Those new to drawing fall into lots of beginner drawing mistakes.
Whether you’re a budding illustrator, artist, to designer, drawing is a tool that you can use to your disposal. However, in order to progress your skill, you need to learn and avoid the mistakes that most drawing beginners make.
If you want to improve your drawing skill, and not fall into the classic beginner mistakes, you’ve come to the right place.
I admit that I’ve made these mistakes that I’m going to share below. However, you can learn from my mistakes that I’m sharing with you today. Within this article, I’m going to share five common beginner drawing mistakes, and solutions of how to fix them.
If you like reading blog posts like below, check out my other articles on how to draw a box in perspective. By learning how to draw a box in perspective, you can transfer this to your overall drawings ability. Otherwise, take a look at how to improve your accuracy and proportions of your drawings.
Mistake 1: Sketchy lines
A good drawing derives from confidence.
Confidence is positive in all walks of life; from presenting to colleagues, asking someone on a date, or putting yourself out there.
This is the same with drawing. You want confident lines, not sketchy, half-hearted or timid drawing lines. When I refer to sketchy lines, these drawing lines look like a jagged line. You want your drawing lines to be purposeful, with confidence. For example, if you were to draw a circle, ghost the line. Ghosting is when you hover your drawing medium 0.5 to 1cm away from the paper, practicing the motion of the stroke before fully committing to that line.
You need to make sure you draw using your entire arm, not from your elbow or from your hand. The technique of ghosting and drawing from your arm results in confident drawing strokes. As you become more familiar with drawing, you’ll gain more confidence in your strokes. You won’t be so scared that a line doesn’t look 100% perfect, as confident line is better than a ‘scratchy’ line.
Mistake 2: Proportional Errors
Incorrect proportions can distort the overall appearance of a drawing.
It’s important to accurately observe and measure the relationships between different parts of the subject to ensure proper proportions. How does some elements correspond to each other? Using vertical and horizontal lines here will help. If you want to see how I do it, check out my YouTube video on this subject.
As an example, if you were drawing a building;
- How does the door size relate to the overall height of the building?
- Where does the top of the door correspond to the windows?
- Is the building wider than it is taller?
By asking yourself these questions throughout a drawing, it can massively improve your overall drawing proportions. Another way to assess the proportions of the subject you’re drawing is by using your drawing medium. Use your pencil, and extend your arm, and place your ear next to your arm. You can then see how things within your subject relate to one another, using your drawing medium as your measure – like this example.
Mistake 3: Lack of Depth and Perspective
Failing to incorporate perspective can result in flat and unrealistic drawings.
Understanding vanishing points and how lines converge helps create depth and dimension in your art. My biggest drawing mistake was not learning perspective when I first started learning how to draw.
If you’re a drawing beginner, you might not value how important this subject is. However, all realistic drawings come from good perspective knowledge. Even a face converges to perspective.
To solve this, learn 1, 2 and 3 point perspective. Discover and learn all about vanishing points, how to draw a box in perspective, to how ellipses conform to perspective. Don’t commit the same mistake as me by avoiding this subject!
Mistake 4: Poor Shading and Lighting
Inadequate shading and lighting can make a drawing appear two-dimensional and lacking in realism.
Proper shading techniques, considering the direction and intensity of light, can greatly enhance the illusion of three-dimensionality. One of the great masters is Albrecht Dürer. He renders his drawings beautifully, and I learnt a lot when I studied him.
This why master studies are really important, which I highly recommend you getting in the habit of doing too. One of the great things he excelled at was rendering. Rendering the subject, effortlessly following the overall structure of the form. This makes the drawing appear more three-dimensional than it actually is.
Improve your shading by following the form of the subject. If it’s an apple you’re drawing for example, follow the contour and shape of that apple. Always think three-dimensionally.
Mistake 5: Skipping on foundations
One classic drawing beginner mistake is getting to the details too early. Not building the foundations and structure of a drawing before it’s details. Yes, the details element of a drawing is fun, but focusing on this element too early is a big mistake.
It’s like decorating a room in a building whilst it sits on dodgy sand – it looks nice from the inside, but due to it’s poor structure the building will tumble at any moment.
Concentrate on laying-in a drawing. This process requires you to lightly sketch the subject, think about it’s form, it’s planes, and the composition. Make sure you’ve totally nailed the overall structure before you begin shading.
Beginner drawing mistakes conclusion
I hope you’ve learnt a lot within this beginner drawing mistakes article! Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve covered in today’s article:
- Be confident with your strokes by learning the technique of ghosting. Remember that you want confident and purposeful drawing strokes.
- Use horizontal and vertical lines (using your drawing medium), to line up your proportions with one another in the drawing.
- Learn perspective inside and out, and you will see the greatest improvement to your art.
- Follow the form of the subject when shading.
- Lay the foundations of the drawing before you start thinking about rendering.
If you enjoyed learning all about these common beginner mistakes above, you may also like this article revealing my artist sketchbook – from portraits, landscapes to imaginary drawings. Or if you’re struggling to think of ideas for your next project, see my number 1 tip to help you think outside the box.
Many thanks for listening and visiting my blog today. You can follow what I’m up to on my Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram pages, I’ll really appreciate it if you do, and don’t be afraid to say hi to me! Many thanks again, and have a great day!