In this post, I cover 25 types of drawing styles for you to consider and try right now using any type of pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, paint (oil paint, acrylic paint) etc to suit your style.
- Anamorphic / Anamorphosis Drawing Style
- Architectural Drawings
- Cartoon Drawings
- Doodle Drawings
- Fashion Design
- Line Drawing
- Photorealism / Hyperrealist Drawings
- Pointillism Drawings
- Traditional Sketching
- Abstract drawing
- Charcoal drawing
- Contour drawing
- Digital drawing
- Gesture drawing
- Graphite drawing
- Ink drawing
- Landscape drawing
- Life drawing
- Pastel drawing
- Perspective drawing
- Still life drawing
- Surrealist drawing
- Technical drawing
Let’s Go Into the 25 Types of Drawing Styles To Try Right Now
Let’s take a look at 25 types of drawing styles I think you should try right now and I follow this list with some additional types of drawing styles if none of these were of interest to you.
1. ANAMORPHIC/ANAMORPHOSIS DRAWING STYLE
If you want to master the art of creating three-dimensional illusions using what is called distorted projection, then anamorphic drawing is the way to go.
This technique requires a high level of skill in perspective and other visual principles such as geometric drawing and is suited to artists who are or want to be technically skilled.
I first came across anamorphic drawing back when I was a teen and saw skull in Holbein’s The Ambassadors with a memento more.
Can you see the skull central bottom? It looks like a weird design or bread roll until you view it from an angle.
Yes this is a painting but there are so many drawings out there using this technique.
2. ARCHITECTURAL DRAWING STYLE
Architectural drawing requires a great attention to detail, but it is no less artistic than any other types of drawing styles.
Even if you don’t have an official design background, non-architects can still create beautiful pieces with superior precision.
From replicating classical buildings and bridges to fashioning your own imaginary structures – this kind of drawing calls for exactness and creativity.
3. CARTOON DRAWINGS
For centuries, cartoons have provided laughter and satire in magazines around the world.
In more modern times classic cartoons from Disney, Marvel and DC comics down and now to anime/manga, this type of drawing style has come a long way since its first appearance.
What was once the domain for kids, cartoon drawings have now become a respectable art form with the adult acceptance of graphic novels being turned into blockbuster movies.
When creating cartoons, you can let your creativity flow as far as it will go while still depicting the natural forms of your subject.
There are no limits as to what is achievable with cartooning. You can even use your cartoon drawing to make pop art.
I started drawing cartoons at a very young age and made a nice side income in school selling hand drawn cartoons. All it took was a notepad and a black felt tip pen.
4. DOODLE DRAWINGS
Doodling can often be misunderstood as being a mindless activity, yet it’s an effective tool for letting our consciousness express itself.
The great Leonardo da Vinci is renowned for having doodles in his notebooks.
Using minimal lines, you can take the mundane objects around you and transform them into pieces of creative art with a simple sketch.
My daughter loves to turn random doodles into art by adding to them and looking for patterns in random shapes.
Doodling also has the added benefit of being great as a warmup exercise for artists who like to draw.
5. FASHION DESIGNS
Creating fashion drawings is a key element of the design process and a very respectable type of drawing style.
These vivid sketches often display exaggerated, elongated figures to look like models on the catwalk with little-to-no facial features as clothing remains at their core.
I sometimes wonder if art is copying real life or the other way around.
Fashion design as a type of drawing style is particularly popular in the streetwear and hip-hop scenes where fashion designers create their own style.
There is lots of cross over when it comes to using fashion designs, they appear in Manga/Anime and Cartoon drawings.
6. LINE DRAWINGS
If you want to take your drawing skills to the next level, try continuous line drawing or contour drawing as it is also known.
This practice requires that a pen or pencil never lift off of the paper in order to craft an impressive single-line sketch without any shading or contours.
As lines lay at the root of all artistic styles, like doodling, this exercise is ideal for honing your skill and warming up prior to working on a drawing for long periods of time.
