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How To Improve Your Drawings Dramatically

From Cennino Cennini to Alexander McQueen, the art world has seen some rather spectacular piece of drawings and artwork that have wow viewers all over the world. However, as much as we cherish these masterpieces; are you able to pen your thoughts, expressions, and ideas on paper without assistance? If you would like to improve your drawing skill, get a pencil, paper and read on.

What is drawing?

It would not make any sense if you are not conversant with the meaning of the word –drawing. From a layman point of view, drawing can be described as the putting together of lines to form an object – recognizable or not.

It would not make any sense if you are not conversant with the meaning of the word –drawing. From a layman point of view, drawing can be described as the putting together of lines to form an object – recognizable or not.

Drawing is the essence of the most art form since time immemorial; drawings were used as a way to connect to nature and communicate with the immediate environment. It is a language (hieroglyphs) to express creativity or what we see around us. It goes without saying that we are all artists from birth as babies learn to scribble before knowing how to rearrange the lines to form meaningful interpretations that we all understand. Basically speaking, it is the easiest form of art known to man.

With that said drawing is the foundation of all expressions and have a number of crucial functions which translates in the outcome of the final result. Drawing is usually two dimensional flat images that depict the picture we envisage and if you are not among the few that are gifted; then follow closely.

Why do you need to improve your drawing skills?

Drawing is a skill that needs more of your time, a lot of observation and constant practice. It is okay to go abstract and scribble all over, but only skills can make it sensible. However, most people find it difficult to change their perception of drawing or improve how they know drawing from what is seen; it makes it hard for such people to learn how to draw or even venture into drawing as a hobby or a career.

We are not going to refer you to a video somewhere on the internet or some expert drawing guru that will whitewash you and have you emptier than when you started we are going to try and develop a pattern for you to follow to truly improve and fall in love with drawing at the end of it all.

Furthermore, in trying to improve your skills, you have to learn from the basic and move ahead one step at a time there are no skipping steps. By following the concepts of drawing one after the other, you get the fun and whole aspect of what drawing embodies. For example, drawing is like not using the math formula BODMAS to solve a question that needs it; you will always fail.

We know that drawing involves a lot, but you can dramatically improve your skills with help; if you are ready, let’s get started.

Alleviate your perspective

Contrary to popular belief, drawing starts from the mind. You draw what you think you see, and how you understand the image before you. Although our hands bring the image to life, the magic of drawing starts from the mind.

Drawing happens when you are able to use all your senses to process the surrounding you are in, and the ability to communicate what your senses are telling you are your first step to draw. Basically, the first step of drawing is drawing what you see before anything else. When you can create a sketchy image, then you are an artist. If you can’t conceptualize the object before you, then you need more work.

How does this work?

Our eyes see an image and send a message to the brain; the brain allows you to see the object in different angle and patterns. First off you have to think shape. Every object is a shape or a bunch of shapes combined together to bring the object to life.

In drawing, circles, triangle, rhombus, pyramid, rectangle and cylinder are the most commonly used shapes. This means that when you see the object you have to do the following to get a proper visual perspective.

Break the object down: this involves using shapes to denote each section of the object. By doing this you are drawing what you are seeing. It will be a mess but this is the start of something new and until you are able to pen what you see, you can’t be an artist. For those of you that are artists, the ability to see and break down an object makes you a better artist.

What if I can’t put down my visions?

If you still find it difficult to pen-down your object, you might be among the millions of us that find math difficult and just can waste time analyzing objects. So in such a situation, we advise you to break the object further by using lines, shapes, value, color, form, and texture to bring the object to life.

Getting it right

With the above, when you sit or stand before an object, start drawing by organizing the lines you see on a flat surface. By putting down what we see, we are able to control our brain to follow our eyes rather than the other way around. The first step is down.

Repeat the process

Obviously another skill of drawing is to practice, but in this case, practice what you already know to become perfect. If you are drawing from life object, image the shapes and add value, texture, and shape to it. Don’t worry about the first image that is the rough sketch. Repeat the process, again and again, swapping shapes and the texture until you can see the image in the paper as you actually see it.

