What are the best tips for sketching

Drawing for Beginners - 10 Simple Tips

You have little or no experience with drawing, but would like to start? Are you looking for basic information about drawing and painting and wondering how others manage to put such beautiful motifs on paper? No problem: In my 10 tips for beginners, I'll explain how you can become more skillful with the pen.


1. Do not compete with others

You don't care what other people draw. You are you and that's a good thing, and that's why you draw what you want. A tree with squirrels, a bowl of fruit full of fruit, a cloud that looks like a giraffe, or your naked neighbor - nothing and no one will be safe from you. Just sit down and get started. Draw whatever you feel like doing. Make a few quick sketches and don't measure their quality by other images. Do not compare with works of art on the internet. The pictures of the others are always better. Always! It's like in advertising: what you get presented in the media always looks better than what you have created yourself. But, you know what? It does not matter! It is only important that you paint what you feel like doing. Let's go! Sketching is enough for now. What do you care about the others? Sketch what you want and what you enjoy.


2. Start with simple objects

If you are new to drawing, I recommend that you practice on simple objects at the beginning. You start with the rough and steadily improve. You have to learn to walk before you can go on a hike of discovery. So before you dare to go on a winding mountain hike, you first learn to draw circles, lines and squares. This is no joke. Draw geometric figures. Cones and balls that overlap. This is a nice exercise at the beginning. With a lot of imagination, they also result in a mountain range in which you can move afterwards. So draw spheres, polygons and cones. Let these objects overlap and form a mountain on their own. Hatch into dark areas and experiment with your imagination. Start with the elementary, learn to walk and slowly venture into the mountains and nature drawing.

Look at a sphere: a sphere is actually just a circle that looks three-dimensional because of light and shadow. So draw a circle and hatch one side darker than the other. Voilà! The ball is ready.

In a similar way, squares become three-dimensional boxes. All you have to do is draw in the sides and top. Just do it! Draw balls and cubes. That is enough to recognize elementary things: light and shadow and the external shape of objects.


3. Learn to see

Learn to see! Of course you can already see, otherwise you wouldn't be able to read this. But I mean something else: look at your drawing object like an oven-fresh pizza with double cheese. Look at every detail and memorize it. You have to devour the pizza with your eyes. Staring at her so that she becomes even redder. Learn to see! If you don't like pizza, you can bring your girlfriend or hamster over to it. Maybe they'll turn red too?

Look at your drawing object like there is nothing else in the world. Think about the geometric shapes you could break it down into. A pizza is a circle, a woman is a collection of ellipses and circles that make curves, and a hamster is made up of a large ellipse (body) and a circle (head). Neglected details like pizza toppings, fingers or paws - only capture the rough shapes. In the next move, try to distort and tilt the objects three-dimensionally using your imagination so that the perspective is correct. A round pizza is an ellipse from the side.

When you're watching TV, you can use the commercials to look at faces. Why does this face look different from that one? What is the distinctive feature of this body? Does the woman in the jeans commercial have an apple or pear butt? Is the men's eye relief rather narrow or wide? Is his forehead big or small? What eye shapes do you see? Such exercises do not improve your pen and brush skills, but they sharpen your eye and your powers of observation.

You have to learn to see! See and distinguish!

Do not waste your life staring at colorful advertising messages like a zombie, but learn how to see and understand quickly. Fill this meaningless time with meaning! Use the permanent sprinkling of commerce and compulsory media images for your purposes and recognize what is actually pretty about pretty pictures.

If you can quickly recognize which feature is special about a face, you can also draw this face better. If you don't understand the physiology of an object, you can never put the object on paper.

So: The eyes are old and close together, the forehead wrinkles roughly, the hair droops limply, the nose grows crooked and the hump is crooked upwards. Yes - you draw a witch. If you have understood the optics of the witch, you can also draw her and create neither a wrinkle-free virgin nor a quasimodo. But first you have to stare at the witch in a picture or in your mind. Staring at her whether she like it or not! Stare at her until she has bewitched you and you see her face with your eyes closed. Only when you start to transfer this picture onto paper does the manual work begin.

