8 Tips For Improving Your Drawing Skills

8 Tips For Improving Your Drawing Skills

People who see me drawing often remark that they wish they could draw better. I hear this from my students fairly often. My response is simple: “Draw.” A lot of people who should don’t consider drawing to be all that important. They’re designers or photographers and don’t understand the technical and observational acumen that results from drawing and how it will enhance their design skill or photographic eye.

Drawing slows you down. When you draw, you’re taking time to look at something, to analyze it and reproduce it. You’re not simply setting up to capture it and move on to the next image. You become very aware of form, proportion and color. You come to understand light and shadow and how they reveal and define form. This awareness translates to any visual pursuit.

For those who want to draw better, here are a few recommendations:

1. Go draw something. Repeat.
Practice leads to improvement. You won’t get any better unless you engage in the attempt. The more you draw the more confident you’ll become.

2. Look at drawings.
Whether simple line drawings or meticulously detailed renderings, you can learn a lot from looking at the work of others. How did they use line and shape? How did they shade?

3. Draw from drawings.
This may sound peculiar, but what can you learn by copying a Da Vinci or Michaelangelo sketch? Tons. Learn from the masters by copying them. Really. They won’t mind.

4. Draw from photographs.
For most people, it’s easier to reproduce an image that’s already two-dimensional than reproduce an actual object, person or environment. When you’re working from photos, look at edges, shapes and angles. Don’t trace. Draw.

5. Draw from life.
If you’re just starting out, pick simple objects and work your way up to complex ones. Go ahead and try your and at drawing people and your pets. Draw your furniture and your living spaces. Do you enjoy coffee? Draw your coffee cup. Here’s a challenge: draw your hand. Hands and feet are the most complex parts of your anatomy and are readily available subject matter. If you can master these, you’ll pretty much be able to draw anything.

6. Take a class.
A class will keep you accountable. A teacher will correct your weaknesses. Watching others draw is immensely beneficial for building your own observational skills. Where do you find a class? Check your local university extension, community adult school, YMCA or community college. Another source is your local art supply store, where artists post notices of drawing meet-ups, uninstructed sessions with models, or private instruction.

Try my 30-Day Drawing Challenge.

7. Keep a sketchbook. Meaning, keep it with you, open it up and work at filling it. It will serve as a reminder to grab your pencil or pen and do some drawing. Join the ranks of Moleskine or Field Notes afficiandos, or simply pick up a sketchbook at your office or art supply store.

When you draw, you’re taking time to look at
something to analyze it and reproduce it.

8. Be intentional. This is the hardest thing, because if you want to improve at anything, you must decide to do it. You need to make a commitment and even schedule regular time in your week or your day to pursue drawing. In order to become better at it you need to make a habit of it.

I think it’s also important to understand why you desire or need to draw. For me, it supports my work, but it’s also something that provides a lot of pleasure and relaxation. I simply enjoy drawing. It’s foundational to my painting and my design, and it’s foundational to who I am. I find that drawing something or someone makes that thing or person more important to me. As I come to understand the thing as I draw it, I can perceive how it was formed and why. That leads to greater perceptions altogether.

And for those who tell me that they can’t draw a straight line, I can’t, either. I use a ruler for that.


 

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More on this topic:

How To Design A Drawing

Portrait Sketch Tutorial: Bonita at 102

30-Day Drawing Challenge

A Visual Approach To Linear Perspective

People who see me drawing often remark that they wish they could draw better. I hear this from my students fairly often. My response is simple: “Draw.” A lot of people who should don’t consider drawing to be all that important. They’re designers or photographers and don’t understand the technical and observational acumen that results from drawing and how it will enhance their design skill or photographic eye.

Drawing slows you down. When you draw, you’re taking time to look at something, to analyze it and reproduce it. You’re not simply setting up to capture it and move on to the next image. You become very aware of form, proportion and color. You come to understand light and shadow and how they reveal and define form. This awareness translates to any visual pursuit.

For those who want to draw better, here are a few recommendations:

1. Go draw something. Repeat.
Practice leads to improvement. You won’t get any better unless you engage in the attempt. The more you draw the more confident you’ll become.

