Whether you are new to drawing or have years of experience, putting these tips into practice will advance your skills. Many artists will tell you that they do these instinctively as I did. I found that doing the same things consciously instead of unconsciously made my drawings more accurate. So get a pencil and a pad of paper and let’s get started.
1. If it’s been a while since you have picked up a pencil with the purpose of drawing, a warm up exercise will help you tap into that creative right brain hemisphere that may have become a bit lazy. One of my favorite warm-ups is to copy a drawing reference upside down. Take a favorite photo or even print out a drawing by a famous artist and turn it upside down. No peeking at it right side up! The idea is to simply copy what you see without thinking about what the collection of lines, spaces, angles and curves represents. So instead of drawing a hand or eye, you will only be drawing some lines. It’s less intimidating and can help you to break any potentially bad habits of drawing what you think a hand or eye looks likes.
2. You can use your pencil to take measurements so that your drawings are proportional. Take your pencil between your index finger and thumb, arm straight out, locking your elbow to keep your measurements consistent and take a measurement of your subject adjusting your grip on the pencil accordingly. Apply that reading to your paper. Continue to take measurements of each line and angle, gradually building your drawing to an accurate likeness.
3. Closely related to measuring is comparing. Compare each line and angle with the ones that connect to it or are close to it. Keep adjusting.
4. Don’t forget about the negative spaces. These are the spaces between your lines. Your drawing will be better if you learn to ‘see’ these as shapes and not just ’empties’. Try doing a drawing by only drawing the negative spaces. The positive shapes will appear as if by magic.
5. Practice. Practice drawing as often as you can. When you can’t be sketching practice seeing the lines, angles, curves and spaces that make up our world.
If you will put these five tips into practice, I’m confident that your drawing skills will improve. Let me know how it goes! Do you have other drawing tips you would like to add? I’d love to hear them, so feel free to comment.