How To Learn To Draw (A Detailed Guide To Drawing)

how to learn to draw, learning to draw, drawing guide
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Learning how to draw is quite a simple process yet we make it complicated. It truly involves two simple concepts: learning the fundamentals and practicing.

Yes, it’s that simple.

It doesn’t matter if your circles look like potatoes at the moment, if you’re committed to finding out how to learn to draw, I can say with all certainty that this guide I’ve put together will leave no stones unturned.

Maybe you’ve recently decided to take up the challenge of learning to draw but you just don’t know where or how to begin.

And the boatload of information on the internet is making you even more confused, then you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re ready to begin your journey, let’s get to it.

Decide On Your Focus Area

Before anything, I’d like you to consider questioning yourself about what you would like to draw and what interests you the most.

  • Are you planning to become a master at drawing?
  • Do you want to focus on a specific type of drawing (flowers, anatomy, portraits)?
  • Or would you like to learn everything?

Depending on which one you have chosen, this will likely help you to narrow down your options.

Of course, this does not mean you can skip the basics since this is quite necessary to ensure progress in your future drawings.

However, if you’re the kind of person who would only like to draw flowers, then learning to draw subjects like portaits and anatomy would be useless in your case.

On the other hand, if you would like to draw anime, you’re going to need to study anatomy to ensure your figures look right.

You could also be the type of person who wants to be good at drawing just about anything, then you’re going to need to learn just that.

So, take a few minutes and decide on what you are most passionate about and this will ensure you won’t be wasting time on things you don’t really need (as with the case of drawing flowers for instance).

Related Post: Should I Learn To Draw Before Painting?

Learn The Basics Of Drawing

The most cruical aspect when it comes to knowing how to draw anything boils down to learning the basics and fundamentals of drawing.

Without the concepts of lines, shapes, measurement, perspectives, and techniques such as hatching and shading, this will prove to be slightly challenging to advance in your art.

Almost all drawings consist of the above concepts which is why it’s important for you to take the time to learn and practice them even if it might be boring or seem pointless after a while.

So, where should you start?

Lines And Shapes

The very first place you need to be at is learning how to draw straight lines and shapes in different forms.

Take a few sheets of paper and start drawing straight lines quickly.

They may not look great the first few times but the more you do this, it will become easier to draw things later on.

If you have a hard time drawing a proper round circle, start sketching those and then move on to ovals.

This may require you to draw pages of these until you feel confident enough.

I’ve recently discovered an amazing site that will guide you through the process of actually learning and practicing how to draw in a systematic and well thought out way.

If you head over to Drawabox.com, you will learn everything from lines, shapes, forms, and constructing drawings.

This drawing course is completely free unless you require critiquing from the members if you need a clear analysis of what you need to improve on and if you should pass it on to the next lesson.

But I should warn you that this can be incredibly challenging and you might even start to feel a little bored in the first few lessons.

Shading (Building Forms)

Learning to shade a drawing is equally important especially if you want to give a drawing interest and dimension.

Shading through the use of lights and darks (this is known as tonal value) can take your drawing from looking 2D to 3D.

Here’s a great explanation of what shading involves using graphite pencils:

It will also show you how to create that value chart that you can use to reference for future drawings.

Alternatively, if shading is not the effect you are looking for, there are other ways to make a sketch look simple yet just as impactful and this is through the use of hatching.

Hatching is a similar method of creating tonal value by the use of different strokes.

Perspective

I will not sugar coat this but learning perspective will be challenging at first however, with the more you do it, the better you will get at it.

It isn’t too difficult to learn since there are plenty of tutorials that break down the process of perspective in easy and understandable manner.

Learning perspective in drawing is as important as any other concept, especially if you plan to draw buildings, cars, people, and is used often in concept illustrations.

I’ll assume that you have been through the course mentioned above or if you already have the basics of drawing under your belt (although the course might touch on perspective too).

If you consider yourself to be ready for this step, here is a quick overview of perspective drawing:

Perspective Video Tutorials

There are three types of perspective:

1 Point Perspective

2 Point Perspective

3 Point Perspective

To know more about perspective and learn about it in detail, head over to SchoolofSketching.

This is a fantastic resource to understand the basics, types of perspective, and when to use them with beautiful drawings to help you understand the concepts better. Do check them out.

Types Of Drawings (And What To Focus On)

Once you have completed the basics and have a decent grasp on the fundamentals and basics, you can now look for specific tutorials based on what you want to focus on.

If it’s everything, then it would be best to narrow down to a few topics first and focus on those individually rather than trying too many things at once, or else you will feel overwhelmed.

Here’s a basic overview to give you an idea on how to figure out what you need to focus on when learning a particular subject:

Portrait Drawing

If portraits are what you would like to learn to draw, then there’s a few steps you can take that will help you improve.

I don’t recommend for you to start drawing from photos on your own just yet if you don’t have the basics down.

There are many things to learn such as perspective and structure of the face.