2. Look at drawings.
Whether simple line drawings or meticulously detailed renderings, you can learn a lot from looking at the work of others. How did they use line and shape? How did they shade?

3. Draw from drawings.
This may sound peculiar, but what can you learn by copying a Da Vinci or Michaelangelo sketch? Tons. Learn from the masters by copying them. Really. They won’t mind.

4. Draw from photographs.
For most people, it’s easier to reproduce an image that’s already two-dimensional than reproduce an actual object, person or environment. When you’re working from photos, look at edges, shapes and angles. Don’t trace. Draw.


 

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5. Draw from life.
If you’re just starting out, pick simple objects and work your way up to complex ones. Go ahead and try your and at drawing people and your pets. Draw your furniture and your living spaces. Do you enjoy coffee? Draw your coffee cup. Here’s a challenge: draw your hand. Hands and feet are the most complex parts of your anatomy and are readily available subject matter. If you can master these, you’ll pretty much be able to draw anything.

6. Take a class.
A class will keep you accountable. A teacher will correct your weaknesses. Watching others draw is immensely beneficial for building your own observational skills. Where do you find a class? Check your local university extension, community adult school, YMCA or community college. Another source is your local art supply store, where artists post notices of drawing meet-ups, uninstructed sessions with models, or private instruction.

Try my 30-Day Drawing Challenge.

7. Keep a sketchbook. Meaning, keep it with you, open it up and work at filling it. It will serve as a reminder to grab your pencil or pen and do some drawing. Join the ranks of Moleskine or Field Notes afficiandos, or simply pick up a sketchbook at your office or art supply store.

When you draw, you’re taking time to look at
something to analyze it and reproduce it.

8. Be intentional. This is the hardest thing, because if you want to improve at anything, you must decide to do it. You need to make a commitment and even schedule regular time in your week or your day to pursue drawing. In order to become better at it you need to make a habit of it.

I think it’s also important to understand why you desire or need to draw. For me, it supports my work, but it’s also something that provides a lot of pleasure and relaxation. I simply enjoy drawing. It’s foundational to my painting and my design, and it’s foundational to who I am. I find that drawing something or someone makes that thing or person more important to me. As I come to understand the thing as I draw it, I can perceive how it was formed and why. That leads to greater perceptions altogether.

And for those who tell me that they can’t draw a straight line, I can’t, either. I use a ruler for that.

 


 

For lessons and tutorials on
color, design, drawing, illustration and critical practice
— plus an exclusive Facebook community —
so you can level up your creative game…

SUBSCRIBE TO MY EYE LEVEL MAILING LIST

 


 
More on this topic:

How To Design A Drawing

Portrait Sketch Tutorial: Bonita at 102

30-Day Drawing Challenge

A Visual Approach To Linear Perspective

Alvalyn Lundgren

Alvalyn Lundgren is the founder and design director at Alvalyn Creative, an independent practice near Thousand Oaks, California. She creates visual branding, publications and books for business, entrepreneurs and authors. She is the creator of Freelance Road Trip — a business roadmap program for creative freelancers. Contact her for your visual branding, graphic and digital design needs. Join her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe to her free monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 124 Comments

  1. Suitable method for everybody similar to you. What if “I´m not You”? Working a lot makes you tired -only – more or less. Teaching is giving god hints from the teachers experience & the teachers teachers experience. What you are saying here is no more than “work until you´ll get rich. Tnx anyway.

    1. Then you’re lazy and greatness doesn’t suit you. Wake up, great things acquire great work… HARD WORK

      1. hard work is useless if you don’t know how to use it.

    2. “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”
      ― Michelangelo Buonarroti

      1. Great quote!

  2. Your site helped me so much. Thanks! I love drawing but I don’t really think I’m that good but after reading this I’m really excited to give it a go and improve. =)

    1. I’m glad you were encouraged, Chelsea. Thank you.

      1. im drawing an anime and lack inspiration in my head my drawings are amazing but its hard for me to bring them to life. music helps a little but gets me even more off task wat should i do?

      2. Inspiration does not just show up. We need to pursue it, and not only when we’re drawing.

        One way I pursue inspiration is by reading. The ability to form images in my imagination is helped by reading. I also intentionally look for inspiration everywhere I go. So I look at packaging when I’m in a store, billboards, signs, movies, newspapers, and just watching people as a I through my day. To be good at drawing we need to be good observers, and be intentional about being inspired by what we see.

