Hey Nikki! How are you so good at drawing? I’m TERRIBLE at drawing. People laugh at my work and make fun of it, but I still want to get better. What are your top tips for drawing?
Hi Doodle Dork,
Okay. First of all, laughing and making fun of other peoples’ drawings is NOT COOL and VERY RUDE, and their opinions don’t matter. BUT if you want to improve your drawing skills for YOU, I will totally share some tips!
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE: No one is born a great artist, just like no one is born knowing how to play the piano, tap dance or sing like a pro. Drawing is a skill, and it takes practice. A LOT of practice. And even if you get good at one thing—say, drawing people—that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be good at buildings, animals or whatever else. I’m still learning and developing my skills, and the more I practice, the better they get!
- FIRST DRAFTS SOMETIMES STINK: Even when you have plenty of experience as an artist, don’t expect your first try at something to be perfect. I sometimes need to draw the same thing over and over before I get it close to how I want it. You’ve probably heard about first drafts in writing. Well, artists do first drafts too!
- COPY GREAT ARTISTS: In school, our teachers make a BIG DEAL about not copying off other people’s tests, or off online sources, etc, etc. Plagiarizing written work is a BIG no-no. But, drawing is different! Now, you’d never want to copy someone’s artwork and claim it as your own – that would also be very dishonest. BUT, copying the styles of other artists is how a lot of people learn and find their own artistic style. So, discover some really cool art styles that you like and try drawing them. That way, you’ll get better and eventually develop your own.
- KEEP A JOURNAL: A journal doesn’t only have to be something you write in—you can keep a sketch journal! I suggest carrying it with you. Then if you see something you want to sketch, or you get some great inspiration, or you see a piece of art you want to try to copy, you’ll be prepared. The nice thing about keeping an art journal is it combines steps 1, 2, and 3 mentioned above! If you’ve always got your journal handy, it’ll give you lots of opportunities to practice drawing. Your journal will probably be the place you work out lots of first drafts—and then later do more polished versions outside the journal. AND your journal is a place you can try to copy the work of other artists, because your journal is just for YOU.
- DRAWING SHOULD BE FUN!: If you’re stressing over how your work isn’t good enough, you’re not going to enjoy the process. And drawing (or making any kind of art) should DEFINITELY be fun! So, stop if it’s stressful—or better yet, figure out how to ignore the voices that say it’s not good enough and keep having fun!
- LEARN BASIC PROPORTIONS: If you want to draw people, one game changer is learning the basic proportions in the human body, and especially the human face. Because the thing is, everyone looks different, but we all share the same general features in the same general positions. And you might THINK you know where the eyes go on a face, but you’d be surprised how many beginner artists get that wrong. People tend to place the eyes way up, on like the tippy top part of a head. But REALLY, you’ll be amazed how much more realistic your faces look if you draw the eyes halfway down the head.
I hope these tips help! The main thing is to ignore the haters and draw because you want to. You’ll improve over time, I promise! 🙂