How to Get Better at Drawing
We see artwork every day. Whether it be through design in advertisements to timeless paintings in Art History class, we are reminded daily of the artist’s potential. But, these things are not just for the artist. Everyone has the capability to be creative—some draw, some scrapbook, some write music. Some people just have exploding imaginations. If you are seeking an outlet for creativity, but don’t feel like your drawing skills mirror your intentions, there is a secret to help you.
Well, maybe this isn’t a hush-hush secret, but one that is often overlooked for being the obvious and difficult road ahead.
If you enjoy drawing and you think you weren't born with the inherent ability, you’re probably right. Even Jimmy in your art class wasn’t born with the ability. To become a successful artist in any field, you must practice. It seems like Jimmy doesn’t work hard to be the next Leo Da Vinci. But, in reality, Jimmy draws all day. Jimmy draws before he goes to bed. Jimmy draws when he’s waiting in the doctor’s office. Jimmy just loves to draw. He practices without knowing he’s practicing.
This is our road block. Do we love drawing? Do we awaken daily with the joy of anticipation to get the pen to the paper? If not, we have a harder journey ahead of us, but we can still eventually have Jimmy’s skills!
Here are some practical ways to practice drawing without dedicating your entire life to the craft.
1. Keep a Small Sketchbook.
We always imagine artists painting or drawing with a canvas set up in front of a beautiful scene. But, the reality is, most artists just take the time to draw during the mundane. If you have a small sketchbook and a pencil with you, you have the opportunity to practice anywhere. Even if you don’t use it daily, it is available to you. Put your phone down and draw.
2. Draw the Little Things.
With that small sketchbook, don’t wait to use it until you’re in Venice watching gondolas pass by while the sun goes down. Use it everywhere. Draw that apple sitting in the lunch room. Draw your co-worker falling asleep on the job. Draw your pencils. Draw your own hands. Anything around you is game. Learning to control the lines when drawing a desk is slowly molding your skills, giving you abilities to examine simple and more complicated forms. You must master the basics.
3. Don’t Be Afraid.
Don’t cross out any mistakes you make. Horrible drawings are going to find themselves into your sketchbook, and you must let them live. It’s just practice. Your sketchbook is a place to explore and learn; not everything needs to be the Vitruvian Man or a Biblical work of Rembrandt. Count each drawing as worthless. Learn not to get emotionally connected to your practice work. This is your training—sometimes you trip and fall.
4. Draw What You See.
When drawing an object, how often do you actually look at the object? While drawing realistically, you must make sure that you constantly measure your drawing with the muse. Does that line curve in the right place? Does that light shine in the right direction? At first, don’t make things up. Make sure what is on the paper corresponds to what you see. This is great practice.
5. Make Time.
If you have a busy schedule but still want to better your skills, you will have to set aside time to draw. This doesn’t have to be much time. Imagine how much you would improve with drawing for just 15 minutes a day in your sketchbook. In the grand scheme of things, you must dedicate your time to something important. Postpone that nightly Insta-scroll and practice your craft, or wake up just ten minutes earlier and start your day with creativity. Improvement involves sacrifice.
6. Learn What You Love.
After all of this sketching and practice, you’re going to discover your niche. If you discover that you love drawing figures, sit on a bench at the mall and sketch the positions of people around you. If drawing faces is attractive to you, draw self-portraits, portraits of your family, and people in magazines. If landscapes are your thing, practice drawing trees outside in detail. Make it a point to practice what you love once you get the hang of it.
To get better at drawing, you need to find ways to practice. We hope you will take this advice and use your time wisely. Channel your creativity into something meaningful!