    2. I totally feel ya

  3. This site helped a lot i cant wait to get started on this

  4. Good advice thanks. I was fortunate to study photography at an art college where tutors subscribed to the value of drawing.

  5. hey thanks a lot man. i have always been good at drawing or sketching but i have never gotten into really improving it. now i am and this helped a lot thanks again.

  6. Interesting, learned from this too…

  7. I found true, deep meaning with this. Personally, I strive to be a better musician, photographer, and writer. Ultimately, my goal is to become a master of arts. Your last point (Be Intentional) can really be applied to anything. If something is a part of you, you’ll find the time to make it happen. In order for something to be a part of you, you must first understand what it truly is. Thank you, Alvalyn, for showing me what it really means to be artist and a human being with a renewed purpose.

    1. I appreciate your comment and am glad you found this article meaningful. Thanks!

  8. I have wasted enough time already, cause I had minor difficulties in reproducing objects at an earlier age but I had no ‘intension’, I stopped as a result. Thanks dude, I’l be intensional now and build from that little I had, [if its still there, otherwise its for restarting with intension ha ha]. . .

  9. Very insightful. I now want a moleskine. No, I NEEED a moleskine. XD
    This was a very helpful article.

    1. Moleskine will be happy to hear that. I used a wire-bound sketchbook more often than a Moleskine because it folds over, which is often more convenient for me. But don’t tell the good folk at Moleskine that.

      I checked out your work. Love your use of line – very expressive. Thanks for your comment.

  10. ur comments was attaract me but in my area there is no achivement insketching

  11. Hey man, i really appreciate your article. you know when i was a child i do alot of drawings and different type of mosaic, two dimension art carve and i am really known for this. but at a point when am go to attend my senior high school i change to science and now i study Computer&Electronics Eng. but at a point i have a deep thought and i saw that, the most thing i do best and enjoying doing is this art work and your article really open my mind towards many unclear things. dont mind if we can get intouch with u by email or something for some tip advise.

    Thanks

    1. Even if you aren’t a designer, the benefits of drawing are numerous, including the development of a keener sense of observation. For most people, it’s also a stress-reliever. Thank you for your comments.

  12. I think you are right and wrong. You shouldn’t need to go to a class to get better you can do it yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. It’s true that a person can work on their own to improve. However, many find the structured environment, interaction and direct feedback of a class to be quite helpful.

  13. It is really worth it. Thanks for your advise.

  14. I am feeling grt now and thanks for makeing me thinking practically…..!

  15. Thank you so much for the tips! I’m (I suppose as so many wonderful artists are) very obsessed with improving, and being the best artist I can be because I love art so much! But I’m still pretty young, and honestly, I don’t think I’ve utilized tips people from around the world have. Thank you for some very wonderful insight into things I can use to improve my work. This really made me smile and gave me a lot of encouragement. You’re awesome!

  16. Thanks for the advice 🙂 now I can improve on my drawing easier and I can achieve better grades in art xxx 😀

  17. Thanks for the help

  18. I’ve been drawing for years but i never seem to improve. I have used books and tutorials. At this point i think i need to aknowledge that some people have it and some don’t. Sad times.

  19. Iwill take you wise words end draw everyting in my way and draw every day.

  20. in what way drawing skill is beneficial to the drawer?

    1. That’s a good question. It comes down to the idea that if a person does something, they should be able to do it well, to the best of their ability. There are all levels of ability, but ability can be increased through training and discipline.

      A person who draws should be able to draw well, don’t you think?

      As for the benefit of drawing for the designer, I’ve written a bit about that here

  21. Hi! I guess I’ll try this in hope that it will work 🙂 I used to draw a lot but I somehow lost the habit of doing it so now when I try its not as how I’d like it to be :’/

  22. hmmm.. looks like i need to double my practice .. haha .. thank you. =))

  23. hi, thanks for the advice, i hope it’ll work….i hope you teach prespectivity drawing….thanks lots.

