By following easy sketching for beginners tips – such as not being afraid of mistakes, embracing imperfections, and worrying more about interesting drawings than perfect ones – you'll be well on your way to creating sketches every day.
In this post, I'm sharing my best sketching advice on sketching for beginners.
Also check out my guide on 7 ways to stop outlining in drawing.
1. Get comfortable with your drawing supplies
After getting familiar with different pencils, pens, and sketchbooks, you need to be able to use them without thinking too much.
This way, when you're inspired to sketch, you can just pick up your supplies and start drawing without having to think about which tool to use for which purpose.
Use one type of pencil for all of your sketches.
Pick a pencil that you like the feel of and stick with it.
This will help you develop muscle memory for the way the pencil feels in your hand and how it leaves a mark on the paper.
Over time, you'll be able to use that pencil without having to think about it, giving you one less thing to worry about when you're trying to capture a quick sketch.
Get familiar with the different types of pens available.
Some pens are better suited for fine lines while others are better for filling in large areas.
Experiment with different types of pens until you find a few that you like and that works well for the type of sketches you like to do.
Once you've found a few that you like, stick with them so that you can use them without having to think about them.
Use one type of sketchbook for all of your sketches.
Again, this will help you develop muscle memory for the way the pages feel and how the pencil or pen reacts with the paper.
Once you get comfortable with a particular sketchbook, it'll be easier for you to just open it up and start drawing without having to think about the paper itself.
2. Vary your marks as you're sketching
As you're just starting to sketch, it's important to experiment with the various ways you can make marks.
This helps you find a style that feels natural for you and allows you to create some interesting and form-focused sketches.
One of the great things about sketching is that there are endless ways to make marks.
You can use different mediums, pressure, speeds, directions, and so on.
This variety is what gives each artist their unique style.
And as you're just starting, you must experiment to see what works best for you.
Otherwise, you'll never develop your natural drawing style.
So how do you go about experimenting?
Try making marks with different mediums, at different pressures, speeds, and directions.
Think about how light or dark you want your darks to be. The possibilities are endless, so have fun and see what happens!
Once you've experimented a bit, you'll start to develop a feel for the types of marks that you like to make.
And from there, you can begin to focus on creating more intentional sketches that have a specific focus or goal.
Maybe you want to sketch a particular subject matter realistically, or perhaps you're more interested in exploring line work and abstraction.
Either way, by varying your marks as you sketch, you'll end up with some really interesting results!
3. Understand line weight while sketching
Line weight is where you create thicker lines for heavier spots and thinner lines for lighter ones.
This use of contrasting lines will produce a dynamic, visually appealing drawing.
Controlling the line quality while sketching can be difficult for novices.
How to control line weight while sketching?
The biggest factor that will affect the way your sketches look is the contrast between the thickness of your lines.
If everything is the same weight, then the overall look will be boring, whereas if there's too much contrast, it can look chaotic.
A good place to start is by using two different weights for your outlines and shading.
This will help add depth and interest to your sketches.
Once you have a feel for how to use line weights, you can start experimenting with more variation.
For example, you could try using three or four different weights in the same sketch.
Just remember to keep the overall balance in mind so that your sketch doesn't become too cluttered or busy-looking.
Line weight is an important element of sketches that can help add depth and interest to your drawings.
By varying the thickness of your lines, you can create contrast and visual interest.
However, it's important not to go overboard with line variation, as too much contrast can result in a chaotic-looking sketch.
4. Apply the 70/30 rule on your sketchbook pages
The 70/30 rule is a guideline that can help you create more interesting and visually appealing sketches.
Essentially, this rule states that 30% of your sketch should be the primary focus, while the remaining 70% is filler.
By keeping the main focal point within 30% of the image, you can help direct attention to the most important part of your sketch and away from any areas that might be less interesting.
When you're sketching an image, it's important to have a clear idea of what your primary focal point will be.
Once you've decided on that, you can then begin to fill in the rest of the image around it.
Try to keep the main focal point within 30% of the overall image so that it stands out and is easily seen.
The remaining 70% can then be used for background details and other less important elements.
This will help create a more visually appealing and interesting sketch overall.
It's also important to consider the tone of your image when applying the 70/30 rule.
The 70/30 rule is a simple but effective guideline that can help you produce more visually appealing sketches.
By keeping the main focal point within 30% of the image, you can help direct attention to the most important part of your sketch while still including plenty of background details and other less important elements.
