Are you a fan of drawing but worried that you might not have the chops for it? Did you always admire others for their illustration skills and wish you had the same? Do you feel insecure about your stick figures? Well, worry no more! This tutorial will teach you how to get better at drawing! Drawing, much like any other skill, is acquired, and it takes time and dedication.
As long as you have the right tools and know-how, you’ll be on your way to becoming great at drawing. It is not only a fun and relaxing way to spend time with yourself, but also a great means to connect with others socially, like creating a portrait of your friends and family. You can also develop your illustration skills to eventually become good enough to work for hire through your art! Are you ready to get started?
Before we begin
Here are some things you’ll need to follow this tutorial and start your journey towards getting better at drawing.
Pencils are basic tools for drawing. You can use a pen if you’d like but for beginners, and many professional illustrators, pencils are used as the staple item for drawing. This is because drawing requires drafts and sketches to get the shape you want. Pencil drawings can also be erased if you want to correct anything or start something over.
- Professional art pencil set
- 40 total pieces, including graphite, charcoal and pastel pencils
Get yourself a nice sketch pad to begin your journey towards becoming a great illustrator! It’s always exciting to purchase a new sketch pad and see all the fresh new blank pages that you’re going to fill. Sketch pads come in all sizes but get yourself something that you can draw on comfortably. 5.5 x 8.5 inch is a great size for beginners.
- Fine tooth surface grabs dry media and stands up to repeated erasures and reworking
- Heavy chipboard backing
Once you get your outline in, you can play with various colors to bring some vibrancy to the page. Colored pencils are great for beginners who are getting into drawing because they are erasable. Colored pencils are excellent tools for experimenting. They are cost-efficient, and great for learning how to use color on a page before diving into more complex tools like oil and acrylic paints, and ink.
Colored pencils aren’t the only art supply tools you’ll need for your work. You can always use crayons and markers, but colored pencils will quell your anxiety about drawing especially if you’re a beginner. Crayons and markers have more permanency on the page. Once you feel comfortable with drawing, and confident about your choices, feel free to use crayons and markers. You can even mix up your art supplies on the page to create a mixed-media artwork! Once you feel like you’ve mastered the use of these supplies, you can move onto items like pastels (regular and wax). You can also play with charcoal, ink and pens. Drawing is an exciting world full of various options you can play with, but if you’re starting out, colored pencils are strongly recommended.
- Soft, vibrant color laydown
- Break-resistant (SV bonded) leads
Have a sturdy eraser at hand. It’s a comforting tool to have just in case your lines don’t look quite right, or if you’re unsatisfied with how to drew something. That’s the nice thing about starting out with a pencil. You can always erase! Also, never be afraid to use the eraser. Creating guide lines and small marks to figure out the placement of your drawing like the face or body need to be erased at some point, and all professional artists use the eraser. The eraser is a vital drawing tool.
Having a pencil sharpener at hand is very important if you want to keep your points sharp. Keep it handy, and in a safe place.
You’ll need a ruler to keep your lines straight when you pencil in your guide lines. I’ll get into more detail on what a guideline is in the section on drawing faces and the human anatomy.
Are You Ready to Start Drawing?
There are some basic exercises you can try out to get acquainted with your pencil and sketch pad like drawing straight lines and curved lines on the page.
Making shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles to get used to drawing curves, edges and corners is also a great way to get your hand used to the sketch pad. These exercises might seem mundane at first, but they help develop basic skills that you can build towards drawing more elaborate things moving forward.
Once you create shapes, practice shading. Using your pencil, try shading in some of the shapes you have from light to dark. Once you do this, try determining where the light is hitting the object and shade based on where the light is coming from. Another great way to practice this is drawing still life sketches. A still life is replicating an object you see before you onto the sketch pad. Start out with something simple like a ball or a piece of fruit.
Before you will be able to draw from imagination try to make few exercises. Below are some step by step instructions on how to get better at drawing specific things. As long as you follow these instructions, you’ll be well on your way to making great creative strides. In addition to step by step instructions, there are also video tutorials to help you get a visual sense of how to improve your skills.