  24. when i first introduced my self to sketches and artworks, I was not a skilled artist. Instead, I picked up a copy of the Draw 50 series as a kid and learned to draw from there, and sometimes I traced the drawings but I knew it wasn’t a good idea. I drew insects and cartoons and had trouble drawing people, and I still do! then I entered high school, and surprisingly I was doing very well in my art classes. Now I’m in my third year at University and haven’t drawn in my sketchbook for 3 years. I need to go back to this routine as I realize I miss it so much.

  25. I think, this is the best way to learn the drawing.

  26. Great advice, but i was already doing al of these… except for: 3. Draw from Drawings.
    I’m Studying at an Art college (first year), and i have every day 3 hours to draw in the train. I want to become a Concept Artist in the game industry, though it may be unrealistic. Thats what i’m aiming for right now… do you have any advice for more advanced artists?

    1. It’s easy for advanced students to become complacent because they’ve “already done all of these”. You know, in training camp for any sports, the players, no matter how experienced, review the basics over and over again. This is a good practice. My advice for beginning and advanced students is the same. Drawing is not like riding a bicycle, it’s more like learning a language. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Keep your skills honed and review the basics.

      The only thing I would add specifically for advanced artists is this: Teach others to draw. When you can teach it, you know you’ve got skill. Teaching will mature you more quickly than anything else will.

  27. Great post indeed..i realy want to b good at drawing bt dont know how..kudos to you dear..

    1. i want to be an artist. but i’m still in middle school

      1. I started drawing seriously when I was in elementary school. I had a natural bent, but also a desire for it. In junior high (middle school), I started taking art classes and checking out books about artists and illustrators from the library. I learned a lot from copying their drawings and paintings. I also visited museums to see the actual work. During high school I took a lot of art and design classes, and then majored in art in college. After 3 years of college I applied to Art Center College of Design and had 3 1/2 more years of college. I started out as a freelance illustrator right after I graduated.

        You’re never too young to begin working on your skills and becoming better. Go online and look up artists and illustrators, or go to your public library and check out books. Get a sketchbook or drawing pad, some pencils and pens, and practice regularly. If you can, take some classes in art, design, painting and drawing.

        In other words, don’t wait to start becoming an artist. Do what you can now. Being young is not a barrier. You have unique points of view to share.

  28. Hi m a gud drawer nd i really liked ur drawing it luks so butiful

  29. Great advice, especially to draw from drawings.

  30. I have been practicing my art work trying to improve. don’t have much time cause I have kids and work. I’m trying to get Better at shading and being more creative. Mostly because I am learning to tattoo. I can usually only draw what I see. I would like to create my own drawings. Any advice?

  31. Sir ,i just able to draw the sketch of the pic present on the news paper ,magzine but can’t able to imagine my own pic to draw . How can i do it

  32. Just saying, photography is more than just a picture or setting something up to capture it. Its not pretty birds on a tree, photography is capturing a moment in time that you cannot get back and is to me something that can impact someones life greatly. A National Geographic Photographer took a photograph of a kid crying next to his dead sheep because someone ran over his families sheep and that was the only way that family was going to make money is through that sheep so they were going to have no food from then on. He took a photograph and that “set up picture” got people to donate money for that kid and he got enough money for more sheep so he could make money. Every different type of art has its own impact on things. So if you are a professor or even teacher you would know not to assume one type of artwork has more of an impact than another because it is not.

  33. i like your ahh mmmmm……….. i can’t xplain it but its so beutiful mostly at the end part thank you can you give more ways of improving?

  34. Dear Sir, I have a lot of attachment towards drawing and I often draw somehow acceptable features but I don’t know how to learn it and how to know its basics. Would you kindly guide me. Thanks

    1. Drawing is actually easy to begin learning. As with playing a musical instrument, it requires diligence and consistent practice. If you are able to enroll in a beginning drawing class, that is a good place to start learning. There are many how-to and demonstration videos on YouTube.

  35. for me i know how to draw bt in graphics,non living objects and plants,so what i need is i want to start drawing living person so sir i need yo help to tell what i need to improve on my sketeches.