If you are really good, you only see your motive in your mind. It doesn't have to be in front of you, you can try to imagine it. But be careful: the imagination is like a secret lover who loves her freedom and only visits you when she feels the desire to dissuade you from your one-way thoughts. She can seduce you, but you have to let her do what she wants. That is their rule.
And if she tells you about little, fat, ugly witches with yellow-dotted blue hats, don't stop them and listen.

Of course, you also learn to see when you go for a walk or look out of the window. But I think it is better to relax here than to look hard. The lines of flight of the world are revealed to those who seek them. The landscape and architecture are carried by lines of flight. A horizon is a line that other lines strive towards. Buildings narrow in the distance. Everything is based on the straight line at the end of our field of vision. Drawing is fluid geometry. Those who do not recognize, understand or at least subconsciously understand geometry cannot draw - as hard as that sounds.


4. Your material is not a hurdle

Let's get to what beginners mistakenly think of as important: the material. I'll say it very clearly: It doesn't matter what you use to draw a sketch. Seeing is more important. It is important to be able to transfer what you see onto paper or the beer mat. As long as you don't explicitly want to draw or paint a picture, the material is as important as the famous sack of rice from China. Nobody gets better because they draw with expensive pens, no line straighter because it was drawn on 216 g / m² thick illustration paper. The material is irrelevant for a sketch! All that is needed is grandma's nibbled pencil with artificial teeth, an eraser from her cheeky sister and the cheap 80 g / m² paper from the office printer. If there are 10 sheets missing, no one will notice anyway. In the GDR it was always said: "We can get a lot more out of our companies." That's true! Pencils, sharpeners and printer paper, for example. That is definitely enough for a beginner. Later, when you are able to use the pencil, you are welcome to think about getting yourself a more stable 100 g / m² or 120 g / m² drawing pad, because it is actually more pleasant to draw on it. The material doesn't improve your skills, it just makes it easier for you to use your skills better. Anyone who is able to generate yields from fallow earth will reap a lot more from a well-tended field.

For watercolor or oil paintings, also for ink drawings, you need thicker paper, or canvases and more expensive equipment. For a start, however, what you can find in the hobby department of your hardware store these days is enough.

Believe it or not, what can add to the quality of your sketch is the light. Drawing has a lot to do with light and shadow. On the one hand, when drawing, one often tries to capture the relationship between light and shadow on an object. From a different angle with different light, an object often looks completely different. Just experiment with lights and shadows on an object.
On the other hand, you of course need light to draw. Your workplace has to be bright. You have to see what you are painting. I often sketch while lying on the couch. The light is accordingly dim here. This is neither good for the eyes nor for the quality of the sketch. If only I wasn't so comfortable. A place by the bright window offers ideal conditions for drawing. Light is your friend. You should be sitting up straight, not lying on the couch close to the rot like me.


5. Scribbling loosens your head

Let's get to the basics of drawing, quickly scribbling or sketching. Pictures often emerge on their own if you dare to let the pen do its thing. Do not sketch carefully at the beginning, rather quickly but with little pressure. Draw lots of wild lines that are almost invisible. You see the picture in your head, not on the paper, and every line starts to shape it. Your picture is gradually peeling itself out of your drawing sheet, line by line. You are a potter: first you draw a rough lump of clay and then, very slowly and inconspicuously, you shape it into a handsome sculpture with clearly defined and important lines.

In this picture you can still see the numerous sketch lines. Not every line is important! First draw a lot of lines, all almost invisible. Find the right one. Use more pressure to trace the line that best describes your object. In this way you gradually shape the figures and objects in your sketch.

This is how this witch came into being. She's prettier than the two abominations above, in my opinion. To draw figures like this, you need a lot of lines. Don't touch the pen too far in front. Allow it loose freedom, use it as an extension of your forearm. Sweeping lines are drawn with the whole arm. A sketch is better too big than too small. In the beginning you don't need to draw any details. In the beginning, you don't need to stick to small lines. In the beginning you sketch quickly and thoughtlessly from your forearm and wrist. Only later, when the outlines are clearly visible, can you touch your pen a little further in front, draw slower and more deliberate lines and work out minor nuances.


6. If you are a beginner: hatch and not smudge!

I know that I write a lot about blurring on this website. If you're a beginner and want to learn to draw, it's easy to forget. Blurring is an advanced technique that I like to use. Just like some chefs like to sprinkle curry over their dishes, I like to blur the gray tones of my pictures. Not everyone likes curry. Not everyone knows the right dose that changes the taste instead of spoiling it. Stay away from curry if you can't handle it.

