If there’s anything you should know about me as a designer, it’s the fact that I am a HUGE advocate for drawing. No matter how good or bad you think you are at it, if you’re a creative person, drawing is incredibly beneficial for your design skills, creativity, and mental health.
I swear I’d be a crazy person if I couldn’t draw every day.
So if you’re a beginner and you’ve never had the satisfaction of filling a sketchbook from cover to cover, follow these tips to get yourself started.
Get a sketchbook, it doesn’t matter what size or shape or quality. The cheaper the better. I’ve personally found that if you buy a super nice, expensive sketchbook you’ll be too scared to draw in it, so buy a cheap one. (Believe me. I’ve got at least one or two that I can’t touch out of fear of messing them up.) Make sure it’s transportable and not too heavy to carry around with you. And most importantly….FILL IT UP.
Get drawing tools. Start with simple, cheap pencils you have laying around the house (mechanical or classic wooden, either one works), and pen (literally anything goes here, but I love rollerball (not waterproof) or microns/steadtlers (waterproof)). And I REPEAT, go cheap. You can splurge when you’re good and ready.
The ultimate artists question… What to draw?
Google search “drawing prompt.” There are so many people who have created all sorts of lists of things to draw. We all know that Google is a bottomless pit of ideas an information, so just get started Googling what you’re interested in. There won’t be a shortage of ideas out there!
Commit to a daily challenge. I did the #handletteredabcs challenge on Instagram at the beginning of this year that was every day for 26 days. It got me in a rhythm of drawing every day, and made it easier to continue to draw every day once the challenge is over.
Challenges are also a wonderful way to grow an audience and meet other people who are interested in the same thing as you!
Get on Instagram. Not only is Instagram a good place to find challenges, but it’s also great for holding you accountable! People expect posts once you’ve committed to them online. It’s also a great place to follow those you look up to and gives you easy access to ask them questions.
Use Pinterest for inspiration (but not copying). Pinterest has millions (maybe billions?) of photos to choose from, whether you’re looking for fashion, lettering, or illustration, there’s an endless amount of references on Pinterest. BUT be careful to not directly copy someone else’s work. A great tip is to do your research on what you want to draw and then step away from your computer and draw from memory!
Draw what you see not what you know. There’s a huge difference between drawing what you think a dog should look like versus what the dog in front of you actually looks like. For example, you know a dog has two floppy ears and a dark black nose, but do you see the how the ears are shaped differently from each other? And that wet black nose actually has lighter areas on it where the light hits it.
Get out and draw! One of my favorite things is going to a coffee shop and picking an interesting part of the room and drawing it! It’s great practice on perspective and helps you get away form trying to focus on too many details in your drawings.
Don’t be discouraged with imperfection
It’s really easy in the beginning of learning anything new to be discouraged with not being pro-status right when you start. We all have big, wonderful ideas of what the quality of our work should be, but when it doesn’t come out exactly how we pictured it, we get frustrated.
The key is to practice. Any chance you get.
Doodle in class or in meetings when you can just listen without having to give visual attention, or when you’re watching TV, or hanging out with friends. The more you draw the better you’ll get.
It will take time. Be patient with yourself, and really focus on what you want to get better at.
You can do it. Pick up the pen and paper and just start.