Learn to Draw – Step-by-Step Instructions for Successful Drawings
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What do you know about drawing? The difference between drawing and painting is that drawing is not primarily based on representation by means of colors. The emphasis is on lines, dots, and the contrast between dark and light. As an artist, you can create your drawings either freehand or with the help of tools. In this article, we will provide an introduction to learn to draw and drawing for beginners. You will learn all about the drawing tools and devices, get to know the different drawing techniques, and get an overview of the drawing materials you need for your drawn artwork.
Table of Contents
- 1 What are the Differen Styles of Drawing?
- 2 Learn to Draw -Media and Equipment Needed
- 3 What to Draw
- 4 The Different Basic Drawing Techniques
- 5 Drawing Equipment
- 6 Learn How to Draw Step by Step
What are the Differen Styles of Drawing?
- Figurative: people, animals, nudes, etc.
- Perspective: landscapes etc.
Learn to Draw -Media and Equipment Needed
When you learn to draw, you can use different drawing materials. The principle is always the same when drawing with pencil, crayon, chalk, and charcoal: the pigments are applied to the drawing surface by abrasion. The pencil and crayon are relatively fine, while the chalk and charcoal are coarser in texture. This should also be considered when choosing the paper, because the coarser the drawing material, the coarser the surface of the drawing ground should be.
The applied pigments are not fixed by binding agents and do not penetrate the paper surface. This makes it necessary to fix the surface after finishing your drawing work. This is done with a special fixative, which fixes the pigments onto the drawing ground.
Then there is also drawing with ink, which, unlike other drawing materials, bonds with the paper and does not require fixing. Ink can be diluted with water and can also be drawn over a large area. So, to summarize:
- Pencil drawing and crayon drawing are identical except for the difference between black/white and color. This is a traditional drawing technique, which is suitable for sketches and finer drawings.
- Charcoal and chalk drawings do not differ from pencil drawings except for the coarser representation
- Ink drawing is a graphic drawing technique, which is also applied to paper. This is done either with a brush or a drawing pen.
- Then there is of course the mixed technique, which combines the drawing technique with other painting techniques.
What to Draw
Want to know how to start drawing? We have created some instructions below for anyone that wants to learn to draw, with basic drawing techniques. They will provide a step by step process with a detailed description and steps with photos. This allows you to learn the whole beginner drawing process intuitively
The Different Basic Drawing Techniques
When you learn to draw, there are different basic drawing techniques and drawing basics for different applications. We have listed the most important ones below for anyone wanting to know how to start drawing.
- Shading (Slight circular movements with the broad side of the pencil)
- Hatching (arrangement of many parallel lines in different directions, this way grey tones are created, e.g. for shadows)
- Blur (blurring of drawn lines over the entire surface, thus creating a light-dark gradient)
- Frottage (place the leaf on a relief-like object and rub the broad side of the pencil over it)
- Grid technique
- Drawing perspective
Drawing for Beginners: The Grid Method
If you don’t have any practical experience in drawing, starting to learn to draw is sometimes a bit difficult. Here the grid technique can help you out. It is ideal for beginners in drawing because you don’t need anything else except patience, some skill, and a pencil with scale. If you want to know how to start drawing, this is a good place to begin.
To strengthen your beginner drawing skills, it is best to draw some images first. In this way, you will develop a feeling for the drawing tool, the hand position, and movement sequences. To achieve better results there is the grid method. It helps you to divide the drawing area into a grid so that you can focus on smaller which makes the drawing process much easier.
The grid method is also often used to enlarge small drawings, for example, if you want to paint a wall with a design, but only have an A4 sheet as a template.
Step by Step Guide for the Grid Method
- Pick your subject: We’ll start with an A4 sheet. Now divide this sheet of paper into equal rectangles. Divide the length by 6 and the width by 4 and draw the lines. Draw auxiliary points every 6cm, which you connect to the opposite side. Now you have drawn your grid and divided the drawing area into smaller areas. If you have only one original template, you can also use transparent paper, which you fix over the original sheet and draw the grid on it. How this works you can see in our instruction tracing pictures.
- Transfer the grid: Take a blank sheet of paper and draw the same grid over your original
- Get started: Now, focus on a single square of your grid and mark that area. Focus on the important lines and contours first, then draw the details. Ideally, use a waterproof fineliner to draw, so you can erase the grid without damage. If you have problems concentrating on a small area, you can cover the surrounding grid with several sheets of paper. Repeat this procedure with all the grids on your drawing sheet.
- Refine the transition areas: You can now erase the grid guidelines and see your work without disturbing elements. You can now refine the transitions of the individual grid areas to create a beautiful work of art.
Congratulations: You have successfully drawn your first picture with the grid method. Even for beginner drawing, this method helps you to draw your first beautiful pictures. You can now turn to a more complex design and improve step by step. To make the instructions even easier to follow, you can also watch the following instructional video.
Highlights and Shadows: Hatching
If you want to breathe real life into your drawings, then you should definitely deal with drawing in highlights and shadows. This is important to know when you learn to draw.
As you can see in the drawing above, contours have been hatched to give the hand a three-dimensional appearance. Hatching gives your drawing the necessary depth.