Loosen up

You must be wondering how. When you draw with firm lines, you are stiff and can adjust to fit another line in it. Okay, I know this sound crazy but drawing is about using light and broken lines to allow for flexibility and give more room for correction.

This flexibility is in your hands. The wrist, elbow, shoulders and the entire body are all part of what makes a good artist. When we put pressure on the paper or canvas when drawing, you are trying to impose control, instead of taking control. This results in a firm, straight and overly stiff drawings that deviate from the aim. By loosening up, you are allowing your hands to move with your sight, gently producing strokes, soft lines, and instinctively producing an outcome that translates into accuracy and beautiful drawings.

When you draw with the wrist, our range of motion is limited and concise; this doesn’t always translate into soft stroke but great for firming up edges in a final piece. However, when you extend movement to your elbow, you are able to cover a wider range and have increased motion in your strokes. Now when we transfer movement to our shoulders, we get a wider range of motion that allows us to produce even softer or firmer lines as you please.

Tips and Techniques to Improve Your Drawing Skills

  • Sketch first

This sounds easy, but no, it is not. Most people don’t know how to sketch and mind you sketching is more than broken lines coming together to bring the object to life. Sketching is penning down how you see the object before you by using shapes, color, form, texture, etc.

  • Don’t be afraid to use lines

Lines are the foundation of any drawing and the best way to improve and work on your movement and range of motion in your hand. Lines come together to create the form of the object before you.

  • Give yourself a time frame for each object

Drawing might take the whole day, but if you are improving your skills set yourself a time frame. At first, any object will look difficult because you are trying to get your eyes and brain to work in harmony, but by the first stroke, your hands just seem to come to life.

  • Draw different objects

It is not surprising to see an artist taking a liking to a particular shape but to increase the movement on your hands, try drawing different shaped objects within a set time.

  • Draw from life

Although we feel better drawing from a lifeless object, drawings from life object will allow you more options and increase the motion. It also helps you with mastering shapes and observation.

  • Watch your grip

After all, is said and done; the way you hold your pencil or drawing material matters a lot. If your lines are to firm and thick; it means you are holding to close to the tip and apply too much pressure. When the lines are t faint, it means you are holding farther away from the tip; move your fingers close to the tip to add more pressure.

With that, you can also practice some simple hand exercise to loosen your joint and give you more control on your grip and range of motion.

  • It’s all about the shapes

Whether you are an artist, painter, sculptor or whatever; it is the shape that matters. When we draw, the outline is what we draw first. But if you are an artist and planning to improve your skills, outlining the object will be time-wasting, and an impediment to your drawing career.

However, when you are able to see the shapes that make up the object rather than just the lines that make up the object; you immediately start to make process. Even though we don’t really have perfect shapes embedded in nature or around us; the trick is to know the right shape to use when looking at the object.

To do this, train your eyes to see the shapes rather than the lines in an object. For example, if you are drawing a vase; you can see two or three shapes – a flat circle for the base, a large oval for the body and a trapezium for the top. It might not look like a vase from the onset, but with gradually blending and perfecting, the vase will start to come off the sketch.

Now that we are done with the shapes, next are the angles. The angles give it a more dimension and increase the finesse of the object.

How to get it perfect?

There are no lines in nature; the only lines available are those we put there. However, with that said, lines gives us a starting point, but we are moving past those limitations to seeing shapes. So to get you started, always have your sketch pad or empty book with you always. When you see an object, pick out the shapes that make up the object. When that is done, add angles and try to bring the object as close to the drawing as much as possible. You will throw several papers in the waste bin, but it is all part of improving your drawing skill.

At this point we are not bothered about the structure or highlights but how to use shapes to birth an object. Furthermore, you should learn how to use your hand – wrist, elbow, and shoulder to draw; with emphasis on your elbow and shoulders and try as much as possible to avoid erasing rather darken lines that are the exact shape that will be the finished drawing.

To truly get into it, try using basic items found around you like simple household items or fruits; these are good ways to get you started with learning about drawing.