    1. Drawing people and animals is no different than drawing objects and landscapes.

      I recommend that you look for courses local to you where you can start drawing people, such as those offered by community colleges, community adult schools and art schools.
      UCLA Extension has a variety of drawing courses both in classroom and online: https://www.uclaextension.edu/pages/search.aspx?c=drawing

  36. i want to learn art work. if some one teach mer i will be greatfull to you…..

  37. Ok, am gng to try again…
    thnks

  38. hi! Thanks for the tips! I really cant draw, but i can do graffiti…on paper
    >…<. Other girls in my class know how to draw better than me. But thanks for the tips! i will try to improve!!

  39. what…hands and feet 🙁 that’s what I have a hard time drawing. I guess that’s what I lack. anyway, thanks… I will try to master it.

  40. how did u do that

  41. thank you for lovely tips

  42. Thank you so much, I’m in 8th grade and have some trouble drawing, people say i’m really good at it, but I can’t seem to find it better than an an average third graders. Although fairy simple instructions, I really appreciate this, and think it may have helped me. Thanks 😀

  43. I used to be such a good drawer when I about 11 but then I was discouraged when my teachers refused to let me take art classes when I was in high school even though my relatives insisted, but now that I want to grow this site was really helpful

  44. Reading through this was quite interesting im have already completed up to step four and I have worked on that for years. My art teachers say I have a really good skill with my art work but one of them keeps trying to make me change it im only 14 but really enjoy to draw it gives me a way to express my feelings in a different way. She comes over and starts drawing all over my work and then yelling at me for not measuring it out but when I try to explain that my art is not all about it being equal its about it being unique she dosnt listen please tell me how I can stop her from doing this.

    1. Hi, Katie. Thanks for your comments. If you’re already good, how will you become better unless you change? If you are satisfied with your current level of skill, stop taking classes and don’t try to develop any further. However, if you want to develop further and mature in your skill, you need to be willing to learn. Take classes, and listen to what the instructors say. Apply what they say. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take some risks with your drawing. If you want to improve, listen to your instructors and consider that they have your best interests in mind.

      Drawing is a form of communication. When we relegate it only to the realm of self-expression, we miss many opportunities. Paul Rand, one of the great designers of the 20th Century, advised that we should focus on being good, not unique. Another great designer of the 20th Century, Milton Glaser, says that we first learn to draw accurately. THEN we can draw expressively. Accuracy in drawing is the basis for self-expression, not the other way around. The measurement of anyone’s ability to draw is accuracy, not self-expression.

      So, listen to your instructor rather than trying to get her to listen to you. Don’t try to stop her from changing your understanding. Be willing to learn from others and you will establish yourself on a good foundation.

  45. Hi. My name is Brelynn. I’m 13 years old, I’m going to be 14 on June 28th. I’ve tried everything to drawing turtorials to chibi. I really like to draw and I figure I want to be a artist someday.. I don’t know what to draw or how to do it. I really want to be able to draw the easiest kind of drawing though. What do you think I should do? What would you suggest I try for a good, easier kind of drawing that looks cool. Maybe still life? I just.. I don’t know why I can’t draw good.. I have a sketch book and stuff. I don’t know what to do. Hopefully you reply back soon. I hope I can at least begin to draw good 🙁

    1. Hi, Brelynn: Thanks for you comments. To draw well, practice is necessary. As with anything requiring skill, we don’t start out drawing well, we need to work up to it. Think of a child learning to walk, or a kid who’s learning to play guitar. We begin with the basics and develop from there.

      Sometimes people hold themselves back because they can’t draw as well as they want to out of the gate. With practice, we become better.

      You asked what to draw. Anything is fair game as subject matter. Begin with basic forms – boxes, balls, cylinders. Find a tissue box and set it on a table in front of you, and then start drawing it. Look for vertical edges, horizontal edges, and angled edges. Look at how they relate to each other. All those edges work together to form the box. Draw those edges as lines. You might be helped by drawing on graph paper – it helps you to understand angles, horizontals and verticals. Or, draw a graph on a page in your sketchbook and draw the box on it. Once you draw the tissue box, rotate it a bit and draw it again from a different point of view.

      You can do this with any object – a shoe, a chair, a mug, a car, a hat, and then with more complex objects and forms – hands, faces, dogs, trees, buildings, etc.