7. PHOTOREALISM / HYPERREALIST DRAWING STYLE
We have all seen those hyper-realistic or photorealistic drawings of eyes and lips on Instagram and yes they can be a bit overdone but they do have a place as a type of drawing style.
Photorealistic or hyper realistic drawings can be incredibly elaborate and, as such, require patience.
It is not unusual for an artist to spend hundreds of hours perfecting a piece so that it appears almost photographic in composition.
Portraiture remains one of the most popular subjects among artists practicing this type of drawing style.
Check out the works of Chuck Close who is one of my favorite photorealistic artists.
8. POINTILLISM (STIPPLING) DRAWING STYLE
Though we may associate pointillism with the artistic works of post-Impressionist artist Georges Seurat, it is also an incredible method for drawing.
In drawing we like to call it Stippling.
In this type of drawing style, an artist will use hundreds to thousands of tiny dots to cast light and shadow on paper, when the work is viewed from afar all the dots blur and appear as a normal image thanks to our brains filling in the gaps in space.
As you get closer to the artwork and inspect it, you realize that the images are made of tiny little dots (a bit like an inkjet printer).
9. TRADITIONAL SKETCHING
Traditional sketching is a classic drawing style that many budding artists begin with when learning the fundamentals of art.
These types of drawings heavily focus on creating the forms and contours of an object rather than the details and shading.
This allows you to quickly capture an image and manipulation of shapes, before delving into the finer details.
10. Abstract drawing
A style that uses shapes, lines, and forms to create a composition that may not represent a recognizable subject.
This type of drawing is characterized by non-representational or non-objective art, focusing on the use of shapes, lines, and colors to create visual interest.
Abstract drawings often explore relationships between form, color, and texture, and may evoke emotions or concepts without depicting a specific subject matter.
11. Charcoal drawing
This is a type of drawing style where artists use charcoal sticks or pencils to create a wide range of values, from light grays to deep blacks.
Charcoal is versatile and can be used for quick sketches or highly detailed and realistic drawings.
It can be blended and smudged easily to create smooth gradients, but it’s also prone to smearing, requiring a fixative to preserve the finished artwork.
12. Contour drawing
This type of drawing focuses on the outlines and edges of objects, often without shading or interior detail.
Contour drawings often focus on the flow of lines and the interconnectedness of forms, and are useful for understanding the structure and proportions of a subject.
While more of a shading method rather than a type of drawing, cross hatching is where the artist creates tonal variations by using intersecting lines.
I have seen quite a few artists use cross hatching as a drawing style on its own rather than as a shading technique which is why I have added it to the list.
The density and angle of the lines can be adjusted to create different levels of darkness or texture.
Cross-hatching is commonly used in pen and ink drawings, but can also be employed with other drawing materials.
14. Digital drawing
Artists use digital tools like tablets, styluses, and software programs to create drawings and illustrations.
While in the ‘old days’ I wouldn’t have listed digital drawing as a type of drawing, after dabbling with it for a few years I have come to the conclusion that digital drawing is in its own right a drawing style.
Digital drawing allows for a wide range of techniques, styles, and effects, often mimicking traditional media. It also enables easy editing, layering, and the ability to work non-destructively.
The best digital drawings are like the example below where the artist has utilized the freedoms that digital gives you and explore the limits.
Etching is traditionally a printmaking technique. But etching involves using a type of drawing style where an image onto a metal plate using a sharp tool called an etching needle.
The plate is then covered with a protective ground and submerged in an acid bath, which etches the exposed lines into the metal.
After the ground is removed, ink is applied to the plate, filling the etched lines, and the image is transferred to paper via a printing press.
Until you try it for yourself, you might not agree its a type of drawing style but trust me it is.
16. Gesture drawing
Gesture drawings are quick, expressive sketches that capture the essence of a subject’s motion, posture, and overall structure.
These types of drawings are typically completed in a short amount of time, often during live model sessions.
