One of the most common questions I get asked about art is how to improve drawing technique. Like any complex skill drawing takes dedicated time and practice to develop and hone the eye and muscles control required. Hand eye coordination, muscle memory and precision all take time to learn and perfect but there are a few tricks that can help speed up your learning curve.
Turn your reference photo around and draw it upside down.When you do this you eyes will identify shapes better than when you are viewing your subject in it’s usual orientation. We get so used to looking at familiar objects that we often draw what we think we should see rather than what we are actually looking at.
When I draw I rotate my paper 45 degrees after my initial sketch and continue rotating it as I draw until it is back to it’s original position. When I view my drawing from different angles I catch my little mistakes and often notice detail that I would have otherwise missed. It is a simple way to trick your brain into seeing things from a different perspective.
Copying the work or style of another artist can serve as a great learning tool. When you copy another artist’s work you will learn different techniques and ways of working. These little lessons will help you develop your own unique style.
Copying another Artist’s work should be used as a learning tool only. Selling a copy of another artists work violates copyright laws and is illegal. If you choose to share a image of your copied art online be sure to give the original artist due credit.
Drawing Animals and complex objects can be intimidating and hard. Breaking the subject down into simple shapes makes it easier to tackle. If your subject is curvy break it down into circles. If you are dealing with hard edges then find your straight lines and corners.
Determining the direction of your light source and darkness of your shadows will bring your drawing into the third dimension. If your shapes are correct then the highlights and shadows will quickly bring your drawing into perspective.
Most artists and teachers talk about the importance of drawing from life and I fully agree that that is the ideal way to draw and create art. Drawing from life is a luxury and not always a possibility.
The nice thing about drawing from photos is that your subject is already in a two dimensional format. This makes it easier to measure and gauge the length, shape and hardness of your lines. Drawing from a black and white image can help you determine the values of different colours and enhance your shading techniques.
Daily practice is essential if you want to be proficient at anything and drawing is no exception. When you draw everyday you will see an improvement in your hand eye coordination, muscle memory and accuracy.
When I started my series of animal pencil drawings each drawing would take hours and I spent a lot of that time using an eraser. Now that I’ve completed over 70 drawings I find that I am faster, more accurate and my drawings are more impressive!
Practice really makes all the difference. Committing yourself to a daily drawing ritual is a great way to hone your skills. Grab some paper or a sketchbook and get started. The more you draw the better you will be!