So: Hatch dark areas instead of blurring them! Put fine lines close together, use stronger lines for more intensity.

Hatching depicts a motif much more prominently. Hatching creates an idiosyncratic characteristic that is lacking in the expression of a smoothly blurred drawing. Hatching is part of drawing like clouds in the sky. If you haven't married your pencil yet, you don't need to stroke and smudge the works it created. And those who have already completed the wedding with their pencil will know about the advantages of hatching. Blurring is a complicated technique that you can but never have to use. And why should you make it harder for yourself as a beginner than it should be?

Please hatch dark areas, shady corners, the edges of an object, deep folds, holes in the floor, the iris in the eye or curves on the body and leave it at that. Blurring would ruin your craft. If the light falls into the picture from the right, hatch the left halves of your object. If it falls into the drawing from above, hatch the lower sides of your motifs.

There is a very simple rule: you hatch all areas facing away from the light, whereby the furthest point should be the darkest.


7. Find the end in time!

I have one more piece of advice that will greatly add to the enjoyment of your hobby. The great thing about this advice is the fact that it can be applied not only to drawing and painting, but to almost all things that enrich your life. It reads: Stop in time!

Stop your activity when you have reached about 80% of the desired goal. There are very simple reasons for this: First of all, you know where to go the next day. Second, you don't end your work tired and listless, but happy and motivated. You would like to continue, but you are holding yourself back. If you then continue your work the next day, you will do so with motivation and joy, and with the zest for action you may not even know what to do first. This is a very simple trick that promotes long-term motivation.


8. Practice daily!

No matter what areas of life you look at, if you look at great masters in their field, you will usually discover some things they have in common:
  • For many years they have devoted themselves to those things that they are so good at.
  • They enjoy what they do.
  • They carry out their work without pondering about it for long.
  • Ease is her friend.
Maybe you will figure out why this is so.

Even if you don't believe it, you will learn a lot more if you don't overdo it and instead let off steam in short, daily exercises. They have to be short and take place daily. You don't learn much if you drag sketches out of your head and wrist for 3 hours straight. You will learn a lot more if you spread these 3 hours over a week. Draw, paint and sketch every day for about half an hour. 15 minutes is enough. You can do this in a meeting on the block, while reading the newspaper, on the phone, in a coffee shop, or when you are sitting on the sofa and your wife is reading the riot act for you for not putting away your empty beer bottles. The only thing that matters is that you get used to being quick to act on the things that come on your mind or are going on in front of you. You draw with your head. It determines what the forearm wears on paper. And a head is a sluggish animal that learns only through repetition. You can certainly imagine that animals learn very slowly. Some have to be rewarded, others force, others just run away when things get too complicated.

Of course, talent is part of the sign, but with practice and repetition everyone can catch up a bit.


9. Use social media critically.

If you think that you did your work particularly well, of course you want to show it to the world. It's a lot easier these days than when I started getting excited about drawing. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Co. offer you the opportunity to spread your work among the worldwide media and maybe even catch constructive criticism for it. On the one hand, it can be a lot of fun to be praised or even celebrated for your pictures. On the other hand, social media can also be very frustrating. A contribution is not always noticed, it does not always get the attention it deserves. It's best to forget to measure the quality of a picture by the number of compliments or likes. This is huge nonsense! Social media is unfair! Social media celebrates well-known greats and leaves newcomers in the shadows. A star draws a stick figure and gets 100,000 likes, then you come, draw a beautiful picture that shows off imagination and skill, and you are rewarded with 7 likes. If that doesn't bother you, then: Welcome to the world of social media.


10. Why are you doing all this?

The main rule that overrides all other rules and advice is: Just have fun!
Draw for 3 hours at a time, blur your hatching, draw while lying down, distort perspectives, let the sky fall to earth. Draw what you like, what you cannot imagine yourself and have to visualize first to understand it. Draw what you wish for or what you saw in a dream. If you enjoy it, you can draw cackling chickens on your grandma's Christmas napkins with a marker or smear a penis on your drunk friend's forehead. Just have fun! (Without offending anyone or desecrating facades.)

Thanks for reading.

And why aren't you sketching what you're thinking?

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