Learning how to draw is much easier than you think. All you need are a couple of tools, your imagination, and a little patience.
In this guide, you will learn which lessons and recommendations you should follow to achieve the desired drawing results as quickly as possible.
1. Material needed to learn to draw
When you start, all you need is a pencil and paper for drawing. A simple HB pencil and a cheap drawing paper are enough.
If you want to explore the possibilities of drawing, you will need a small assortment of pencils in different grades of hardness. A high-quality drawing paper, one or two erasers and a sharpener, and you are ready for the full diversity of pencil drawing.
You can get all this for 30 to 40 USD. The materials will last for quite some time, even if you practice extensively daily.
Here is a list of the materials you should at least consider when learning to draw:
Pencils: Pencils are offered on a hardness scale from 8B (soft and dark lines) to 8B (hard and bright lines). The harder the graphite-clay mixture of the lead, the more delicate and bright the line. For most artists, a selection from 2H to 6B is adequate. Extremely hard pencils offer virtually no further advantages in the art of drawing so that you can avoid them. Many manufacturers of drawing materials have already taken this fact into account and adapted their pencil sets to this spectrum.
Erasers: Kneaded erasers are the best way to actively and purposefully work out areas in the drawing. A white polymer eraser, on the other hand, is well suited to erase individual lines as thoroughly as possible. You can use a solid eraser to work on a preliminary drawing, while you use a soft kneaded eraser in more advanced shading. It is desirable to have both erasers in your assortment.
Sharpener: A dull sharpener with no case is perfect for beginners. A sharpening machine is not required.
Drawing paper: A medium-heavy, tear-resistant, and acid-free drawing paper is an excellent choice for beginners. To achieve good results, you don’t have to choose the most expensive paper available, but you should stay away from printer paper at the very least. This paper has a surface that is too smooth to achieve the necessary abrasion for a multi-layered drawing. A drawing paper in the A4 or A5 format is a good choice for the first experiments in drawing.
Once you have your materials together, you should concentrate for a while on the basics of (realistic) drawing.
The basics of drawing
If you want to learn to draw in a profound way, you should spend as much time as possible with the necessary skills.
More specifically, this means that you need to learn these skills:
- Learning to see: The inherent difficulty in any realistic drawing is that you have to transfer a three-dimensional object to a two-dimensional drawing surface. Therefore, you must learn to break down the real objects into their basic shapes and then draw them. From this point, you can work out the shapes in more detail. An excellent approach to learning to see and observe for drawing and painting is to use simple motifs that can be constructed from simple shapes. Once you are familiar with this, you will find it easy to draw the outlines of a shape from any perspective.
- Learning to Hatch: From the contour drawing, you will need to develop your hatching skills. There are many different hatching techniques that you can use to indicate light and dark areas. Explore and become familiar with the different techniques.
- Shading: If you can reduce objects to their basic shapes and you are able to draw them with the right hatching techniques, the only thing getting in the way of your realistic drawings is the knowledge about shadows and shading. Use hatching techniques to reproduce the shading of your motif. To accomplish this, you need to be able to recognize the structure of a shadow and see where the light and dark areas are in your scene.
Consistency and the right approach
The material is correct, you are aware of the importance of form and shading and have developed fundamental technical skills to transfer these features onto the drawing. Now it depends on how you dedicate yourself to learning how to draw in the long run.
Two variables determine how quickly you progress:
- Consistency and regularity
- Learning Methodology
Consistency: Numerous scientific studies compare success in learning new skills with different approaches.
Regular exercise with a low cognitive load per exercise unit is often compared to irregular exercise with a high load per exercise unit.
The result is always the same: constant, regular practice in shorter time units leads to faster progress than occasional practice in long sessions.
Tip: You should make it a habit to draw a little every day (or every other day) and improve your skills. 20 to 30 minutes a day will get you a lot further after a short period than say 3 hours in a session once a week.
Learning Methodology: Furthermore, a wrong approach to the drawing exercises stands in the way of learning progress.
It is easy to trace a model instead of recognizing the basic shapes of the object and constructing the motif from scratch.
Only if you can observe artistically and recognize form and shadow, you will be able to draw any motif. If you do not train this, you will master the manual skills of drawing, but these are only the tip of the iceberg.
Tip: With all our drawing instructions, you should be aware of the correct methodology. In the medium and long term, this initially more elaborate approach to learning to draw will have a significant positive effect.
If you only refine your manual skills, your learning progress will come to a halt after a short time.