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Art and Soul: 9 Tips for Learning to Draw

Have you ever gotten an idea in your head and the urge to create something? Then you realize you don’t have the ability to get your idea out of your head and into the world.

Maybe you think you lack that creative talent. But the truth is that drawing is a skill. And like any other skill, it’s something you have to learn and practice to be good at.

Learning to draw isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely something you can do. Here are nine tips to help you acquire drawing skills.

1. Choose the Right Materials

Your first step when it comes to learning how to draw is understanding your materials. Different art materials behave differently, and knowing how allows you to better put your idea onto the page.

One of the most common materials for beginners to use is graphite—the standard pencil. But there are different densities to the lead, with H being harder and B softer.

The paper you use is also important. Find sketching paper that works best with your drawing medium. From there, you can play around with the tone and texture of the paper.

Once you’ve got a good handle on graphite, you can try more drawing materials like charcoal, pastels, or ink.

2. Start With Simple Shapes

The best way to learn how to draw anything is by breaking it down into simple shapes. Instead of tackling the entire object, break it down into the smaller shapes you see.

Work your way through the object shape by shape, connecting and overlapping them until you have a finished drawing. Practice this on objects around your home to develop these drawing skills.

3. Study Angles

If you want to draw realistic-looking art, then you have to understand angles. These are extremely important to learn because angles can throw off a drawing easily.

Practice looking at objects from different angles and notice how much and what part of the objects you see. Notice if some parts are smaller or larger?

Look straight on, from above, below, tilted, and any other that will help you draw it correctly.

4. Know The Types of Shading

There is no one right way to sketch, but there are different techniques you can use. Here are some of the most common types of sketching.

Hatching and Cross-Hatching

Hatching indicates light and shade by adding a layer of lines. They can be close together to create dark shadows or further apart to create light. In cross-hatching, you add a second layer on top of your first hatched lines.

Tonal Sketching

Tonal sketching utilizes a scale from black to gray. It’s a gradual increase or decrease of light and darkness. You can achieve this by applying pressure to your graphite, with more pressure making the tone darker.

Blending

Blending builds on tonal sketching by creating shading where you can’t see the pencil strokes. You can use your finger or a blending stick to blend the lines. This gives your art a smooth look.

5. Study Lighting

To make your drawings look the most realistic, you have to have an understanding of how they exist in the world. One thing that all objects will interact with is light.

Consider all the ways a light hits the object and how it changes the shape. Is the light harsh and blinding or low and warm? How much of the object does it illuminate?

These are all important questions to consider when learning how to draw. Capturing lighting properly creates more realistic images.

6. Observe the World

Drawing well requires bringing together a set of skills. And one of those skills is observation. If you’re a beginner, it would be difficult to draw something without first looking at it.

Spend time observing the world around you and take in the information you see. Study the shapes, the colors, and the shading of all the objects you see.

The more you observe the world, the easier it will be to one day draw from memory.

7. Resources and References

Before you can draw from memory, however, you should use resources and references. If you want to draw realistically, you have to look at the real-life counterpart.

Now, you do have to be careful with this one. There’s a line between using a reference and copying someone else’s art or image. Use other art or images as a jumping-off point for your own work without copying every detail.

8. Keep Style Consistent

The best way to get your art to look cohesive is to keep your style consistent. Whatever style you start your art in is the same style you want to finish your art in.

So if you began with precise lines and tight cross-hatching, stick with that style. Don’t switch to loose lines halfway through, or else it won’t look like a harmonious piece.

There are ways to mix drawing styles, but this needs to be done deliberately. If you’re unsure how to find your art style, explore a few until you find one that fits you.

9. Practice, Practice, Practice

The absolute best way to learn to draw is to practice. You won’t pick a pencil one day and create a masterpiece. And you probably won’t the day after or the day after that.

Still, practice all the skills you’ve learned. Develop your craft by drawing every day. If you do that, the next time you pick up your pencil will bring you one step closer to your masterpiece. 

Learning to Draw With a Few Easy Tips

You may look at a piece of art and think you’ll never be able to recreate that. But the truth is that all drawings, no matter how complex, are markings on paper. And with some practice, you can mark up your paper just as well.

Learning to draw may seem like a feat at first. You won’t be great in the beginning because it’s a gradual process. But it is a process that you’re able to learn, no matter what skill level you start at.

So grab a piece of paper, a pencil, and an eraser. The only way you won’t get better is not practicing at all.

Inspired to start a new creative project? Share this with a friend and check out more articles on our blog!

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