When you were growing up, did you consider learning how to draw as something only possible for a select group of people? If so, you are not alone!
Art is a universal language that spans many countries and cultures, and drawing allows us to express emotions and feelings that words simply cannot describe. But there are often a lot of hangups surrounding the art of drawing.
Many people believe it to be something that is purely down to natural talent. However, drawing is a learned skill that takes years of practice to master.
The good news is that you too can learn how to draw and shape your thoughts into a visual masterpiece on paper (with plenty of practice!)
Working out a way to learn how to draw can frequently be a challenge for all parties involved. Fortunately, that’s where this beginner’s guide comes in very handy!
If you’re a beginner looking to get started on your drawing journey, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is a brilliant way to start and will provide the answers you need as well as some very helpful tips.
What Equipment Do I Need?
If you’re a complete novice to the world of drawing and have no clue where to begin, chances are you’re a little confused about the type of equipment that you require.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably carried out some research into the different “essential” drawing equipment out there to get you started on your journey. You may be surprised to find out that you simply don’t need the majority of these items as a beginner!
Unlike oil, acrylic, or watercolor painting which requires you to invest in multiple items before you start, learning to draw does not require a lot of additional equipment.
In fact, you probably already own the majority of the tools that you will need to get started with drawing in your home. Here, we aren’t talking about fancy paints or coloring pencils, but are instead referring to the basics of the art equipment: a pencil or charcoal, and some kind of paper.
When it comes to drawing, you can use any type of pencil to make your mark as long as you find it easy to hold and easy to control. After all, drawing is all about controlling your movements to form specific shapes.
We’d also recommend having an eraser, ruler, and pencil sharpener on hand. These are pretty cheap to buy or, again, you may already have them stashed away in one of the drawers in your home.
Is Drawing A Talent Or A Skill?
This is a pretty difficult question that many art professionals struggle to answer. It’s also one that is commonly asked by those who know very little about the world of drawing.
Truthfully, it’s a bit of both.
Some people may indeed have the natural ability to draw better than others, but drawing is something that must be worked on and mastered over time, like any other activity.
In layman’s terms, nobody is born with the natural talent of knowing how to draw. Instead, it is something that must be continuously developed.
Dedicated, serious study and practice are the primary factors that differentiate a common artist from a very talented one. So, the more practice that you manage to get, the better your drawing skill set will become over time.
You may wonder whether learning to draw is truly worth it if you don’t have the natural affinity for it. The answer is yes! Although it may take you longer to learn and understand, drawing will start to come easier for you once you begin putting it into practice.
This means that regardless of whether you possess the natural ability to draw or not, learning how to create drawings is very much possible!
How Long Does It Take To Learn Drawing?
You wouldn’t expect to know how to play an instrument after a couple of practices. The same concept applies to learning how to draw.
Of course, you’ll likely pick up some of the basics such as how to trace images or how to shade using a pencil in a couple of weeks. But mastering the art of drawing can take years — or even an entire lifetime — to accomplish because of the complexity of the subject.
Learning how to draw can provide a challenge at the best of times. But when you manage to push past something you’ve been struggling with, or manage to find inspiration in something that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible, it can also be very rewarding.
Understanding how to successfully draw one thing will require a completely different approach than other things.
For instance, you may spend ages learning to draw a cartoon character and have developed a considerable number of drawing skills. Yet not all of these will apply directly to the practice you put in when it comes to drawing flowers. Instead, you’ll need to learn a new set of rules and skills.
Learning how to draw different things in multiple styles can take a significant amount of time. You can expect to learn the basics relatively quickly but the rest will simply come as you develop and enhance your skills.
How Do You Start To Learn Drawing?
Before we get to this point, we must emphasize that everyone learns how to draw in different ways. And the techniques that worked for your friend might not be the ones that will work best for you.
As a beginner, it’s all about sampling different types of drawing exercises and techniques to find the one that works best for you, and the one that is most suited to your skills. So, pick up a pencil and paper and start drawing something that means something special to you.
That being said, there are a few things you need to know when it comes to starting your drawing journey.
Freehand Doodle on the Page
Beginners should never shy away from simple freehand doodles on a piece of paper.
Dedicate around 20 minutes a day (if you have the time) to doodling on your page and you’ll quickly notice a change in your drawing inspiration and overall motivation.