How to Get Better at Drawing Anime
Anime illustration is a specific kind of style of drawing. If you’re a fan of anime, there’s a good chance that you’ve drawn a few anime characters yourself. As you probably noticed with anime drawings, the eyes of anime characters are usually very particular, and make anime what they are. So, let’s start with the eyes!
1. Light sketch
Begin with a light sketch using your pencil. Don’t press down on the sketch pad too hard. Be sure to sketch out the eye in the shape of a circle.
2. Distinct outline
Once you have a light sketch of a circle, add more pressure to your pencil to create a distinct outline.
Add the iris. The iris in anime drawings are usually very big, and take up most of the space in the eye.
4. Sparkling effect
Draw a few smaller circles—about two to three—to create a sparkling effect on the eyes.
Now you can dive in with your colored pencils. Add in some color. Feel free to play with the colored pencils, and add texture by using layers. You can try this with more than one color.
Here is a simple video tutorial that shows you how to draw an anime character from beginning to end. Pay attention to the steps this illustrator takes in the beginning. As you’ll see, it begins with lines, shapes, and light sketch movements.
How to Get Better at Drawing Faces
When drawing a face, always start out by using “guide lines.” A guide line is a vertical and horizontal line that will guide your illustration for the face. The cross section where the guide lines meet is where the nose will be. The guide lines also determine which direction the face will be pointed in. The guide lines help you position the eyes and nostrils as a centering point. Once you get the eyes in position, you will also know where to place the ears.
Draw a circle for the head. Sketch it out in light movements repeatedly so that there are many circles in the same area. This helps you have some options for which shape circle you want in your final work.
Bring down a vertical line down the circle in the center. Then cross it with a horizontal line in the center. These are your guide lines.
Using the cross section as a guiding point, draw another horizontal line below the circle to determine the chin area.
4. Cheek and jaw lines
Connect the end points of the top horizontal line down to the bottom horizontal line. These lines are now the cheek and jaw lines of your face.
5. Horizontal line
Using a ruler, draw another line the entire face vertically, and erase the horizontal line, then split the whole head in half by drawing another horizontal line across the center.
Draw another horizontal line across the bottom section to halve it. Then halve the lower section once more in half. Halve the top section as well with horizontal lines. From top down, these lines are guiding you for the hairline, eyes, nose and lips.
7. Add small vertical lines to split the eye line into five equal sections to establish the proportion of the eyes. Add in small ovals between the two lines on each section. These are your eyes!
8. The inner corners of the eyes can be used to draw straight lines down towards the “nose” line of sketch. Add a small circle just over the nose line and sketch out a nose for your face.
9. The position of the lips require two vertical lines coming straight down from the center of each eye. Just below the nose, draw a triangle pointed upwards. Using these lines as a guide, add in the upper lip and lower lip just above the guide line you drew for the lips.
10. The ears can be drawn between the eye and nose lines.
11. Now it’s time to draw some hair. Using the hair line and eye line as a guide, draw the hair in. Using your pencil, lightly sketch out what kind of style you want for this face. Add in hair in small strokes as if you’re drawing out each strand. Pay attention to the direction you’re drawing the hair in. This determines the styling and adds texture.
Here is a video tutorial on how to draw faces. As you’ll see, most of the beginning is drawing out lines and shapes. This is where the line and shape drawing practice gets applied.
How to Get Better at Drawing Anatomy and Poses
If you’re just starting out with drawing, don’t be daunted by drawing the anatomy. It might seem impossible at first, but the practices you made with drawing lines and shapes are all applicable when drawing the human body.
Let’s start with poses and gestures.
- Choose a sample drawing or picture to replicate. If you want to use a physical model such as a wooden mannequin or an actual person, that’s great, too.
- Start out with a circle for the head. Much like how you drew the face earlier, sketch out a light circle in the shape closest to the model.
- Make a box shape for the torso. You’ll be refining these shapes later so start out with a general box.
- Make long triangles for the arms and legs. If the arms and legs are bent, then draw two triangles and let them meet at the joints.
- Make small triangles for the feet and hands.
Now that you’ve gotten the basic poses and gestures down, let’s dive into drawing the human anatomy.
- Make out nine horizontal lines with about an inch of space in between. Between each space, draw a circle on the far left side. These circles will guide you when you determine the proportions for each body part.