      The key is, if you want to draw, make good use of that sketchbook and get to it. Draw anything that’s in front of you. Make the decision and do it. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back.

      Hope that helps.

  46. Hi, the one main area I can’t quite grasp is shading. Where it goes what it should look like and how to achieve it?
    For example in a face or a crease in a sleeve? Hope you can advise?

  47. Hi, I just have to take a second to say that you are amazing!!!!! I think you have just become my idol!!!! I have been using these tips to help me with a school project and I just went on to your homepage to try and find them again and while I was looking a saw everything else and you are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One day I hope I can draw like that. You have just turned my 16th birthday from a pretty bad day into one of the most amazing day of my life, thank you for being alive.
    God Bless,
    From Jacqui 🙂 😛 B)

  48. these tips were actually good

  49. Thank you so much for such great advice

    1. I am glad you found it helpful.

  50. i really like drawing. but, i’m not sure i can improve my skill and i do’t know how to. but, you help me with your tips. thank you so much.

  51. Hey…nice tips a good starting point for me.Thanx alot

    1. Thank you, John. I’m glad you found my tips helpful.

  52. I am really grateful for your site and all what I have virtually gained. Keep sending me more news letters and I promise to be better then I am now.
    Once again want to say a big thank you for everything.

  53. I learned math because someone taught me. I learned tennis and martial arts because someone taught me. I was not left to guess at things until I got something right. I do not know how to draw because no one will teach me. They say draw what you see and think like an artist. Duh
    If I could do that I could draw but I don’t know to do those things and I guess they can’t be taught.

    1. Thank you for adding your comment, David. It sounds like you might be interested in a class or two. I am in the process of creating some online drawing courses, starting at a beginner level. They’ll be released later this year. If you are interested in knowing more, pleaseget on my list to be notified.

  54. Hi. I’m eleven years old ( 12 in a few days ) and I love drawing. I feel like I’m pretty good at it, but I really want to get better at it, as I aspire to be a graphic designer. Do you have any tips?

  55. YESTERDAY, YOU SAID TOMORROW , JUST DO IT!
    DONT LET DREAMS BE DREAMS, DO IT!

  56. Here are my practical tips to improve your drawing…

    1. Make drawing something you do when your are waiting. I have to spend an hour on the train getting to and from work. I got myself a little sketchbook and draw the people on the train or I draw my hands. If you are too timid to draw other people, draw from reference photos on your phone.

    2. Make your sketchbook drawings practice not finished art. You don’t go to a concert hall to hear a musician play scales. Think of your daily sketching as your scales.

    3. Think Quantity not Quality for sketchbooks. You are trying to fill a sketchbook as quickly as possible not produce the Mona Lisa.

    4. Analyze your sketches…after they are finished. Look for where the sketch is different from what you see. Where are the proportions wrong etc. But don’t analyze too much while drawing. You want the hand and eye connecting without the brain questioning every stroke.

    5. Draw faces and people as much as possible. Your brain can automatically tell what is wrong with a drawing of a person. If you draw a tree, it doesn’t need to look like the tree in front of you for it to look ok. A drawing of a person wont look like the person unless the proportions are very close.

    1. Thank you for adding these points. They’re good methods for being intentional about improving.

  57. I really love this article, it has given me a completely different perspective. I think I am quite good at drawing, but I have trouble finding things to draw. Sometimes I google up “Things to draw” or “sketches and drawings”, just so I can get some ideas or maybe just a bit of practise, but whenever I see something interesting I look at it closer and say to myself, “Nope, you won’t be able to do it,” which I think is my main problem. I have serious doubt in myself and I also have the problem of people thinking it isn’t good enough. I have one close friend who also loves to draw and we share our drawings with each other sometimes. She’s a really good artist, I believe she is much better than me, which is ANOTHER problem I have: thinking EVERYONE is better than me and not just with drawing.
    In my eyes, I always have to be perfect and just right AND, as good as every other artist. Also, if I do start to draw something and I stuff up on something, whether it be a minor issue or a huge mistake, I always put down the pencil and then don’t draw again for ages. I don’t know why I do this, it’s just a thing I do when I mess up.