Experiment with different techniques until you find a style that works best for you and your intended purpose.
5. Sketch different textures
When sketching, it is important to differentiate between different textures.
This can be achieved by observing the object you are drawing and paying attention to its unique properties.
By doing this, you will be able to capture the true essence of the object in your sketch.
Rough or smooth?
The first thing you should consider when sketching is whether the object you are drawing is rough or smooth. This will affect the way you shade your sketch.
If the object is rough, then your shading should reflect this by being harsher.
If the object is smooth, then your shading should be lighter.
Light absorption or reflection?
Another important factor to consider when sketching is whether the object you are drawing is absorbing or reflecting light.
This will also affect the way you shade your sketch.
If the object is absorbing light, then your shading should be darker.
If the object is reflecting light, then your shading should be lighter.
By taking the time to observe the object you are drawing and paying attention to its unique properties, you will be able to create a more accurate sketch that captures the true essence of the object.
So next time you are getting ready to sketch, remember to ask yourself: rough or smooth?
And light absorption or reflection?
Answering these questions will help you create a more visually interesting sketch.
6. Make interesting silhouettes when sketching
When you're sketching anything, it's important to pay attention to the silhouette that is created.
Because the silhouette is what makes your sketch recognizable.
If the silhouette isn't interesting or recognizable, then your sketch won't be either.
In your early sketches, avoid getting caught up in the details. Instead, focus on drawing the larger and medium shapes of whatever it is you're looking at.
To test whether or not your silhouettes have strong, easy-to-identify shapes, place a piece of tracing paper on your sketch and trace around the figure.
Then look at it to see if it's identifiable on its own.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your silhouettes are strong and interesting.
Simplify the shapes as much as possible.
The fewer lines you use, the better.
Lastly, experiment with different angles and perspectives.
Try looking at your subject from above or below, or from the side instead of head-on.
By changing your perspective, you can make your sketches pop.
Strong silhouettes are essential for interesting sketches.
Be sure to simplify shapes, and experiment with different angles and perspectives for the best results.
7. Embrace imperfections when you are sketching
When you're sketching, it's important to embrace imperfections.
Imperfections are what makes sketching – sketching.
By keeping thought lines and contour lines in your drawings, you're making your drawing more unique.
It's adding your signature to your sketches.
Only you can create those lines.
These imperfections add uniqueness to your sketch. It's what makes drawings so interesting to look at.
Don't use an eraser
It's best to not even use an eraser as you are learning to sketch.
This might seem counterintuitive, but here's why: when you use an eraser, you are trying to fix mistakes. There are no such things as mistakes in sketches.
By learning to love and accept those happy accidents, you will be able to produce more interesting and dynamic sketches.
Thought Lines and Contour Lines
Keeping thought lines and contour lines in your sketches is a great way to make them more unique.
Thought lines are the lines you drew before settling on the final image.
They show the process of how you arrived at the final sketch.
Contour lines are the external outline of an object.
By keeping both of these types of lines in your sketches, you are adding another layer of dimension and interest.
Sketching is all about embracing imperfections – it's what makes sketches so unique and interesting to look at.
As a beginner, don't be afraid to make mistakes – they can often lead to happy accidents that enhance your sketch.
And finally, don't forget to keep thought lines and contour lines in your drawings – they'll add another level of depth and dimensionality.
8. Don't make perfect drawings
As an artist, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to stop trying to make perfect, photorealistic drawings.
Instead, start embracing the ways you naturally make lines and make mistakes.
Treating your drawings as a record of the moment you were looking at a specific scene can help you loosen up and have more fun with your art.
One of the things that hold artists back from sketching is the fear that their drawings won't be “good enough.”
But what does that even mean?
A “good” drawing captures a specific moment in time, conveys the feeling you were experiencing at that moment and makes use of the tools and materials you have on hand.
It doesn't have to be perfect; in fact, imperfections can often add to the charm of a sketch.
One way to practice letting go of perfectionism is to set a timer for 1-2 minutes and draw whatever comes into your mind, without overthinking it.
This exercise can help you get in touch with your spontaneous side and allow you to experiment with new techniques without the pressure of getting them “right.”
So don't worry about making perfect drawings; worry about making interesting ones.
Take some time to experiment, play around, and let go of your preconceived notions about what a “good” drawing looks like.
Remember that ultimately, it's not about getting it “right,” it's about having fun and capturing a moment in time.