But you can start here by learning the Loomis Method:

This method is a great way to simplify and adapt to any face shape. It will require for you to keep practising until you get it.

Here is part 2 to the loomis method:

Now that you have a fairly good idea of how drawing a portrait and face works, you’ll want to do as many sketches as you can using this method.

They don’t need to be perfect but the more you attempt to draw and understand where and how you need to improve, you will notice the difference as you draw more heads.

The next thing I would suggest you do is learning how to drawing the eyes, ears, nose, and lips separately.

By learning how to draw the proportions of them, you’ll be able to understand just about any face.

Try to draw may different eyes or noses on one sheet of paper using different references.

This is a fantasic way to learn how to draw heads in different positions for example, looking up.

Here’s a good tutorial to demonstrate this concept:

This way, you will have more experience.

When you feel like you have drawn many eyes, noses, lips, and have a good sense of how things are supposed to look and be dawn, then go ahead and attempt a full portrait drawing.

Anatomy Drawing

I have to be honest and warn you that learning to draw anatomy is hard but not impossible!

You can definitely become good at it provided that you are constantly learning and practising.

When you first start out, I’m sure they’re going to look terrible but that’s totally okay!

The aim here is to learn how to draw bodies in different perspectives and poses so that you can create interest in your drawings later on.

Learning to draw anatomy as close to perfect is crucial because it’s one thing a view can easily pick up on if a leg or arm is in the wrong position.

If something does not look right, it will show.

If you want to learn anatomy, I recommend drawing a lot of hands, feet, and figures.

You can start off with stick figures if you’d like and work your way up but with the more practice, it will get easier!

Here’s a quick guide that breakdowns everything you need to know when learning how to study anatomy:

Landscape Drawing

Learning how to draw landscapes in pencil first before painting them makes things so much simpler.

The biggest mistake I made was jumping into landscape painting without fully understanding the important bits.

Even if you aren’t looking into painting landscapes, you should know a few concepts like composition, perspective, and learning to draw elements like tress, clouds, mountains and more.

If you’d like to jump into a quick drawing of a beautiful simple landscape, then here’s a tutorial for you:

How To Draw Realistic Landscapes With A Pencil:

The best thing you can do when learning to draw landscapes is figuring how to break down a scene into simple sections, taking perspective into account, and finally adding the details to complete a scene.

Where To Learn To Draw?

There are many places that you can learn to draw and this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend money.

In fact, there are plenty of sites that will give you free information that is just as powerful if you had to buy that knowledge.

To give you a quick idea, here are a few places you can learn to draw from:

Online Resources

If you’re looking for free and paid drawing tips and courses, then looking online is one of the best places you can try.

Sites like Youtube, Skillshare, DeviantArt, Pinterest, and Art specific sites, you will definitely find what you are looking for.

There’s an immense amount of information you can receive if you know where to look and plenty of the above tutorials we have included are from Youtube.

Plenty of self taught students have used these online resources to guide and help them improve in their journey.

You can find just about any drawing course on the internet that will teach you in detail and there’s no time specifications, which means you can always do them in your time and refer back to them on a continuous basis.

Learning To Draw Through Books (Recommendations)

If you’re the type of person who tends to learn better through reading books, here are a few portrait, anatomy, floral, and landscape drawing guides that will be helpful:

Beginners How To Draw Books

1.How to Draw Cool Stuff by Catherine V Holmes
2. You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler
3.Drawing for the Absolute Beginner by Mark Willenbrink
4.Complete Book of Drawing by Barrington Barber
5.Drawing Dimension – Shading Techniques by Catherine V. Holmes

Portrait Drawing Books

1. Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis
2. Drawing: Faces & Features by Debra Kauffman Yaun

Landscape Drawing Books

1.Drawing Nature for the Absolute Beginner by Mark Willenbrink
2.Drawing Scenery: Landscapes and Seascapes by Jack Hamm
3.Drawing: Landscapes with William F. Powell

Anatomy Drawing Books

1.Figure Drawing: Design and Invention by Michael Hampton

Object Drawing

1. How To Draw: Drawing And Sketching Objects And Environments From Your Imagination by Scott Robertson and Thomas Bertling

In Person Training

It’s not a secret that learning how to draw on your own isn’t that hard but it requires patience and consistency on your part. You have to be equally motivated and disciplined when learning how to draw but some of us may need that extra guidance to ensure we’re on the right path.

If it’s in your means and you can afford to go for in person training, this will speed up your learning process and you can get proper guidance and critiques which is difficult to receive when studying by yourself.

Taking an art class will also be an exciting experience since you can be in an atmosphere where creativity is explored and everyone around you understands the path you have taken.

Essential Tips For Learning How To Draw

Study The Masters

The best way to learn something new is study those who have already know what they are doing.

If you copy (not steal) a few artists’ drawings, this gives you an opportunity to learn and figure out how they go about a drawing.

There’s a lot to learn from a master’s study and the insights are highly valuable when learning to draw.