    1. Thank you, Matilda. Your concerns about being good enough are shared by many. I have many students and people in my own family who back off from drawing because they think they need to be good enough right off the bat. I have also experienced times of frustration will my level of skill. That frustration is common, and it keeps me working hard at improving my craft.

      It might help you to understand that being good enough is relative. When you compare your work to that of people who have drawn for years and years, of course you will feel inadequate. But, if you are better at drawing than you were a year ago — that should be your baseline of comparison. Comparing ourselves to others keeps us from moving forward. This is something you have to decide about – whether to allow comparisons to hold you back or to press through – especially when you make a mistake.

      Mistakes are a natural and expected part of our learning process, and we learn much more by “failing” or making a mistake than we do by succeeding immediately at everything we put our hand to. Mistakes teach us what not to do, and where our weaknesses are, so that we can get better.

      The more you draw, pressing through those mistakes, the better you will become. And you can apply this to all of your life, as well.

      I am writing a series of articles about drawing, so please check back on my blog in a few weeks. You might find them helpful.

      Thank you for commenting.

      -Alvalyn Lundgren

  58. This is frusterating article to read, it’s nothing more than “just draw!! you’ll soon figure it out! just keep drawing!”
    how does one know their approach is wrong? how does one know they are not focusing on the right things? Where is the feedback to the artist that they are doing the right things other than “oh, your end results look bad! trolo!”

    1. Hello, Peter: Thank you for your feedback. I sense your frustration. But I think you missed some things in the article if your conclusion is that I am saying that all one needs to do to draw better is to just draw. Even so, as with any endeavor where one wants to develop skill in something, practice is necessary. No one gets better at anything without practicing. Every time a person draws something — whether from direct observation or source material — they are building skill. Tip #8 discusses taking a class to learn from others. But ultimately, becoming better is up to the individual.

  59. There will always exist people who desire some magic secret (not only for drawing) but I think a great many people understand that practice is crucial yet find themselves wondering -how- to practice. This article provides that answer honestly and directly.

    Whilst it might sound arrogant, I believe both my oldest brother and I have a natural talent for drawing. The drawback to that in both our cases is that for a long time, we didn’t have to work very hard for pleasing results. I believe this has the potential to cap a person’s progress.
    I grew up with a boy that didn’t seem to be blessed with any talent, however he was blessed with passion and a true drive to become better at drawing. He would take any opportunity to draw and would use his commute via train to college as an opportunity to draw other passengers. He now works in graphic design and has had opportunities to illustrate books and graphic novels.

    It really is much more about commitment to practice than it is raw talent.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Megan. I really appreciate your comments.

      Regarding talent, I concur with your observations. Talent is raw material – a seed. It’s potential. Talent means that a person is gifted or has a “bent” toward a certain thing. But unless it’s cultivated, it will not develop into something useful for the person or for others. Even when things come easily, there are other kinds of challenges we can undertake.
      We cannot get by on talent alone.

      Like you and your brother, I have a natural talent and things come easy. That also means I’m lazy by default. I still need to develop what I’ve been given, and have been working throughout my life to do that. One day I’ll master my craft. Meanwhile, I keep working on it.

  60. Dear Alvalyn,

    I am an 2DAnimator..Actually after working in digital softwares..I lost confident on my Drawings skills even my drawings are good..I still need to develop the my skills more..

    Thanks for your Advice..

  61. Thanks for your words. They made me to realize where i am going wrong and why am i not able to perform well.
    Regards,
    Soma

  62. you really helped me with ur article. i am iranian and i was saerching to find a way that can really help me to improve my art skill, i just started my painting class and i am weak , but ur words was really useful, thank you 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I’m happy to be of help. Best wishes for good success as you work to improve.

  63. I’m 12 and I absolutely love drawing. I’m quite good at it from what others have said about it… I’m not really gonna do any job related to drawing though but I draw as more of a hobby and I thought your advice was really helpful! Like Matilda mentioned, I also sometimes get “artists’ block” but usually when I get inspiration, I produce pretty good art. The only problem is that after I’m done drawing, I usually colour in r pain my sketches and that’s when it goes wrong…

  64. Thank you for these insightful tips. I am in an environment where I am not inspired to do art, I just got into college and am new to the place, what are your suggestions for me to be inspired?