When dealing with shapes and angles, you need to add proportion to the list as this will allow you to define the shape and angles of the object. Remember that because your sketch pad is big doesn’t mean the drawing must be large too. In fact, drawing small objects or in small space allows you to clearly understanding shapes and how to combine them to create the object before you.

Techniques that will help you improve your Shading Skills

Shading allows the artist to create the illusion of perspective, light and dark, movement and dimension in the object. This play of light develops the image from a flat object to one that has volume, depth, and form.

For those of you that think, shading is dealing with dark areas alone, this is wrong because with shades you can create both dark and light patches on the object and build a relationship that will between the two. Furthermore, remember that your shade depends on the types of drawing material you are using to draw too. Just like colors, shading brings the drawing to life.

When the form of an object changes; the value of the object is also altered, and shading can help you do that right. When shading a single object, remember that light travels in one direction from light to dark. Mimic this by making brighter the side of the object where the light falls on directly and gradually increase the intensity as you move across the object.

  • Shade in one direction:

If you are using lines, use line throughout the drawing. Lighter strokes to depict the areas light falls and dark more intense stroke until the shadow final falls at the base. Very typical examples to explain how shade works are like the ombre pattern on a cake or for the ladies; the color of a weave-on or wig – it depicts traveling from light to dark or vice versa.

  • Use of Directional Lighting:

To fully understand how to shade well, you can start by casting light onto an object and observe the highlight (the spot where the light hits directly). This is usually the brightest spot, next is the middle tones.

The middle tones are areas where the light gradually diminishes into darkness until they cast a shadow beneath the object; the next tone is the darker tones. When you are done shading, take an eraser and wipe the area outside the object for a finer finish. The same applies when you are using colors too.

  • Texturing:

Shades can be used to create texture to the surface of an object giving it that illusion of roughness and a defined form. Texture can be shaggy lines, dots, fur or jagged edges to add value and form to the object. This very hard, but simple trick can improve your drawing skills a thousand times over.

How to do it:

To add texture to your drawings, practice using dots or half strokes to upgrade the value of the object. When you have your drawing in place or almost finished, you can add texture instead of just using plain lines of shades to create the illusion.

To perfect you shading and texturing skills, practice as much as you can with basic drawings. Texturing and shading use your elbows and shoulder but for a more defined illusion, focus on your wrist.

Although it is easier to work better with a rectangular and square object; to truly perfect your skill, try a curved object or one with contours and dimensions.

Useful Drawing Tips

  • Draw in a space

Drawing is about your ability to manage space to create a unique piece that translates your thoughts and expressions. Some artist will say create a box space and draw within the space. This will allow you to put into place the dimension, perspective, and proportionality into your drawing.

The above are the basic every artist or person that intend to draw must follow in sequence to improve their skills. Other skills to keep in minds are:
Get your space right: We start with having the proper mindset and perspective, but prior to any drawing class or session, you need to have all the right tools at hand. Common tools are canvas, paper pads, easel, pencils, pens, charcoal, markers, graphite, ink, crayons, colors and other.
Next, choose the space free of distraction and one that would give you a better view of the object before you. When you start drawing, hold the drawing tool at the tip, this allows you to feel the pressure that you are exerting on the tool and on the canvas. The closer your fingers are to the paper or canvas, the more defined and fine-tuned your drawing is, rough looking sketches are usually when the fingers are far from the paper; these are light, soft strokes that start the basic of the drawing.

  • Get into the groove:

Drawing is not something that you just get into immediately and hence the need to warm up before you starts drawing. Even professional artist take the time to get into the mood before drawing. This little exercise can be warming the hands or practicing simple stroke on a canvas.

  • Learn to draw circles:

Even though straight and firm lines are non-existent in nature; circles give you a better view of the object and more space to work. If you thought drawing a circle is easy, think again. The non-ending shape will improve your range of motion and act as the foundation to most drawings.

  • Ask for help:

If you are a student always call the attention of your instructor at any point in time during the class. If you are a freelance artist, ask a passerby what they think, and try to incorporate their perspective into the corrections. This doesn’t mean they are right, but it allows you to get another per of eyes.

  • Don’t draw from memory:

Except you are scribbling an idea from your thoughts, it always helps to take a second and third look at the object you are drawing in order to get the correct size and look to put on the paper.

