10 drawing tips for beginners

31/03/2009

I’ve come across such questions on dA forums and chatrooms so many times, so I’ve decided to write some short tips for beginners, instead of answering the questions every time.

At first, some theory. Drawing is basically a piece of art that opeartes with a tone value, not with colour. It means, that not only works created with pencil or charcoal can be considered drawings, but also the ones created with ink or paint, even applied with a brush (or any other item, for that matter). It doesn’t depend on the tool, it depends on the piece itself and the method that is being used.

Start with getting the skill

Never start your drawing experience with fantasy pictures, manga or whatever else you like. You simply won’t be able to do it well unless you learn the proper realistic drawing from nature. Start with still life compositions, go out and find a good visual motif in the town, ask someone to pose for you.

Think composition not detail

Plan the whole composition in advance. Measure object with a pencil, with your  hand stretched. Mark the major points on your drawing.

Simplify and synthesize

At first simplify everything to basic geometric figures.  Draw what you actually see, not what you know of the object. Then mark the grades of shading: the darkest, the lightest and two or three in the middle. THEN go a little bit more into details. Make it consistent by applying the same amount of details on every part of your picture at the same time.

Know when to stop

Don’t overdo your pictures, sometimes it’s better to leave them a little bit unfinished, but with a fresh feeling. Also, make a lot of simple, quick sketches.

Use that pencil what it’s made for

Whatever you do, don’t EVER smudge the pencil/charcoal with your fingers. It’s a big no-no. The idea is to create the appropriate value of gray with the tool itself.

Use the contrast

Be sure to distinguish contrasting areas, don’t make the picture medium gray all over just because you can’t decide to push that pencil harder.

Don’t worry if at first you don’t succeed

Because you won’t. Don’t be afraid to destroy a few sheets of paper before you actually accomplish something. Even experienced artists do it.

Don’t draw on too small sheets of paper

Change your sketchbook size to bigger. It always helps.

Learn the basic knowledge

Learn about the rules of composition, the rule of the thirds, and how to create a balanced image. A good place to start is probably this Wikipedia article.

Work hard

Watch a lot of art, go to galleries, don’t listen to amateurs’ advice, learn from professionals, gain knowledge, and practice a lot.

And remember, the so called “talent” is only something that affects creativity, not the skill. It can help you get the skills faster, but you actually can learn to create reasonable realistic drawings without it.

2 Responses to “10 drawing tips for beginners”

  1. Irmina Says:

    Never start your drawing experience with fantasy pictures, manga or whatever else you like. You simply won’t be able to do it well unless you learn the proper realistic drawing from nature. Start with still life compositions, go out and find a good visual motif in the town, ask someone to pose for you.

    i dont think it’s true. I must say i draw ‘manga’ and i can hnestly say i had no previuos experience with life drawing, and the first thind i started drawing was Sailor Moon characters…some 12 years ago, and i never really learned how to do real-life portraits.

  2. ula Says:

    Irmina, I never said that you can’t draw from manga at all; I just said that you won’t be able to do it good. Unless you’re truly a genius, which happens extremely rarely.

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