John Everett Millais (d.1896) and Joseph Swain (d.1909)

It’s best to approach it in a way where you breakdown their drawings and ask questions like why the artist chose to draw the anatomy in that way and answer as to why it works so well.

This will give you much better understanding of things in general and a word of advice, it’s great to copy a master’s work but don’t try to make it completely perfect.

You don’t need to copy every single brush stroke but simply getting the essence or a likeness to it will do you well.

Practice Consistently

A surefire way to know that you will improve and get better at drawing is do actually do the work and practice consistently.

With a greater amount of practice put into your craft, you will see results sooner than expected as long as you are doing the correct type of practice.

Practicing daily for hours may not be an option for some but finding the time to practice for just a few minutes (15-20 minutes) a day will absolutely work.

how to learn to draw warm up sketches

Some up of the best daily practices include:

  1. Warm-Ups
  2. Quick Sketches
  3. Timed Sketches

These are often really quick sketches you can do that will help you get into the groove (or mood) even if you don’t feel like sketching on a particular day.

Just by picking up a pencil and sketching for at least 5 minutes might motivate you to sketch for longer than that.

Also, if you’re focusing on a specific type of drawing, doing as many sketches as you can is the best way to learn a particular art.

If it’s portraits and heads you would like to learn how to draw, then sketch 5 – 10 heads every single day or focus on particular features like the nose or lips.

Challenge And Motivate Yourself

There’s no fun in doing something if everything feels the same. This is why challenges are important to test our skills and ensure that we are making progress.

If we’re too used to doing something, it can be incredibly easy for that specific thing to feel overly familiar.

You have to keep pushing yourself to learn new things so that you can evolve rather than staying stagnant.

Motivation will come from doing.

Rather than looking elsewhere or waiting for motivation to hit, taking the action to do something will lead to motivation.

Self-Critiques and Redrawing

Drawing mindlessly will not help you improve in any way. It’s easy to draw a head but if the head looks like a potato or egg, then you’re just going to fool yourself by thinking it’s good enough.

Choose a particalar sketch that you have done recenelty and look at it with fresh eyes. This means you should either look at it the next day or a few days from now and look at it objectively.

The trick here is to not put yourself down in any way or tell yourself that you suck at drawing.

Look at your drawing and write down the ways you llike how something came out but also write down where you could have improved.

Maybe the eyes are too far apart or the lips and nose don’t align.

Look for ways or areas that you need to focus on a bit more and this will help indicate sections that need attention.

You can further go and redraw that specific drawing after practicing and try to approach the drawing in a different way to notice what the result will look like.

Was it similar to the first drawing or is it much better?

Self-critiquing can be difficult but it’s important to ensure you are improving.

Especially if you don’t have resources available for other people to critique your work.

Stick To A Few Techniques

As a beginner, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin by following many artists’ teachings.

If you can follow one artist’s way first, then do it until you have completed their courses.

This way you won’t feel confused or lost trying to figure out one persons approach to a drawing while dealing with conflicting advice from another.

Many of the old masters also studied under other people for a specific amount of time and their attention was dedicated to learning everything they could from them.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try other techniques but once you are confident about learning to draw and progressing from a pure beginner, you can absolutely move on to searching for fresh and new techniques.

In fact, you might even find better ways to draw something from another artists.

Find an artist who really makes it their mission to teach you how to learn to draw and doesn’t hide anything.

Pick someone who you are confident in their skills and enjoy learning from them and the process will be way more enjoyable.

Find Inspiration

Like motivation, inspiration doesn’t come so willingly. You have to keep doing to feel inspired and unfortunately, this is true.

However, when you’re completely at a low or feeling lost and doubtful if you will ever become great at drawing, take a look at other artists who have also started from the ground level with no skills either.

You could start for the term ‘art progress’ and you see how years of dedication and hard work led someone from being a beginner to producing high quality drawings.

This can easily fuel your desire and inspire you to progress in your own studies.

So, definitely look for inspiration from around you and places online.

You might stumble across something which inspires you to draw or you could be working on one drawing and an idea will hit.

You can’t always predict when inspiration will hit but when it does, just know there’s going to be a fire under you and you’re going to love every bit of it.

Be Positive And Enjoy The Process

Learning to draw is simple and easy but it will take time. Unless you’re some genius, then mabe the process might be easier for you.

But for most people, it demands time, education, and practice.

The key is not quite learning how to draw because once you do, the day you decide you should come back to learning to draw will make you regret the day you quit.

You’ll feel foolish to see how much progress you had made and feel annoyed that you quit too soon when it was obvious you were so close.

As long as you approach learning how to draw in a positive manner and have faith in yourself that you are capable of succeeding at what you starred even if your mind is telling you it won’t be worth it, push pass all those negative thoughts and do it.

Because there’s nothing better than investing time in yourself and leveling up.

Enjoy the process of learning how to draw and later on you will feel proud of yourself.

That’s for sure.

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