- Create a circle in the very top section. That will be the head. Add in the guide lies (one horizontal and one vertical) to prepare yourself when you draw in the face later.
- Below that will be the shoulders. Add in another line to halve the second section.
- Below that is going to be the rib cage, falling below the shoulders.
- The fourth box will be where the pelvis goes. Sketch in circle to mark the pelvic area.
- Let two lines run down from each sides of the circle down to sections five and six.
- Add two small circles for the knee caps just over the bottom of section six, then draw out lines for the legs and feet down through sections seven and eight.
- Sketch the arms down from where the shoulders are in sections two and three. Add circles for the shoulders, and two more circles for the arm joints at the bottom of section three. Then extend the line down to section four to draw out the rest of the arm. Add two more circles to the bottom of the fourth section for where the wrists go. Then add two triangles for where the hands will be, extended to the middle of section five.
You now have a basic sketch of what the human anatomy will look like. You must then determine whether you want to illustrate a male anatomy or a female anatomy. Depending on the physiological gender, there will be differences in shape and proportion.
For more details on that, please refer to this video tutorial:
How to Get Better at Drawing People
Getting better at drawing people is pretty much the same process as illustrating a head, body, and hands. You must first create the head, then determine the scale of the body and its position. If you want to improve on drawing people, get a wooden model. It’s a small mannequin you can keep at your desk. You can move the figurine around to find a position you like and draw what you see. This is excellent for practicing drawing people.
- Jointed and moveable to match most human positions
- Comes with a stand
Apply the practice you did with drawing shapes and illustrate the body parts as lines and ovals to sketch a head, neck, body, and shoulders. The joint areas can start out simply as small circles. You’ll be refining this image over and over again with your pencil and eraser until you come up with an image to your satisfaction.
2. Body parts
Drawing the specifics of the body parts that make up a person is a challenge but it should not go avoided. Just like you did with the larger parts of the body, when you draw a hand, mark up the page with circles, lines, and dots to determine the points of the finger placement.
Once you have all the body parts in place, move onto specifics like clothes, hair, and facial expressions.
Finally, add color. Use the colored pencils you have to fill in the lines and give your artwork life.
Here is a great video tutorial on how to draw people:
Did you enjoy this tutorial? I hope you got a few takeaways from reading this. This list is great for helping you acquire some great basic drawing skills so that you can thrive in your creativity as a budding artist. You not only learned how to draw anime and human faces/bodies, but also animals. Remember to always use a pencil when you start out with your illustrations and keep an eraser handy. Improving your drawing skills requires a lot of repetitive movements on the sketch pad. And don’t forget important tips like guide lines for drawing human faces. You can also apply the same logic when you draw animal faces.
When you’re starting out any drawing, remember to keep the bigger picture in mind. Proportions, positions and directions are important, so be sure to establish these things beforehand. You’ll be able to add smaller details like clothing details, hair, fur, and other specifics once you cover the bigger things.
Most importantly, drawing is a fun and relaxing activity. It can be meditative to practice sketches on your own. Don’t get caught up on small hurdles or challenging things like drawing hands and feet. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. Be sure to practice drawing, and commit to small exercises like line and shape drawing. As mentioned, drawing still life is an excellent way to improve basic drawing skills.
Also, be sure to visit public spaces where you can take make use of what you see out in the world for your artwork. Visiting museums and parks regularly with your pencil and sketch pad is a great habit to get into as an artist. Not only is it a fun way to spend the day but you’ll be improving your drawing skills vastly. While drawing objects on your table or wooden mannequin is great, nothing beats real life. You can find all kinds of people engaging in different activities at the park. You can find the same at museums, and, of course, there are many sculptures to practice drawing the human anatomy.
A museum is also a great place for you to learn about the different drawings that exist. Get acquainted with various styles, methods, and practices of drawing. The best thing about seeing other styles that exist and practicing drawing is that you’ll start to discover your own style, too.
Learning how to use colored pencils is another process altogether, and it takes time and practice to understand its use. Give your sketches life with the vibrancy of color. And when you’re ready, branch out into pastels (soft and oil), markers, and other art supplies with color.
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