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Art Tips and Tricks - Free Drawing Ideas

Updated on June 16, 2010

Examples for you to see!

A flower template, painted with acrylic
A flower template, painted with acrylic
an acrylic wash on part of a bear, leaving detail showing through for shading.
an acrylic wash on part of a bear, leaving detail showing through for shading.

Can't Draw? - Cheat!

I have a terrible secret...I can't draw. I love art, have been an artist for 20 years, and most of the things I truly want to paint, I can't draw! Give me a paintbrush, I have no problems-hand me a pencil and I sit there paralyzed with uncertainty. I have tried for years and still cannot get the hang of certain things, like people, fairies, horses...things like that. Those just happen to be the things I want to draw! I can PAINT them, just not draw them, for some weird reason.

So I came up with an idea. I would figure out how to cheat! Now, how to do that?? Well, I turned to the trusty internet-that wonderful machine where all of the collective knowledge of the world is held! Well, maybe not ALL, but it sounds dramatic! Anyway, I started doing searches for free printable templates and stencils, and there are literally thousands of free, printable templates and stencils of all kinds of things on the internet! I am here to tell you how to use those freebies and incorporate them into your own ORIGINAL (or mostly original...) art!

Find what you need!

Say you are looking for a flower template like the one I have shown above for your own painting project. I found this one by doing a search on Google for "free flower template" and after looking at just a couple of the results, I found this one.As for the bear, I found it in a book of patterns and made a copy of it, then printed it out. Card stock or watercolor paper works the best, but you can use regular printer paper if you absolutely have to.

So, I left clicked on the image, then right clicked and then clicked "saved image as", and saved it to my hard drive. Then I printed the flower out on card stock paper and painted it with my acrylic paints. You can do this with just about any art technique, except I would not suggest oil paints. Acrylics and watercolors would be the top two to do this with. The great thing is you can print off several if you need to, and then paint them. You can either use a couple of heavier coats of paint, or do thin washes, letting the shading show through so you can build up color where needed. You can also find good designs in some coloring books. Just copy them off onto card stock or watercolor paper and be sure to seal well. Now, what to do after painting them?

You decoupage or glue them to your project and then seal them well. Be sure to use the proper kind of glue to attach your painted template, or your project won't last all that long or hold up well. You can make a gorgeous painted wooden tray, and if the paint and decoupage is peeling off-you aren't going to like it! Of course, this technique isn't for fine art (all you artists out there, calm down...), this would be called more of a mixed media technique for decorative art. Whatever you want to call it, it lends itself to a much more relaxed attitude about your painting project because, you can keep working with the template, painting and shading, until you get it just right and you don't have to worry about messing up your entire project.This is the very reason I have had a creative block for the last week.

This is also a good way to try out new brush strokes and colors of paint, since some dry a little different color than when wet.

If you have any questions, please put them in the comments section! Happy painting!

Comments and Questions

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    • Laura Thykeson profile image

      Laura Thykeson 7 years ago from Central Texas


      Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comments!

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 7 years ago

      What a good idea! Mike said it well. Creativity in any form is valid and your results a beautiful! Well done :)

    • Laura Thykeson profile image

      Laura Thykeson 7 years ago from Central Texas

      Hello, hello:

      Thank YOU for stopping by! I always enjoy your comments!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      This a very valued adn helpful advice. Thank you for being so honest and at the same time giving such wonderful tips.

    • Laura Thykeson profile image

      Laura Thykeson 7 years ago from Central Texas


      Thanks for your validation of my technique! Always helps to have others agree with you. I love to paint-hate to draw, lol! Too time consuming, not enough color!

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      Creativity takes many avenues, and using templates to draw is as valid as any other method. Your results are terrific, and that's what it is all about. Thanks for sharing your ideas!