Want to improve your drawing?

Fruit sketch

Want to improve your drawing? Well most of us do. The good news is that it can be done. Before you can begin to improve your drawing you should be capable of identifying the problems. Understanding the fundamentals of drawing will help you take better decisions when it comes to setting up a drawing.  

1. Doing more research will improve your drawing.

Feeling inspired is what will initially trigger the urge for you to be creative or productive. knowing how to use your inspiration comes down to understanding the foundations & fundamentals of drawing, design and good composition. Look them up, learn them and use them. If you are serious about improving your drawing then start taking your subject matter more seriously. Push your boundaries further and test materials and mediums. Look up artists that work with the same interests as you. Getting into the habit of doing more research will save you a lot of time figuring out what works for you and how viewers will react to your work.

2. Being intentional will improve your drawing

Create and produce drawings or any art with a purpose, intent, and outcome that is meaningful. Too many artworks fail because they lack one or all of the above. Avoid the trap of doing “just because you don’t know any better”. Taking the time to plan and test your composition will instantly make your drawing feel and look like it was made with intention. Do not confuse your research work with any final work. Understanding how to file your work into categories is important. Try to keep all your work so that you can look back on it and reflect on your struggles, progress, successful and less successful work. It will help you allocate sufficient time for research, testing and final artwork. This is especially important if you are planning an exhibition or building up a portfolio.

3. Accepting to change when things go wrong.

If you feel that something is not right, then chances are, something is not right. Use your intuition, not your impulse. It is far more productive for you to make the changes you want earlier than later. There is no rule that says you have to get it right the first time. So if you decide to have several attempts at a drawing or painting to get it right then do it. Remember to keep the series of work together. Each work might have interesting results that will serve you in the future. I regularly return to my first journals when I need to refresh some ideas or techniques.

Try to establish your proportions and composition throughout your drawing before detailing. Let’s say you are drawing a figure, make sure you draw the full figure before adding too much detail. You should do this to avoid running out of page space if you have started with the head too big for example. Leaving the head for last can also cause you major problems. If you have made the body proportions to big you can end up without a head or parts missing. You also risk not capturing the right pose if the figure moves. In both these cases, you would have to start a new drawing.

Here is what you should consider doing

Capture the pose and focus on proportions, volume, and composition as a priority. If your figure moves you will have sufficient information to continue developing your drawing at a later stage. Any changes that you might make would be minor and require only fine-tuning. Accepting to make the changes will prove to yourself that you have understood what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. Learn to be objective about how you are seeing your own artwork so that you can differentiate between a piece that needs tuning and one that needs complete reviewing. If you have not studied some of the fundamentals you might not know what to look for in your own drawings and risk spending more time restarting rather than enjoying yourself.

4. Learning the foundations will improve your drawing.  

There are certain fundamental principles to drawing that you should be aware of. Your drawings will improve substantially if you apply them correctly. Artists generally keep these notes in visual diaries or journals as they are easier to access and update with time. Understanding the importance of basic shapes and how they function together is the foundation of drawing. Without this knowledge, drawings remain flat, lifeless and unintentional. In a similar way that would separate your training from competitions if you were an athlete. Your art can also be separated into tutorials, experimentation, and final projects. If you are new to art and drawing. Then I would suggest focusing the majority of your time doing tutorials and exercises. You can then use what you have learned into practice when you have the inspiration and confidence to produce a piece of art.

5. Practicing what you are not good at.

Getting out of your comfort zone and practicing new techniques, styles, formats, and mediums is a great way to grow faster as an artist. It is through a process of continuous experimentation that you will discover and use a wider variety of art forms to express yourself. Let me try to put this into a real context.

If you are passionate about drawing illustrations for children’s books you will need to learn how to draw a multitude of things in order to make your drawings interesting, informative and educational. Setting aside time when you draw to focus on drawing new things is a way of rapidly increasing your knowledge bank of things you can use when composing a new illustration. It is not uncommon that you will face challenges during this process. Some people draw landscapes with more ease than others who are perhaps more comfortable with drawing people or objects. Identify where some of your weaknesses are and focus on them. Drawing what you are not at ease with will push you out of your comfort zone and help you grow faster as an artist.

To wrap this up.

There is no real right or wrong answer when it comes to how you want to improve your art skills. Sometimes guidelines are there just to get us started. Many artists build careers for themselves with no formal education and rely purely on developing their own personal language through self-taught experimentation. Other artists prefer to have a foundation to work from and explore their creativity in a more controlled environment. If you have been struggling with a particular subject. It might be because you have not given yourself enough time and practice and then to process the information.

Don’t judge yourself on a 2 min sketch the same way you might judge yourself on a painting you have spent 10 hours on. Taking this pressure off you will instantly make the drawing part more enjoyable and easier to improve.

David Lagesse