The primary goal is to develop an understanding of the subject’s movement and energy, rather than creating a detailed, finished drawing.
17. Graphite drawing
Artists use graphite pencils (basically lead pencils), which vary in hardness, to create drawings with a wide range of values and textures.
Graphite is an ideal medium for detailed and realistic drawings, as well as quick sketches, as it can be easily manipulated, erased, and layered to achieve the desired effect.
18. Ink drawing
This technique uses ink pens or brushes to create drawings with bold lines or washes.
Ink drawings can range from simple, minimalist line drawings to intricate, highly detailed works.
The permanence of ink requires careful planning and confident execution, but it can also lead to expressive, dynamic artwork.
19. Landscape drawing
Landscape drawings depict natural scenery, such as mountains, forests, and bodies of water.
This type of drawing often emphasize the beauty and grandeur of the natural world, exploring elements like composition, perspective, and atmospheric effects.
Landscape drawings can be done in various styles, from detailed, realistic renderings to impressionistic or abstract interpretations.
20. Life drawing
This type of drawing involves drawing living subjects, particularly the human form.
Life drawing is often done from direct observation, using live models or self-portraiture.
It is a crucial skill for artists, as it helps develop an understanding of anatomy, proportion, and the complexity of the human figure.
21. Pastel drawing
One of my favorite type of drawing, pastel drawings use soft or hard pastel sticks or pencils to create vibrant color blends and rich textures.
Pastels are composed of pigment and a minimal amount of binder, resulting in a unique medium that offers both the precision of drawing and the color application of painting.
Pastel drawings can be smudged and blended easily, but they are also fragile and require a fixative to prevent smearing or dusting off the surface.
22. Perspective drawing
Perspective drawing is a type of drawing where we represent three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface.
It employs vanishing points, horizon lines, and other guidelines to create the illusion of depth and volume.
There are various types of perspective drawing, including one-point, two-point, and three-point perspective, each offering a different approach to depicting space and making it a drawing style that has sub-styles.
23. Still life drawing
This type of drawing focuses on the depiction of inanimate objects, often arranged in a visually pleasing composition.
Still life drawings can include a variety of objects such as fruits, flowers, vessels, and other everyday items.
Artists use still life drawing to study composition, lighting, color, and texture, and the genre can be approached using various styles, from realism to abstraction.
24. Surrealist drawing
Influenced by the Surrealist art movement, this drawing style seeks to express the subconscious mind through irrational imagery and juxtapositions.
I actually started out as a surrealist artist and got a kick out of being so free to explore what I could draw and paint.
Surrealist drawings often feature dream-like, fantastical elements, or unexpected combinations of objects and figures.
The goal is to evoke a sense of wonder, provoke thought, or challenge the viewer’s preconceptions.
25. Technical drawing
I first learned technical drawing in high school. At the time I loved its rigidness and tight rules.
It is an amazing type of drawing style that teaches you many traditional aspects of drawing from shading to perspective.
Technical drawings are precise and detailed illustrations used to convey information about the design, construction, or functioning of objects or systems.
They often include measurements, annotations, and specific conventions to ensure accurate communication.
Examples of technical drawings include blueprints, schematics, and engineering drawings. These illustrations typically require specialized knowledge and training to create and interpret.
How many types of drawing styles are there?
There is no definitive number of drawing styles, as art is a constantly evolving field, and artists continue to innovate and create new styles.
The types of drawing styles are practically limitless as they can be based on a specific medium, subject matter, technique, historical or cultural context, or even an individual artist’s personal approach.
Many drawing styles are mixed together and many are broken down into their most basic form. Artists keep making new types of drawing styles daily.
The list I have provided earlier includes a wide range of common and notable drawing styles, but is by no means the entire list of drawing styles.
As artists experiment with different methods, materials, and concepts, new styles and sub-styles may emerge, contributing to the rich and diverse world of drawing.
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 making Art his full time source of income from the age of 18 until 25.
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.