    1. Best wishes for success at college. About being inspired, that’s the responsibility of every designer, artist, photographer, and illustrator. We need to cultivate our curiosity, and then curate in order to create. Inspiration is all around you, if you are looking for it.

      It’s pretty well known that as you get to work, inspiration will show up. It won’t just come if you’re not working on something. So my first tip would be to start a new artwork, and be open to observing during your regular activities.

      I have another article here that may help with this: https://alvalyn.com/the-burning-heart-how-to-stay-inspired/

    2. It’s pretty much agreed that inspiration shows up when you start working on something. If you wait around to be inspired before you get to work, you won’t be. Decide to do something with your art, start doing it, and you’ll recognize inspiration when you see it. Cultivate curiosity. Curate art and design that you like. The more you know and become aware of art and design, artists, designers, photographers, etc. — currently and historically — the more you have to be inspired by. If you are serious about creating art and improving so that you can create meaningful work and have an impact on people, you need to be deliberate and intentional. This is true whether you’re creating art as a hobby (personal interest), as a professional, or as a side gig. Take the first step you need to take, whether it’s to get a sketchbook or visit galleries and museums. Then take the next step… and keep going.

  65. Inspirational ideas on creating and exploring art, thanks.

  66. Thank you for creating this article, it helps me to find ways to get better at drawing. I love drawing and I m the best drawer in my year. I draw things like tanks, ships, aircrafts, soldiers etc. But i have struggles to start new drawings, I m wondering if you have tips or advice to help me with the struggle?

    1. Thanks, Michael. What exactly, are you experiencing when you begin a drawing? Is it about how to compose a drawing or where to start — what to draw first?

  67. I can’t wait to share this to my friends and colleagues! Thank you so much for sharing these awesome tips. I have been always passionate with drawing and all kinds of art. Your post gave me extra nuggets of ideas that I would love and will definite try. 🙂

  68. My husband’s birthday is coming up in a few months. I just found some sketches he did back in college, he was really good. When I asked him why he doesn’t draw anymore, he replied that he doesn’t have a lot of time and didn’t think he was good. I’d love to get him some drawing lessons. I love your point about how taking a class will keep you accountable and help correct your weaknesses. I think this is just what he needs.

    1. What a generous gift idea, Lucy. I hope he’s inspired to start drawing again.

  69. The idea never occurred to me that watching others draw could be beneficial in building my own drawing skills, so thanks for pointing that out! Since I was young, I’ve always wanted to improve my drawing skills, and now that I have some free time, I feel that I can actually make that happen. I’ll have to find some art classes to attend where I can observe others as they draw.

  70. you have to give it your all.

  71. this does help but not much for a teen like my self

    1. Hi, Annabeth: Thanks for commenting. So I have a couple of questions in response:
      Why don’t you think these actions apply to teens? What do you suggest instead?

  72. thank you

  73. Thank you for mentioning that I can improve my drawing by looking at the artwork of others because I can get inspiration from their works. I might do that since I do have a few friends who are artists, and I can take a look at the ones they made. Though I am not sure if our interests in drawings are the same. If I ever confirm that they’re not, I will just enroll myself in an art class and learn from other artists.

    1. You can also study the work of the masters. Find an artist whose work you admire and copy their work. You can learn a lot just by doing that.

  74. Thank you so very much… this made my day

  75. I’ve never really been good at drawing, but its something I’ve been interested in for a while and this is helping! Thanks!

  76. To make the clear drawing you should significantly try of drawing on the pictures so that it could make a better practice of drawing as drawing is an art which comes from practicing daily. You can also try drawing with the pictures.

  77. i really dont know if i am a artist or not because other people say that i pretty mastered a drawing but in my side it very hard to draw even my hand or face it very hard to draw , i stop drawing and continue again i think that i locking of some inspiretion please guys i need some advise what i need to do to improve my skill in drawing.

    1. If you want to improve your drawing ability, you need to draw, and do it consistently. No one can get better at anything by not making an effort. If you’re just beginning, you won’t be able to draw like someone who’s drawn for 20 years. Set realistic expectations for yourself. Take it step by step. Pick some of the methods described in this post and get to work. You become an artist by creating art. As you do the work of becoming an artist, it’ll happen.

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