There are many people out there who haven’t drawn much since their early days of childhood. If you would like to discover your inner artist, here are five shortcuts that will make it easier to learn to draw.

Equipment

Drawing is one hobby where you can really go to town with lots of fancy equipment, or you can keep it simple by using what you will already have on hand. To get started, a soft pencil, like a 2B, some paper, a pencil sharpener and an eraser will keep you busy. As you gain more experience, and want to tackle more subjects you can expand your collection to include softer pencils to make it easier to show shading, different grades of paper, perhaps even graduate to canvas and ink.

What Do I draw First?

Start your drawing by choosing an object that you have easy access to, like a jar of pencils or a bowl of fruit. Break each item down to the basic shapes, like rectangles and circles and draw them on your page and connect them up to form the finished shape. For the best results use one stroke to draw each line, keeping your pencil on the page, rather than “feathering” your stroke, unless that is the look you are going for of course! Don’t worry too much about mistakes at this point; the process is more important than accuracy in the beginning.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice drawing and pencil control in general whenever you get a chance. A great time to practice drawing is by doodling whilst on the phone. Try drawing a shape, like a star or a circle, over and over, practicing making each one look the same as the last. Another exercise is to draw a circle and then another one just inside the first, trying to be as evenly spaced as you can, keep going until you fill up the circle. Phone doodles aren’t normally works of art in themselves, but the components you are drawing will help to make your artwork even more special.

Sketching

Another handy skill to master when learning to draw is making a sketch of what the finished artwork might look like, including all the components. As an example let’s say you are drawing a jar of pencils on a desk with a lamp and a book. Sketching the outlines in, without putting too much detail inside the shapes to begin with, will help you keep enough space on your page to show the whole picture. You can then go back and add detail after all the elements have been drawn.

Shading, Perspective and Proportion

Once you get the hang of putting otherwise random shapes together to make a picture, it’s time to make it appear more realistic. It’s important to draw with perspective, showing distance; and proportion, which is the relationship the items in your drawing have to one another. Detailing shadow gives depth to an otherwise flat picture, and can help show proportion and perspective. Let’s go back to our example of drawing a jar of pencils – to be realistic you would draw the ones at the front of the jar slightly bigger than the ones at the back, and the ones at the back may have more shading on them depending on your perspective.

Rebecca Perkins owns Australian based art shop, Smarty Arty. Smarty arty provides learning resources to schools, early learning centers and home schooling parents as well as supplying an extensive range of affordable art supplies.

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