The history of the world tells us that drawing is a simple creative act that is distinct to humans. However, drawing well is a skill that must be developed with practice and time. In the beginning, drawing is as much about honing observation skills, improving hand-eye coordination, and understanding your artistic tools as it is depicting a specific subject. For a beginner in drawing, it is imperative to shake off the pressure of drawing the "right way".

Everything is hard when you're a beginner, but the problem with drawing is that everyone thinks they know how to do it.

The creative explosion was the single greatest moment in the history of humankind that heralded the development of our full cognitive abilities. Remember the phrase, cognitive abilities. It tells us that drawing isn't a single skill even though every drawing is made of lines, using similar hand movements. It's what happens in the human brain that distinguishes one artist's drawing from another's.

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First Things, First

For any artistic practice, such as drawing, it helps the artist to take a moment to acquaint themselves with the tools of the trade. A simple exercise for beginners, in this regard, is to handle different types of drawing implements and surface materials to see what they are most comfortable using.

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drawing tools
Acquaint yourself with your drawing tools first and then begin your drawing exercise. | Image credit: LUM3N on Unsplash

You can start by gathering as many or as few different kinds of pens, graphite pencils, artists’ charcoal, white chalk, markers, crayons, erasers, and/or coloured pencils as you like. Of course, a more varied toolkit will make this exercise more effective.

Gather a few different types of high-quality drawing paper – sheets with different weights or different teeth, otherwise known as surface textures – to see how those elements affect your drawing. For the more experimental among you, try using surfaces like canvas or wood. This is a trial and error exercise with no wrong way to do it as every step will be a discovery.

Make sure to find a solid surface in a well-lit area where you can sit comfortably and draw for an extended time. Study the materials you’ve collected by laying them out in front of you. You will be using each for a brief period to help you draw an abstract image, without any particular shape or form in mind.

Check out this guide on essential drawing equipment to get started today!

The purpose of this exercise is to mindfully handle each of your pens, pencils, and other tools on all of your surfaces to see which elements appeal to you most and what kind of lines they draw. Experiment with your tools for as long as you like, and try to go with the flow. Repetitious and abstract drawing help to develop your hand and create muscle memories that will be useful when you want to develop interesting patterns and textures.

5 Easy Drawing Exercises for Absolute Beginners

Most problems, that beginners in drawing face, may come from ignoring basic skills when learning how to draw. So, here are the best drawing exercises for beginners to brush up their skills and become pros in their work.

Drawing Straight Lines

A total beginner should start with line drawing. Drawing long straight lines is a great exercise for building a steady hand and a must-have ability for any good artist. One line exercise that you can do is to simply draw straight lines in different directions using pencil and paper. You can overlap the lines but don’t turn your paper into a total mess where you can’t tell the lines apart. If there are too many lines, move on to a fresh sheet.

You can also draw entire sets of lines going in one direction – horizontally, vertically, and at different angles. You can crank up the difficulty level to challenge yourself by trying to draw all of the lines roughly the same distance from one another. Be sure not to press on the pencil/pen too hard when drawing these and to keep your hand reasonably relaxed.

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draw a straight line
An exercise in drawing straight and curved lines is a fundamental starting point for aspiring artists. | Image credit: ArchDaily

Drawing Curved Lines

Similar to the straight lines exercise, you can draw long and steady curved lines or wave-like lines. You can do this using overlapping lines and sets of duplicate lines drawn in different directions or tracing the shape of the previous line. Just like the straight lines you drew in the previous exercise you can try and keep roughly the same amount of spacing when drawing sets of curves.

Drawing Transitioning Lines

For this exercise, draw 2 different lines (for example, 2 curved lines in different directions), and between these 2 lines, draw a set of lines where, with each line, you make a small change towards matching the bend of the second line. The goal is to eventually have a smooth transition of lines going from one curve into the other. This exercise is intended to develop your hand-eye coordination while drawing.

Drawing Basic Geometric Shapes

This is a slightly more complex exercise that involves the drawing of basic shapes such as circles, squares, triangles, etc. The exercise is designed to help you develop the steadiness of your hand and to train you to catch your own errors while drawing.

A major benefit of drawing these shapes is that more complex objects can often be broken down into simpler shapes. If you can draw these shapes well, you can use them to help you construct a more complex drawing. When doing this exercise, you can practice shapes of different sizes at random placement. You can also draw neatly-arranged shapes of the same size.

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Drawing Lines Through Shapes and Shapes in Shapes

Based on the previous shape-drawing exercise, you can draw some lines through geometric shapes such as squares or rectangles. These exercises help to train your eye as you have to “aim” to hit the corners. Moreover, they also help steady your hand as you have to make a fairly straight line for this to work.

Additionally, you can also draw one shape inside another. For example, you can draw a circle inside a square, that is divided into 4 parts, by drawing a curve in each one of these. This way, you can check if any part of the circle is off as the surrounding square (if properly drawn) will give you a good way to judge the positioning of the 4 curves.

Tune Your Mind Right

tune in to art
Mental focus is paramount for artists specializing in drawings. | Image credit: Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

Drawing is often viewed as an exercise to create something perfect or visually pleasing. However, many artists, especially beginners, feel overwhelmed by fear that they won’t succeed in doing so. But, don't worry if you have never drawn! The trick is to take a moment to get into the right frame of mind. An act as simple as this will make it easier for you to tap into your creative impulses and feel satisfied with your artistic progress.

Making art should be a fun process, not a scary one.

Before you begin drawing, take a deep breath and clear your mind of any pressure you may feel to create something that fits a particular standard of “good” or “right.”  Think of your drawings as a series of experiments – whether or not you like the final product should be an afterthought. Just focus on trying something new. You will be pleasantly surprised by what you can create along the way.

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The exercises listed in this article can be done for a few minutes each day or every other day. You can mix things up and do different types of exercises on different days. Be sure not to overdo these and to still draw the things you like drawing.

At the same time, it’s also important to take these exercises seriously and to try and accomplish what each exercise suggests, to the best of your ability. If you simply try and get through them as fast as you can, without any effort, you will have little to no results. If you only focus on drawing exercises, you may get bored and lose interest in drawing altogether!

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.