These doodles can be anything that you want to draw, ranging from a leaf you’ve spotted on the ground to your favorite coffee mug.
As a beginner, the process of drawing is all about learning how to control your arms and hands to create the necessary lines and shapes on the page. This means the subject is not all that important at the start of the process.
Doodling is a great way to get started with the process of learning to draw. This is because it allows you to begin drawing or sketching out very simple ideas that are playing on your mind, even if your drawing skills are not quite up to scratch.
Follow A Tutorial
You can also follow a tutorial for an object or character that you want to one day be able to draw.
When choosing a tutorial, ask yourself some questions about how the object functions and what form you are planning to draw in. This will help you to understand what the object is and, hopefully, you’ll one day be able to draw it accurately from memory.
If you’re unhappy with the results, but still love the act of drawing, keep going with your doodles! You’ll be surprised at the progress you’ll make in a matter of months.
What Should A Beginner Artist Learn To Draw First?
As a beginner, you must focus on learning to draw the fundamentals first. You need to start by learning how to draw simpler shapes and then move on to one-point and two-point perspectives.
Once you’ve got an understanding of how these work, you can move to learn how to create shading and lighting in a drawing and then onto color as a final step.
However, the importance and order of the things you must learn when it comes to drawing do depend entirely on what you want to draw.
Our top piece of advice is to select a drawing subject that you are passionate about or interested in. This will keep you focused and will encourage you to do more practice as you’ll be focused on getting the drawing just right.
You can even start the process of learning to draw a specific thing by tracing a reference image over and over again. Once you’ve learned this, you can then start working your way up to freehand drawings inspired by that style. (Again, ensure you have an understanding of the fundamentals first!)
Doing these two actions in a sequence will make it much easier to learn to draw as you’ll have considerably more control over your actions. It will also help you to familiarize yourself with the specific techniques that all artists must know when it comes to drawing.
Some of the most beginner-friendly drawing ideas include the following:
- Cartoon animals
Top Tips To Help Get You Started
Draw On A Regular Basis
Maybe this one is a little obvious, but it still deserves a mention in this list.
To put it simply, if you want to get better at drawing at all, you must make sure to draw regularly. Yes, it’s that straightforward!
Drawing can easily become one of those things that you only do a couple of times now and then. Sometimes, you may draw a handful of times each week, or every single day, and then other times, you may go through a period where you don’t pick up a pencil for months at a time.
Unfortunately, only picking up your pencil once in a blue moon will not help you to develop your skills. Like any other skill, being consistent with learning to draw and practicing your skills as you go is vital.
You have full control to choose whatever drawing subject you want to, and whatever you feel comfortable with, but you’re only going to learn how to draw if you put in regular practice. It’s the most important part of learning to draw and is something that you must prioritize.
We’d suggest establishing a firm routine that involves some form of drawing at least a few times a week. This will not only help you to better understand the fundamentals of drawing but will get you into the swing (and habit) of picking up your pencil.
In short, aim to draw for a minimum of 20 minutes per session as often as you can fit it into your schedule. By doing this, you will (hopefully) be able to up your drawing skills to the next level!
Fit Your Drawing To The Drawing Area
As we’ve stated above, you can start your drawing journey by jotting down some random doodles on the page. No rules are stopping you from making a doodle based on any thought that passes through your brain.
Unless you are making some of these randomized sketches while you practice your skills, there is one important thing that you must do. You need to size and position your drawing so that it fits into the drawing area.
If you don’t know what this is, it’s the area on the page that features a pattern. So, when talking about drawing, the drawing area is simply the space in which you will be drawing.
In terms of a blank sheet of paper, this means sizing the subject of the drawing to cover enough of the sheet but still leaving some space around the side of the sheet. This blank space around the edges is a brilliant way to prevent the page from becoming too overwhelming.
Although this is true, you also need to ensure that your drawing is not too small for the designated drawing area on the page, either. This means that it fills enough space on the page without looking too cramped.
Be Aware Of Proportions
Drawing accurately begins with the process of seeing things accurately. This is when knowledge of proportions becomes essential, especially for beginners.
Proportions in drawings refer to the size relationships between objects. If you’re wanting to draw a specific subject or a scene with accurate proportions, you must employ the proper techniques to help train your eyes as you learn.
You must take a simple object and assign it as your reference object. This will be the thing that you use to measure every other object visually.
