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How to Learn to Draw

Learning to draw

How to Learn to Draw

How to Learn to Draw

The art of drawing appears to be simple enough – just do it enough and you will eventually improve. And while this is somewhat true, it, unfortunately, doesn’t speak to the hidden, subtle complexities of learning how to draw

Learning is never once and done – it is a never-ending process, and this rings true in all forms of art. Because if you want your drawings to be great and come naturally, you must appreciate evolution, continually improving your approach.

The true question, then, becomes this: how do you approach drawing in such a way that you’re always learning more? The question itself is a good place to start, as it opens the mind to new possibilities.

The other good part about this question is there’s an answer. These five helpful tips will enable any artist to learn how to draw in a more thought-provoking way.

Deconstruct and reconstruct the image. 

Often, when you look at a completed drawing, you see every step of the process beautifully constructed as a whole picture. But allow yourself to question how that picture came to be and why it is so visually effective.

Art is thought-provoking – and this is especially true for artists! If you’re not deconstructing and reconstructing the image in real-time, you’re missing a wonderful opportunity to learn.

That’s because this inquisitive process represents the heart of true learning, where all other artistic possibilities stem. Critical thinking is therefore not only the key to unlocking your higher artistry, but it is necessary to continually innovate.

When looking at a piece, don’t be afraid to genuinely look or ask questions – it won’t take the fun away. Why did the artist make this brushstroke – what purpose did it lend to the completion of the whole? 

While this may seem trivial and indeed tedious, you should break a finished piece down into its base, micro components. It’s like taking apart an engine: once you do, the difference in knowing will be like night and day.

Decide what the straight line represents – does it suggest structure or balance? How about an angular line – how does it capture movement? Does the curved line give you feelings of beauty or aerodynamics?

By understanding every aspect of a finished piece, you can better understand the overall nature and impact of the piece. And if you can explain its scientific process and its aesthetic magic in your unique way, you are truly learning.

Draw slowly when learning to draw.

It seems incredibly appealing to skip all steps and pump out a finished masterpiece in the blink of an eye. If it worked like that, no doubt many artists would jump at the opportunity – but where would that leave art?

Simply, before you can run you must learn to walk; and before you do that, you must learn to crawl. Like Sherlock says, “it’s elementary” – and yet, this simple lesson is a bit hard for our human instincts to swallow.  

Consider speed painting, an increasingly popular technique and medium for visual art. These paintings represent loose, expressive suggestions of the visual subject, adding up to a beautifully finished visual project. They’re fun to watch, but not all created equally.

Because anyone can rush a piece of work; and yet it takes true technique to make the process artfully impactful. When people rush and start a drawing without knowing how to finish it, it’s obvious to certain trained eyes.

So don’t rush – a universal rule for learning is to go in the opposite direction of your end goal. Betray your first instinct of arriving at the endpoint and instead appreciate the journey by drawing slowly to enable growth.

Though it seems unnecessary, it will allow you to get to a point where you can draw fast well. Because after drawing slowly, you can utilize quick gestures and suggestive accents to represent complex ideas more effectively.

By mastering the art of slowing down, you will be able to use speed more effectively in your drawings. Soon enough you will be able to create complex pieces, at once beautiful and loose yet tight. 

When Learning to Draw, Visualize the lines before you start drawing. 

How to learn to draw

You may imagine the greatest artists throughout time simply winging their work until eventually stumbling upon masterpieces. And while this assumption may hold an ounce of truth, it’s ultimately a huge oversimplification. 

The true key is visualization, the creative foresight to see the piece unfold. If you cannot envision your art, you’re unnecessarily shooting in the dark.

Being able to visualize your project before even putting pen to paper is imperative to reaching an advanced artistic level. That’s because everything we learn is umbrellaed under how we visualize, making it an incredibly powerful mental frame.

The more you visualize a finished work before working, the more you will strengthen this ability. And this isn’t easy – visualizing is one of the hardest ways to see: it demands intense concentration, creativity, and instinct.

Consider anatomy drawing: the artist must visualize everything from muscles to bones to cells of fat, and so on. Or drawing a car: when you draw a wheel, you visualize the axel, a key element of its essence.

And this doesn’t mean you should deny your instincts while drawing or refuse to take risks. On the contrary, developing a vision for your piece will enable you to take more risks in effective ways.

So keep staring with your mind’s eye, trying to picture all those little important pieces, from close and far away. You will eventually strengthen your visualization skills and be one step closer to realizing your true potential as an artist.

Remember to warm-up every day when learning to draw.

It’s incredibly useful, inspiring, and indeed logical to think of artists as athletes: each must warm-up before their professional act. Artists should warm-up regularly, every day if possible – because if you don’t use it, you lose it.

Draw for one hour and you’ll be warmed up to do the best work you can do at that time. If you commit to this easy-to-implement schedule, you will see positive results materialize each time you draw for real.

And remember, these warm-up drawings don’t have to be particularly good; in fact, you should expect bad drawings. That way you won’t disappoint yourself or forget why you’re doing this in the first place: it’s just an exercise. 

It’s good form to utilize familiar techniques during this warm-up time, as it is easy to do and ultimately refining. Move around and see what happens, with expectations low, and you’ll be warmed up soon, ready for some awesome drawings.

Integrate some warm-up time into your daily drawing schedule, and you will no doubt discover its immense benefits immediately. Because once you’ve warmed up, you will be mentally and creatively limber enough to expand and build upon your talents.

Worth noting is you should incorporate all the other tips and techniques listed above and below during your daily warm-ups. And soon you will establish a self-reinforcing cycle wherein everything you draw taps into a previously unknown goldmine of knowledge.

Learning to draw Requires That You Put in the time. 

Ultimately, you won’t improve your drawing abilities at all unless you set aside considerable time and effort for your craft. And while this may seem like a lot of work, what else would you rather do than what you love?

If you put in the time and practice with your drawings, you will surprise yourself with your newfound capabilities. Every great artist has had that one – probably multiple – lightbulb moment(s) where they completely amazed themselves. And thus, great art was born.

There is a scientific reason to support this claim, as these exercises are a means to reconnect your neuron pathways. Applying these techniques will change the way you think, which is incredibly fruitful and, as a result, hard work. 

You won’t evolve your way of thinking merely by collecting or compartmentalizing knowledge; you must put knowledge into action. That’s because the more you put a technique into action, the more it becomes familiar – completing the cycle of learning.

Still, it’s important to seek new knowledge; and the best way to do this is by learning from the greats. They are the ones who paved the way and innovated, and most importantly, they were disciplined and made it happen.

Put yourself out there in new ways. The more you are exposed to different ideas and techniques, the more you will improve. Take online drawing classes, follow your favorite artists on social media, watch a variety of YouTube videos on sketching. Different perspectives offer you the chance to form your own unique set of skills.

You won’t get anywhere if you sit around doing nothing, nor will you if you draw without discipline or strategy. But you shouldn’t let that discourage or dissuade you – instead, let it inspire you to be your best artist.

Remember the big picture and make amazing art!

Making art is a journey, filled with a lot of hard work, some downs, and plenty of ups. Never become discouraged by your calling, always stay thirsty for knowledge, and don’t forget to have fun.

After all, the point of art is to entertain and express yourself. If you follow these practical tips, you will be expressing and entertaining yourself to a much deeper degree.

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