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7 Tips to Help You Improve : Page 2 of 2

Practicing Drawing

continued from page 1

4. Make Mistakes

That's right! Make mistakes. Make lots of them. Too many too count! :-)

It's tried, tested and true — in order to succeed, then at some point in time (and often at many points in time) — you're going to have to end up failing in one way or another.

A few possible examples...

  • The left eye's too big!
  • That looks more like a dog than a cat. :-(
  • Just can't get the proportion right!
  • Went over the lines again. :-(
  • Why are hands so difficult to draw !?!?

Every drawer's been there. I know I have! There are all sorts of frustrating situations that come up when practicing drawing. But as mind-numbing as they can surely be — making mistakes is actually quite helpful. And not only that...

Make mistakes!

Necessary!

Still, when practicing drawing — it doesn't take much to get discouraged when something doesn't work. It's easier to simply give up.

Of course, giving up isn't going to lead to success. You've got to press on... persistent and determined to make it happen!

So how NOT to get discouraged then?

Always keep in mind — every skilled artist had to start somewhere. And in order to eventually become 'gifted' at their craft, they had to make a TON of mistakes along the way.

So the next time you mess up a drawing (or two!), chalk it up as experience, and then... keep right on going along the path to success.

5. Repeat Repeat Repeat

Building upon point number one, 'Pick up a Pencil and Draw!' and the previous point, 'Make Mistakes'... repetition — as with many situations where you're looking to improve at something, is quite helpful when it comes to practicing drawing.

Really — it's a lot like the practice you'd do when learning an instrument, speaking a new language, or improving at a sport. Repeating the same thing over and over and over — as tedious as it may seem at times... really will make you better!

With each 'lap', following a specific course to complete the drawing at hand, the path of which your pencil takes — becomes more and more familiar.

Sometimes, you'll find a faster way of doing something — a 'short cut' so to say. Other times, you'll learn of a different path to take altogether.

Unlike when drawing something entirely different each time around, by drawing the exact same thing — you can gradually 'tweak away' until you achieve the desired image.

So the next time you're practicing drawing, don't hesitate to draw it again a few times. And then again! Getting that extra practice really does make all the difference.

6. Don't DO Trace!

The word 'trace' is almost taboo in the world of art.

Still, with respect to practicing drawing, tracing is just another form of 'doing'. And as you, I, and every other artist knows — the more you draw, the better you get!

Often, when making mistakes in your drawings... it can be a bit frustrating to keep on going — even though this is the best thing to do. One thing that can help to continue moving forward, and help you learn from your mistakes in the process (leading to improvement) is tracing over your own work.

In doing so, not only do you get the extra practice through repetition — but you really get to see how even the slightest difference in a line or two can drastically change the finished product.

This is especially helpful when you're just starting out, and have a difficult time maintaining proportion from one drawing to another.

By tracing over your work, producing 'refined versions' of the original — you really can learn a lot about your own drawing technique and style.

In short... DO Trace when practicing drawing. It will help you improve.

7. Draw Like You!

Perhaps the most important factor with respect to practicing drawing, is being able to 'draw like you' — developing your own original, unique drawing style.

And how do you do this?

Well, simply put — by drawing what you LOVE to draw!

Draw what you love to draw!A good example is learning a new language. The learning process is much easier when there's a specific reason for doing so — a 'theme' that you can strategize around so that words, sentences, grammar, idioms, etc. all fall into a specific category — one that you're truly interested in.

So with respect to drawing then, is there something special that interests you — a topic with all sorts of opportunities to draw what you love? Wildlife... sports... fantasy? Which is it?

Going back to the first point — drawing is a whole lot easier when you love what you're doing. And, in drawing the things you enjoy — you'll be more inclined to 'let go' and focus on coming up with your own unique ideas.

Eventually you can begin challenging yourself. For example, you could:

  • Change the thickness and curvature of your lines
  • Adjust the proportion of your sketches to something slightly less realistic
  • Add some kind of 'trademark' unique to all of your drawings (similar styled eyes perhaps?)
  • And the list goes on!

In time, through practicing drawing the things you love — and by trying out new ideas along the way, you'll gradually develop your very own unique style, one that you can apply to drawing pretty much anything...

You'll be drawing like you! :-)

And there you have it. Seven tips I really think will help you with practicing drawing.

What's next then? You know what what to do. Pick up that pencil, and get to it! •

"Nothing happens until something moves."
— Albert Einstein

© 2009 Jeff Scarterfield. All rights reserved.

Jeff ScarterfieldJeff Scarterfield offers free step-by-step drawing lessons, aimed at making the learning process both simple and fun. Choose from a variety of drawing categories, including animals, people and dragons. More »

2/9/09