When it comes to drawing multiple objects, or objects that have a couple of different parts, it’s important to compare the placement and size of them in comparison to one another.
Here, to create some form of the believable likeness of a subject, proportional relationships must be drawn as they appear on a typical object. This is especially relevant if you are attempting to draw a face.
For example, eyes look most realistic when they are drawn in the middle of the head. We know this sounds a bit odd, but placing these features here keeps things even and ensures that the rest of the facial features are in proportion to real life.
Do Drawing Exercises
There’s no better way to get started with learning how to draw than by practicing some basic exercises!
Not only will these help you to familiarize yourself with specific techniques but they will also get you used to the process of drawing simple shapes, which are the backbone of every possible drawing subject.
If you don’t know where to begin in terms of drawing exercises, we’ve got you covered!
One of the most effective drawing exercises involves practicing how to draw some straight and curved lines. Straight lines can be especially difficult to draw for an untrained and unsteady hand, so practice truly is key when it comes to being a beginner in the world of drawing.
Draw lines in different directions using paper and a pencil. Feel free to overlap any of the lines but do not draw so many lines that you cannot tell them apart. While doing this, keep your hand as relaxed as possible and keep the pressure very light!
Never aim to get a perfectly straight line as this will be near to impossible. Instead, focus your attention on drawing quick and light lines in multiple directions.
You can also practice other basic 2D shapes to practice stable grip and help to find the flow of your drawing hand — the most naturally comfortable direction that helps you to create the best possible shapes.
Remember: you will only learn how to draw by investing in practice and utilizing techniques. The more effort you put into your drawing skills, the more improvements you will see.
Learn Perspective & Basic 3D Shapes
Perspective is when an object looks smaller as it moves into the distance. It’s a technique that is used to create the illusion of realistic depth in a drawing and often provides a specific point of view.
In terms of drawing, you must be able to showcase perspective in a believable way to hook in an audience. So, as a beginner, you must learn how to do this. Here’s a quick guide to adding perspective to art:
- Place your ruler on a vanishing point on the page and then draw a faint line to the area where you want to place the subject for your drawing. (This is the point in space that is supposed to look the furthest from the viewer.)
- Make two or three additional lines from this same vanishing point. Repeat on the other vanishing point so all perspective lines come together.
Before you consider attempting to create perspective with more difficult 3D shapes, you must conquer the basics. Some of the most common 3D shapes you must try are:
- Rectangular prism
You may need an additional tool to create some of these shapes, such as a compass (for the sphere) or a ruler (for the cube), but these are generally pretty easy to create.
Draw Something You Love
The best part about art is that it’s completely subjective. This means that a piece of art doesn’t always need to have a specific meaning, nor does it need to have a lot of relevancy. As a result, we’d encourage you to draw something important to you.
One of the most crucial things for a beginner artist to do is to find ways to remain motivated when it comes to practicing. An easy way to do this is to focus on drawing something, or someone, that you love.
This can be a favorite fictional character, lyrics from your favorite song, a specific person, or even a specific clothing item.
Whatever it is that you enjoy, set your pencil to paper and start to create! After all, learning to draw is supposed to be a fun and exciting learning experience rather than a chore.
Not only is drawing something that you love fun but it’s also an easy way to immortalize something very significant to you.
Give yourself some time and space to focus on a specific genre, subject, and style. We’d encourage you to experiment often enough to understand what you like but to specialize to a point where you also allow yourself to improve.
In terms of drawing, it’s also a good thing to step outside your comfort zone and draw subjects you are not generally familiar with every once in a while. This will help to expand your abilities as an artist and will set you up well for future projects.
Learn Color Theory
Color theory is both the art and science of using color. It is more complicated than it seems and is typically the last thing that a beginner artist should learn while learning how to draw.
This theory is all about the way that different color combinations work together based on where they are on the color wheel, an organized illustration of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.
Understanding exactly how these colors relate to one another, and what they stand for, is crucial for marketers, designers, and artists alike.
We can acknowledge that color is often the most exciting thing about a drawing or a painting. But, as a beginner, you must understand the basics of learning to draw before you move on to adding some color or trying to learn more about color theory.
Fortunately, color isn’t always the most important element of a drawing. Of course, colors are great at enhancing the value of a drawing. However, without firm values, color stands no chance of saving a drawing!