Copying is allowed: As you strive to perfect your drawing skills, it is absolutely okay to draw from other drawings like in books or even your favorite artist to get the hang of it. If you like still-life, a walk in the park will kick your sense to life.

  • Advance to life/figure drawing:

Although not for everyone, it is a great way to improve contours, definitions, and precision. It also improves the way you use your drawing tools.
Never focus on one spot: This is for all types of drawing; when observing an object during a session, remember to take into cognizance the entire object and a particular spot.

  • Know the proportion:

When you look at an object, the brain immediately puts proportion into our thoughts. However, as an artist, it is your job to ensure that the portion flows effortlessly into one another. Proportion also makes the draw have a real effect and makes more sense to the viewer.

For example, for life figure artist, the body is seven and a half times the size of the head, which is if you are using a circle to mimic the different part of the human body, you should have 7.5 circles representing each section of the body, these rules that can be broken if you are going to create a name for yourself in the world of drawing. We are not saying break the rules, but we break them only when you understand how to play around with it.

  • Don’t obsess about perfection:

We all want the drawing to look spectacular but obsessing about how it looks from the start will deter you from accurately getting the picture down properly. So, to improve your drawing skills; leave the finesse until the end after you have captured the essence of the picture.

  • Don’t stay stuck:

rawing is a fluid movement that can be perfect with constant practice. This can be achieved by starting from small objects and gradually develop a passion for live or real objects with motion and more contours. Furthermore, as you grow your skill, you also learn more about how to use your grip and hand movement in more ways to properly express yourself.

Take an art class: you can’t be perfect if you don’t know your weakness and only registering with a class will you know and improve your drawing skills. Being in an art class will also allow you to see different artists, their skills, and how they work. It will also give you the time to choose your style and develop it, but the best part of it is that you have a professional at your beck and call that will pick out your weaknesses and correct them.

Know your pencils: all pencils make an impression, but some pointers make more than others. As you gradually make headway in your drawing career or hobby; one definite way is to know the different type of pencils and how they can be worked to produce the desired effect for you.

Always have your sketch pad with you: as an artist, the object to draw can be anywhere, it is essential to always have a sketch pad and pencil to enable you to scribble your thoughts or object. This will perfect your observation, perception, and perspective skills.
Don’t get too comfortable: an artist thinks outside the box, and until you are willing to start on that journey, it will be hard for you to develop your skill as one. Furthermore, when you master a particular style, step away from it and try another. Getting too comfortable hinders you as an artist.

Stay away from the eraser: it sounds crazy, but constantly erasing will not improve your skill; that is the reason why we insist on having a light grip and learn to sketch first. When you have finally gotten the right outline and contours, gently erase all other lines that don’t have any impact on the drawing to reveal the beauty of it.

Acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them: while your drawings will not be perfect from scratch, getting worked up isn’t the solution to becoming good either. Art is a school, you need to constantly learn and be open to try more including repeating what caused a mistake and master the skill to make it better. Remember that being forceful won’t produce good artworks

  • Trust your Skills

If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will. So even when the mistakes and setbacks are there, always take a step to visualize how you started and where you are at the moment. I am sure you will see a major improvement in your skills.

Drawing or any form of art isn’t something you wake up and become perfect at it overnight; it takes lots of practice, time dedication, and patience for you to be the artist you are. Even well-known artist over the world constantly review their style and improve on it, changing and enhancing it as the case may be.

Furthermore, the art world has lots of terms and terminologies that can help you improve your skills and unless you are willing to learn and grow; you will lose out. However, drawing is from the heart; if you have a passion for lines, shades, forms, values, colors, and shapes; the sky is your stepping stone to becoming another Alexander McQueen.
Finally, it doesn’t really matter where you are now, keep practicing and develop those talents with flinching. Drawing takes time, and only the patient ones succeed.

How To Improve Your Drawings Dramatically
Article Name
How To Improve Your Drawings Dramatically
Every artist is always saddled with "how to improve your drawing" dilemma so this is why this guide has been put in place.
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Improve Your Drawings
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