils, and a sketchbook with you everywhere and regularly drawing what you can see. It doesn’t matter if it’s a flower, a bird, a busy café, or a house.
You can always do quick sketches while you’re out and about and develop the drawings once you get home. Ideally, you’ll want to spend as long as you can in front of the subject. This is a great way to relax as well as regularly practise drawing.
Similarly, you’ll get into the habit of representing 3D objects on a 2D medium.
Start by Drawing Simple Things
A lot of artists are tempted to draw something that’s far too advanced for their level. This is a dangerous practice as it can harm your self-confidence and it makes it harder to improve your drawing. When you draw, you'll want to progress slowly but surely.
While there are no rules against beginners tackling bigger projects, you’ll probably learn a lot more by starting with basic and simple subjects. Of course, there are larger projects you can break down into smaller parts and tasks.
Copy Other Pieces
A lot of artists copy others’ works for practice. You can either copy the work directly to practise certain techniques or use them as inspiration as you develop your style. As we mentioned, try to start with simpler and more manageable projects.
Choose a piece that you like and would like to better understand. Not only will this help you improve your observation skills, but you can also learn more about proportion as you copy the composition of the piece. You’ll also get to learn about other artists in the process.
Be Open to Criticism and Feedback
Learning from feedback is a great way to improve.
How can an artist improve if they’re unwilling to learn from their mistakes?
Keeping your drawings to yourself won’t help. Don’t hesitate to show your work to other artists and even those who don’t draw. Feedback should be welcome.
Just make sure that the feedback is constructive. Social networks can be both practical and dangerous places as you can use them to get useful feedback but also unhelpful and mean comments.
Fortunately, they’re not the only places you can get comments on your work. Consider showing your work to your friends and families. Even if they’re not artists, they can still provide useful feedback.
Set Yourself Goals
Why do you want to learn to draw? What are your goals?
You might be passionate about drawing or be learning to draw for professional reasons. Whatever your goals, it’s useful to keep them in mind as they can be the driving force behind your progress.
Would you like to draw animals?
Keep this in mind every time you sit down to draw. This can help motivate you and encourage you to practise your drawing more regularly. Perhaps you can set milestones: learn to draw a cat, learn to draw a horse, learn to draw a fish, etc. Bit by bit, you’ll meet these goals and then you can look back at your progression.
Never Use a Rubber
This might seem strange, but if you want to get better at drawing, you’ll want to leave the rubber/eraser to one side. Use these mistakes as learning opportunities. Similarly, you’ll want to let go when you draw and worrying about what you’ll erase will only get in the way of your progress.
How will you ever draw anything if you’re scared of making mistakes?
All this will do is stop you from actually drawing. By looking for the rubber/eraser after every line you draw, you’ll never get anything done. Bit by bit, you’ll improve and there’ll be fewer errors.
Focus on Your Technique
This is a rule that’s useful for every skill, not just drawing. It’s worthwhile focusing on just one medium.
You can draw with pens, pencils, pastels, crayons, charcoal, etc. It’s a good idea to pick one and focus on the appropriate techniques.
Of course, you can use several of them in a single piece, too. However, you don’t want to change your mind between each drawing lesson. You’ll only end up wasting your time.
Learn More About Art
Practice isn’t the only way to improve your drawing. You can also learn more about art to help you find and develop your style. Looking at other artists’ work is a great way to learn about different techniques and styles and also gain inspiration for your work.
It’s a good idea to visit museums as there are art museums in almost every town and city in the country with pieces from local, national, and international artists.
You can also look online for new artists, especially on social networks like Instagram and Pinterest.
Consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced tutors on the Superprof website. There are tutors for almost every academic subject and skills and hobbies like drawing, too. You can get face-to-face, online, and group tuition and since each type of tutoring comes with its pros and cons, you'll need to think carefully about which is best for you and your budget.
Group tutoring is a great option for those on a tight budget as you can share the cost of the tutor's time and expertise with the other members of the class. Of course, this does mean that your tutor won't dedicate all their time to teaching you, but you have the bonus that you have other students there for support and guidance as you learn.
Face-to-face tutoring is just between you and your tutor and every minute of the session can be tailored to what you want to learn and how you learn best. While this type of tutoring is usually the most expensive per hour, it's also the most cost-effective as every minute is spent focusing on your learning.
If you can't find any suitable tutors in your local area, you can always turn to the internet and look for online private tutoring. As long as you have a webcam and a decent internet connection, you can enjoy tutoring from tutors all over the world. As they don't have to travel to their students' homes, they have fewer outgoings and tend to charge less than face-to-face tutoring as a result.