10 Simple Tips to Improve Your Drawing Skills

Drawing by itself is a pleasurable and profitable form of art, but learning to draw well can also lead to better work in other mediums. Having an accurate drawing is especially important as the basis of a realistic painting among other things.

Improving your drawing skills will boost your artwork to a new level. Drawing helps you to understand shading, value and shape and you can translate those concepts into other forms of art.

Drawing helps keep your mind sharp because it forces you to focus on the world around you which is why so many people use it as a form of meditation or mindfulness activity.

Below are some simple tips to help you improve your drawing skills. I’ve added a few extra so there are more than 10 but more is better isn’t it? ���They are simple but important steps to help you enhance your drawing.

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graphite drawing of a white horse running towards the viewer

Drawing Tips


Practicing your drawing consistently is the number one thing that will improve your skill.

Improve Your Drawing Skills

How to Improve Your Drawing Skills

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Draw something every day. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, just draw whatever comes to mind or whatever you see.

You can draw repetitive patterns, doodles, interlocking circles, pictures from magazines, anything that keeps your pencil moving. Don’t start with something really complicated. Keep it simple.

Practicing will hone your eye for detail, help you develop good habits, and train you on how to draw something correctly without thinking about it too much.

​​2. Trace

Print off a picture of something you would like to draw and then trace over it numerous times.

This helps to build muscle memory for curves and angles on the subject you want to draw and will help to quickly improve your drawing skills.

Also, you can use tracing paper to trace the subject and then transfer it to drawing paper. This will give you a more accurate line drawing to start with.

3. Use Reference Photos

Often we just draw whatever is in our imagination, but sometimes we have a specific thing that we want to draw.

It’s hard to get an accurate drawing of a specific object if we aren’t looking at it.

Using reference photos to see angles and shadows will make the drawing easier to render.

If you intend to exhibit or sell your drawings, be careful to only use reference photos that are not copyrighted.

Just taking any picture you find on google without checking to see if it is free to use can end up getting you sued.To learn more and find several good sites to get free photos, read my post on Reference Photos.

4. Paper

The quality of paper you use can make a big difference in how your drawing turns out. Regular printer paper is rough and will not give you a smooth blend of graphite for shading.

It is fine to start off learning to make marks on printer paper, but good quality paper designed for drawing will be much more satisfying.

Check out my post about the best types of paper for drawing. Most art supply stores carry drawing paper and sketch books.

Try out several different ones to find your preference for your drawing style.

5. Values

Value refers to the darkness or lightness of an object. Learning to see the values in an object will greatly improve your drawings and give them depth and movement.

An apple, for example, would not have the same value on the top, near the light source, as it would at the bottom.To learn more about Diamond Art visit https://justcalendars.com.au/collections/diamond-art

Study different objects in different light sources to see the gradual changes in value. To learn more about value you can read my post on Value.

I use this grey scale and value finder to help with determining the right value.

6. Shapes

Focus on drawing shapes at the beginning of a drawing, rather than outlines.

For example, if you are drawing a dog, draw a circle for the head, an oval for the body and rectangles for the legs. Then go from there, connecting the shapes and adding details.

Keep your initial shapes light so you can erase unnecessary lines as you go.

7. Stay Loose

Most people learning to draw hold their pencil close to the bottom and draw by moving their wrist. This constricts the range of motion and makes the drawing tight.

By holding the pencil a little closer to the top and drawing with your shoulder, you will make the drawing looser and flow more.

It is also easier to control the pressure you put on the pencil so your marks don’t become too heavy and damage the tooth of the paper.

This takes a little practice to get used to but you will be happier with the improvement to your drawing skills.

8. Avoid Smudges

You finally get a drawing that you are proud of. You step back to admire your work and see various smudges of graphite or charcoal all over the page.

Graphite and charcoal are soft and can be easily smudged and transferred to your hand and thus to the paper. You can avoid this by putting something under your hand to protect the drawing.

Some people use regular printer paper, I prefer to use tracing paper or glassine because I have found that regular printer paper can sometimes smudge.

Also, since I am right handed, I like to start a drawing from the top left corner to minimize the chances of smudges.

9. Learn Drawing Skills

I have just given you a few starting tips, but for in depth instruction taking a drawing class may be a good idea for you.

If there are no classes available near you or you don’t have the time to attend one, there are literally hundreds of places to get drawing lessons and tutorials on the internet. YouTube has lots of instructional videos by some really great artists. Just search for drawing tutorials for beginners.

10. Practice

I know I’m repeating myself, but it bears repeating. Practice! The more you practice, the more muscle memory you build and the better your drawing will be.

Drawing classes won’t help unless you practice what you learn. Draw every day. Get yourself a good portable sketchbook and carry it with you.

Practice what you learn and don’t be too critical. Mistakes are often the best teacher.

11. Perspective

Understanding what perspective is and how to use it in your drawing will greatly improve your drawing and allow you to create more realistic work.

Perspective is considered a fundamental drawing skill for artists to learn. It is the art of representing three dimensional objects on a two dimensional surface so that they produce the illusion of depth.

For a more in depth understanding of perspective, see my post on What is Perspective in Art?.

12. Doodle

Doodling is a way of expressing one’s creativity. It helps writers and artists to think outside the box and figure out what they should draw next.

Doodling has been shown to improve drawing skills, as it trains your brain to work in more creative ways. In addition, it can help you focus on a task, by occupying your mind with something that feels like play.

Doodle while you are on the phone or watching tv or any time you are feeling bored.

Draw repeated patterns, geometric shapes, random lines, or anything you can think of. Repeatedly putting pencil to paper will help you get in the habit of drawing and learn how shapes and lines form objects.

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