We’re going to be honest with you – learning how to draw is a very challenging process that requires a considerable amount of patience.
Although drawing comes naturally to many people, including those with a great visual memory or those with the natural ability to select items to draw, it does not feel comfortable for others. These individuals are the ones that will struggle with such a skill.
In terms of the hours invested, the total amount of effort, and the passion that is required to create something on the page, learning how to draw anything is very similar to learning a new musical instrument or a new style of dancing.
These are two specific activities that require lots of practice, time, and effort. They also require some considerable patience — much like drawing.
Fortunately, taking your time to learn how to draw is a highly rewarding activity with endless rewards. Not only do you get a better understanding of how images work, and how to put pencil to paper, but you’ll also enhance your creative thinking skills.
You will also learn the skills to communicate effectively via images, helping you to get a better understanding of your imagination and the natural world.
Yes, it may feel like a lifetime until you are officially able to draw whatever you want and have it turn out well, but the time you put into practicing and honing your skills will be highly beneficial.
Take Some Classes
If you’re someone who learns by example, why not consider signing yourself up for a couple of drawing or art classes? There are plenty of ongoing classes out there for you to try, and you don’t even have to leave your home to experience them!
Learning in a group of anywhere from 20 to 30 people can be considerably less stressful than private tutoring. It does mean less one-on-one time with a tutor but it can be just as helpful — plus, you get to socialize with other like-minded individuals!
These tend to run a few times a week after usual working hours for a set period of a couple of weeks. They’re usually taught by experienced tutors, some of whom tend to be educational professionals. This is brilliant as the tutors can answer all of your questions without any issues.
If personalized tutoring is better for you, and money is not an object, there are plenty of tutors out there to help you. This individual can provide tailored help to get you started on your drawing journey as soon as possible.
These classes are tailored to your schedule and allow you to ask whatever questions you can think of. You’ll also be more motivated to practice considering the tutor is offering some one-on-one help!
These are as comprehensive as physical classes but don’t require you to leave your home. They fit well into your schedule and provide you with the opportunity to learn a new skill on your terms.
These classes tend to include videos, quizzes, and written material for you to view at your leisure. There’s often lots of content to consume that can be easily digested. One of the downsides is that you cannot contact a tutor to help resolve any issues.
YouTube is an incredible platform packed with millions of informative videos, all of which are completely free to watch! If you want to understand more about a specific part of the drawing process such as perspective or shading, there’s a video tutorial out there for you to follow.
As great as it is, YouTube also has its limitations as a teaching option. Most importantly, it can typically be difficult trying to locate the best video for you amongst thousands of useless ones.
Explore And Have Fun!
Drawing is a skill that requires lots of patience and enthusiasm, yes, but it also requires you to be curious — especially if you want to have any sort of success.
You must be enthusiastic to learn about the different drawing styles and techniques out there as these will be of significant help when it comes to developing your drawing skills.
Having a sort of childlike curiosity when it comes to learning how to draw will also provide many incredible opportunities to explore new genres and overall concepts that you would otherwise not have ever considered before.
Most importantly, you must have fun while learning how to draw. Having to learn so many techniques and basic principles can be tricky at times but the process is made considerably easier when you are enjoying yourself.
As a beginner, drawing can look impossibly difficult. While that is somewhat true, considering how much practice, energy, and time you must dedicate to the art of drawing, it is no longer completely impossible to accomplish.
Even if you don’t feel that you have an artistic bone in your body, there are many ways you can hone your skills and start learning how to draw.
If you are a beginner who is serious about learning how to draw, make sure you factor in some dedicated practice time a couple of times a week. This will enable you to focus on your skills and will result in significant developments in terms of your drawing abilities.
Start simple and then gradually start to increase the difficulty as you learn new drawing skills and put them to the test.
Joseph Colella (Joe Colella) is an Editor and Writer at WastedTalentInc. As a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech). While Joseph holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent fashion he spent years applying for various Art degrees; from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), to failing to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney. While he jokes about his failures at gaining formal art qualifications, as a self-taught artist he has had a fruitful career in business, technology and the arts. His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. Joseph’s art has been sold to private collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia. He is a trusted source for reliable art advice and tutorials to copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.
He also loves all things watches (ok it’s an addiction) so show him some love and visit his other website https://expertdivewatch.com