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Great tips and tricks to Improve your Drawing Skills.

Updated on January 4, 2016
Painting by Brice Marden
Painting by Brice Marden

Tips to Draw Better - Everybody Can Do It.

Before we learn to read or write we start to draw. Drawing is an act of expression that starts at the moment we put the pencil on the paper. Drawing is a form of communication and helps us to get a grip on the world around us.

If you look at the drawings of toddlers you see that they draw stories. Stories about the people and objects they know best. It is for them a great way to express their emotions and feelings.
And it is because we start to draw so early in life that a drawing becomes an incredible personal and unique thing.
Are you thinking big, or small, extrovert or introvert, lyrical or bold. There are tons of words you can use for describing a drawing and still the words will not capture the whole image. But if you have the feeling that you can not describe a drawing, don't worry, you can learn to express what you see and feel when looking at modern art. And talking about art will help you making your own drawings better. It helps you focus and it is good to know what you want to see in your own drawings and what you don't like.

Understanding how drawings work, why one drawing is good and another isn't makes your own drawings better as well. Here I will explain some of the elements in drawing that can be helpful to make your own drawings better. I will not bore you with classical excises like perspective, shading or still life drawing. I want to give you tips and advise about drawings whatever your subject may be.

The Painting above is from the American artist Brice Marden

The reason why the painting is so interesting - well to me it's almost a drawing - is that Brice Marden uses the line in may ways.

Sometimes he firmly uses the brush and the line thickens, then he let loose and the line almost disappears. He connect lines and let them entangle with each other, making knots. Sometimes the line is just a line, then it's the border of the empty space that divides the lines. The directions and curves of the painting gives emotion to it as well. Also the speed he used in drawing the lines. Go fast in one way, slow in the other.

a different pressure of the brush or pencil, thick or thin lines, painted with speed or extreme slow, all these element enrich a drawing.

Drawingbooks I own or are on my list

Drawing Book: A Survey of Drawing : The Primary Means of Expression
Drawing Book: A Survey of Drawing : The Primary Means of Expression

The Drawing Book by Tania Kovats is perhaps the most precious art book I possess. The book is full of drawings from modern and classic artists. It contains an enormous eclectic collection of drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci, Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois but Charles Darwin and Rodin as well.


4 Tips to Improve Your Drawing Skills - Improving Your Drawing Skills.

  1. Variation
  2. Layers in a drawing. Depth
  3. Remember : The line has a width as well. it can be thick, it can be thin in one stroke.
  4. Always draw the details in the final stage.

Joost Gerritsen
Joost Gerritsen

1. Variation the best advise to make you drawing look better

Why is my drawing dull

Why doesn't it work, I had an idea, tried to capture it in a drawing, but it didn't work out. Why?

Didn't you ask this question over and over again.

I did and still do.

I found out that it's often lack of variation in the drawing. The lines are drawn with the same speed, the same thickness, there are only round lines, no sharp corners,or the shade is to flat, not enough degrees in grey.

What you have to do is to use variation in your drawing. Dark heavy lines against fragile thin lines. draw quickly and slowly in the same drawing. Use long lines and short lines. Dots crosses and stripes. Use different materials. Or if you prefer only to draw with pencil, use different softnesses. 8b,6b,4b,2b,hb,2h,4h.

Use them all. (8b is an extreme soft pencil and 4h is hard pencil for fine thin lines.)

St. Sebastian by Francis Picabia
St. Sebastian by Francis Picabia

2. Creating depth by using transparent images in on drawing.

composition, a myth ?

Whatever you draw, there is always this thing called composition. From landscape to the abstract, you will always want a good "feel" about the drawing.

You don't have to use depth in your drawing, but if you do, it creates instantaneous a more interesting picture.

Because to put all the elements next to each other without overlapping, you need to be very good in controlling the inner and outer forms drawn on your paper. It's easier to put things on top of each other, or behind each other. In such a way you create depth in your drawing, and the good thing is, you don't have to learn any perspective if you do.

And if you really want to make your painting interesting, make some of the objects see-through. Look at the picture of San Sebastian made by Francis Picabia. He didn't use any perspective but the drawing has depth because he drew several images on top of each other. And thus creating a story where you as a viewer are drawn into the drawing because you want to know what all the drawings are about.

Philip Guston
Philip Guston

3. Use the variation of the thickness of a line to improve your drawing.

bold or subtle ?

Sometimes you forget, but one line can be thick in the beginning and thin in the end. It will create an illusion of a shadow.

A line is more than the border of two separate parts. It has a quality in itself. try it. use your pencil or marker and draw a line. pressing lightly on the pencil in the beginning and later on much harder. Perhaps you turn your pencil while drawing the line as well and at some thickness to it, using the side of the pencil

Not only the pressure of the pencil helps you to make your drawing more vivid and attractive, using different sizes of brushes to make them thinner or thicker helps as well. Start with a thick heavy brush for instance and then slowly replace this one with a smaller one.

Again it's all about variation.

Grayson Perry
Grayson Perry

4. Always draw the details of a drawing in the final stage.

drawing is like cooking

Whatever you do, you always start at the basics.

If you build a house you start by creating a foundation.

If you're baking a pie, you start by making the dough. Only when you serve, you put the strawberries on top.

Like so with creating a drawing. You start with an idea, secondly you think about the order of thinks. If you're working with color it's even a bit more complicated because something you just painted black is very difficult to change in to pure yellow.

So a bit of a structure, comes in handy. Even if you improvise and go crazy. Remember, all those jazz musicians who improvise, still do so with a theme in there head. They have an idea about what they want to create. And only by creating they finally know what it was they where looking for.

So start with the foundation, how big will the drawing be. Do I want my drawing always on the same size of paper, or do I want to use variation in my sizes? Squares,A4, 20x40 inch, 10x 130 inch. Just try it out. And you will notice the importance of the size of the paper.

As well as the color of the paper (plain white like a4 paper, or a bit beige,black or red - the background color does count)

During the process of drawing you will start slowly, then building up momentum and finally there will be a stage you have to finish the drawing.

But remember, never draw the eyes first, save them for last. As well the stuff you use to jazz up your drawing. ( for instance stuff like silver markers or text. )

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) - free improvisation in the arts

A special artist who introduced the word Composition as a title for a work. His work was closely related with music.

Philip Guston - a life lived

Sigmar Polke

Sigmar Polke
Sigmar Polke

Enjoy Your Drawing - Because Drawing Is like Playing

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    • profile image

      TheDeeperWell 4 years ago

      Thank you for another interesting lens about making art.

    • profile image

      westlandplacestudios 5 years ago

      Great Lens. Drawing really is the basis of great art. Thanks for sharing. Westland Place Studios

    • profile image

      RocklawnArts 5 years ago

      Thanks for the reminder to get back to drawing! (Also, you have a typo in your top field's heading: "Drawing - evertbody can do it." everybody) Cheers!

    • PeterStip profile image

      PeterStip 5 years ago

      @kathysart: thanks, I hope to expand this lens.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      Great tips.. thanks with a THUMBS UP

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Nice informative lens!