- Draw outlines: First draw the outline of your design, in our case a hand
- Look at your hand: Look closely at where the light is shining directly onto your hand. These areas remain white because they are more in focus. Border these areas with a fine line so that you know later where to leave the area free
- Hatching shadows: The areas of your hand that are not directly lit can be darkened by hatching. Draw fine lines close together and crosswise. Alternatively, you can also blur these hatched areas with a paper wiper.
That’s it, you created your first highlights and hatched shadows. Below we show you what types of hatching techniques are available:
Simple hatching consists of parallel, closely spaced strokes. Draw many of these lines parallel to each other. That’s it. It is important to keep the distances between these parallel lines as even as possible to create the impression of a surface. You can control the intensity by moving the strokes further apart or closer together. The further apart the strokes are placed, the brighter the hatched area is. The closer together, the darker the shadows you draw.
You can also hatch curved lines. This is ideal for round objects to create a more vivid look
A good example of a mixture of crosshatching (below) and simple hatching (right)
Crosshatching is basically identical. Again, you draw many parallel lines next to each other. But then you turn the drawing sheet 90 degrees and do exactly the same. This gives you a cross-hatching. Of course, you can do the whole thing with curved lines for round contours.
Drawing Perspective Step by Step
With hatching, you already bring a certain amount of depth into your drawn pictures. But if you want to draw perspective, there are other things you should consider.
Perspective drawing allows you to draw three-dimensional designs on a two-dimensional surface. You create an illusion of depth and space. In order to bring perspective into your drawings, you break the image down into its three-dimensional geometric parts:
A good example is a dog: it consists of cylindrical legs, a spherical head, and a cylindrical body. You can apply this view to all objects. The same applies to landscapes or buildings. Here is a good example:
The subdivision into geometric shapes creates an effect of depth. To achieve this effect you can use the following steps as a guide:
- Draw a horizontal line and define a point on it. Now draw auxiliary points at the edge of the image at regular intervals.
- Now draw lines from your auxiliary points to your defined point on the horizontal line
- You now have guides, which show you the perspective nicely.
To illustrate the following drawing technique, we recommend you take a look at the video:
For drawing, you need only relatively little drawing materials. Nevertheless, before you buy, you need to think carefully about what exactly you need for your purposes. We have summarized the most important materials for drawing below:
Pencils are available in different degrees of hardness for different applications. The softer the pencil, the darker the line, the harder the pencil, the lighter the drawn line. We have briefly summarized the application purposes for the different degrees of hardness.
- 5B – 9B Very soft: shades, sketches, drafts
- B – 4B soft: freehand drawing and writing, shading
- F – HB medium: linear drawing, writing
- 2H – H hard: geometric and technical drawings
- 5H – 2H very hard: Graphical representations, technical drawings
Here you should definitely pay attention to good quality. High-quality colored pencils have softer leads, which makes the color application richer and more covering. With the higher quality colored pencils, there is also a very wide range of different color shades.
Drawing Surface/Drawing Paper
Not all paper is the same – apart from the format, there are other qualities and features, such as the grammage of the paper and the surface finish. We can recommend the following drawing paper:
Sharpener, Eraser, and Other Important Accessories
When learning how to draw you need some accessories besides the material listed above. This ensures that you are well prepared for any application.
Learn How to Draw Step by Step
If you want to learn how to draw, you can do this in several ways. In the following ways, you can learn how to draw step by step and thus develop from beginner to artist.
- Learning how to draw books as an e-book or as a printed book
- Online drawing basics courses
- Video instructions
- Drawing courses in your area
Learn How to Draw With Books or eBooks
Whether for beginners, advanced artists, or professionals, there are suitable books or eBooks to learn how to draw. There is a massive amount of books available, so the choice can be difficult. The advantage of this way of learning is that you can usually trust that the quality of these learning media is good. Usually, the author of a book knows his craft. Also, there are always cheap offers, so that you can acquire a lot of knowledge with little money.
For your introduction to drawing. we can recommend the following books, with which you can learn all the important steps:
Online Drawing Lessons
Online drawing lessons are a relatively new form of learning. Here you have the best of all worlds with you: moving images from videos, but often also written information for looking up and reading. You will be introduced to the topic step by step and can thus constantly familiarize yourself with the topic. You can deal with the topic at your own pace.
Video Drawing Lessons
The advantage of video drawing lessons is that you can learn from free videos about individual drawing techniques on Youtube. The disadvantage, however, is the quality or the level of knowledge of the video makers is not assured. Nevertheless, it makes sense to watch certain videos.
Drawing Lessons in Your Area
Depending on the style, do you prefer to attend drawing lessons in your area and acquire your knowledge that way? There is also a wide range of drawing lessons from which you can choose. However, this type of learning how to draw is usually relatively expensive, as the rental costs of the workshop and materials are included in the course price. You are also bound to the dates of the drawing lessons.
Drawing is a technique that provides the framework for many important works of art, as well as being an essential style of art in its own right. It doesn’t take that much to get started with drawing basics, so it is a great activity for beginner artists to do. The guide above should have answered any questions you may have had on how to draw and getting started with drawing basics. We hope you enjoy this rewarding artform!