You’ve warmed up your hands, eyes and mind. Now it’s time to put them to work!
What you draw and how you draw it is entirely up to you. During this process though, there are lots of simple techniques you can work into your approach which will go a long way to helping you improve.
When you draw, try the following.
Sketch people and objects as simple shapes first
It can be tempting to immediately draw interesting details, but this can result in the bigger picture suffering as result.
Imagine your subject is only made of cuboids, spheres and cylinders – almost as if the shapes were packaged within them. Lightly sketch these first as a basis for more detailed line work to follow. It’ll make the next stage much easier and allow you to spot things you don’t like early on.
Use a perspective point in larger scenes
Not everyone will use this technique when drawing a larger scene, but it can be an extremely helpful guide, particularly if you’re drawing from your imagination and want to give things a 3D-look.
One point perspective is a good place to start, typically being used for scenes where a wall or building is directly in front of you, ideally being viewed from near the centre of a room or space.
Your ‘vanishing point’ will mark where someone’s eyes are looking at their eye level. If the scene’s being viewed from high up (e.g. a giant) the point will also be higher, if it’s being viewed from low down (e.g. a small child) it will be lower. Try imagining a laser beam travelling from the viewer’s eyes to the spot they’re looking at.
Lightly draw a cross where you think this point should be, then draw a line directly through it from one side of the sheet to another forming where the horizon would be in your picture (even if it’s behind a wall!)
From here you can draw lines from this cross to figure out where walls, floor, ceilings and objects that are aligned with them will be.
Want to learn more about how to draw with perspective?
Check out this article explaining advanced techniques.
Look at a reverse image of your drawing while you work
As we draw we become accustomed to what we are seeing, which can make it hard to spot things being out of proportion or crooked. Sometimes reversing your drawing while you work can be a helpful way to trick your brain and you’ll likely spot problems with much greater ease.
You can do this by holding your drawing up to a mirror or (even more simply) turning the paper over and holding it up towards a light or window.
Try drawing things you find difficult
Let’s suppose you’re good at drawing certain things such as faces, dogs or cars. When you become skilled at drawing a particular thing, it can be tempting to draw only that thing all the time.
However, it’s worth recognising the things you find more difficult to draw (e.g. hands, horses, buildings) and challenging yourself by drawing them. This may be tricky at first and the results might not be pleasing, but you will develop broader artistic skills in the process. Eventually, you’ll find a way!
Return to old drawings and redraw them
People often return to older drawings and feel unhappy with the results, but it’s worth keeping older work as it can show how much we’ve improved.
Try redrawing a picture you created a few months, or even years ago, and try improving it. What changed? Are there certain things you’re better at drawing now?
The great thing about art is that there isn’t a “right” way of doing it. Everyone has their own approach, style and subject matter.
What matters is that your work is passionate, daring and something only you could make! Have faith in your abilities, try new things and find your own creative voice!