Do you want to improve your drawing skills?
Are you desperate to take your drawing skills to the next level?
You’ve come to the right place! Within this blog post you will discover my number 1 golden tip that has helped transform my drawing skills and take it to the next level. This blog post is aimed at any drawing ability; so if you’re a complete beginner, intermediate or professional, I’m positive this blog post can help you! There’s no time to waste so let’s get into it!
A Bit Of Background To Start
For a number of years, I drew daily and practiced painting at least twice a week. This was a great habit, and it improved my skill exponentially. I learnt a lot about drawing during this daily practice, and spent countless hours drawing in my sketchbook and beyond.
I drew the things that I loved to draw (which is important), including lots of portrait drawing, observational drawing, landscapes painting and everything in between. However after a while, I didn’t learn anything new and my skill was starting to remain static, and from my experience, remaining static is just as bad as not practicing at all (maybe a slight exaggeration but I need this article to hit home!). If I had to sum it up in a neat little graph image, it would look something like this:
I stayed in my comfort zone (not the dreaded comfort zone I hear you say!), drew the things that I know I’m strong at, and didn’t really venture into my weaknesses.
I focused on drawing the things that come easiest to me, going against this brilliant quote by Dorian Iten:
“Have you ever wanted drawing to be easier? Stop trying to make drawing easier. Instead, let’s make it harder.” – Dorian Iten
You need to develop your art and push your drawing skills to the next level. This will require you to step out of your comfort zone, practice your weaknesses and learn something new.
Of course, you need to draw for fun as well, as studying constantly can become monotonous – it’s what drawabox.com calls the 50% rule. This is where you spend half of your time learning something new and developing, and the other half of your time drawing for fun. I think it’s an important thing to note, so don’t disregard this advice.
This blog post offers you a golden tip to improve your drawing skills, but it doesn’t offer a golden bullet. You have to put in the time, the hard work and effort to see your skill improve, but from my own experience, anyone can improve their skills.
Focus On Deliberate Practice
I recently watched a great video by Love Life Drawing that discusses deliberate practice. In this video, Kenzo (the host) talks about creating a drawing plan that can make you improve drastically. No more random practicing and studying, but rather a conscious effort with all of your practicing. Kenzo recommends creating a simple calendar, and creating a drawing / painting / artistic goal for a week or even a month, and sticking to it everyday. For example, if one of your weaknesses is drawing hands, then you will make it your focus to study hands, and your goal to improve your hand drawings from any angle (be as specific as possible).
Making a concrete plan (which is clear and concise), will help you stay focused, and eliminate the classic artist question – “what shall I draw today?” As you practice everyday by learning and studying, you will improve a considerable amount. You’ll be practicing your weaknesses, refining, and becoming an even stronger artist.
When we think about drawing goals, we all want to improve. However, this is too big of a goal, as where do we even start? The key is to create a drawing habit, helping you improve everyday. This is where the power of marginal gains comes in, and strengthening your overall art. Imagine your artistic skill in 1 year, if you improved 1% a day! Like James Clear states in my favourite book ‘Atomic Habits‘, he recommends you make habits:
1 – Easy (can you complete your drawing habit in under 2 minutes – which gets you in the groove)
2 – Frictionless (are your drawing materials in easy reach)
3 – Trackable (track your drawings with a planner)
4 – Rewarding (reward yourself by completing a habit)
5 – Distraction-less (put your phone in another room)
If you’re in doubt whether you can stick to a drawing planner, have a think about these key points. You need to make drawing easy, frictionless, trackable, rewarding and distraction-less.
So What Should You Learn?
You should learn the things that you don’t know much about, you should work on your weaknesses and you should step out of your comfort zone. For instance, if you’re drawing something from your imagination, and you can’t seem to draw the buildings in your imaginative scene correctly, perspective is a topic which you need to learn about and get to grips with (studying 1,2, and 3 point perspective for example).
If you don’t know how to draw the head correctly, reading, studying and drawing from Andrew Loomis’ book, ‘Drawing the Head And Hands‘ will help you progress.
Or as a final example, if you love creating illustrations of landscapes, but you can’t seem to get the humans in your scenes drawn correctly, this is something to learn. You could study life drawing books, go to life drawing classes or attend courses to help you. This in turn will be help your landscape illustrations – it’s like a snow ball effect!
Instead of practising for the shear hell of it everyday, make a goal or a plan and improve on aspects of your drawing, and reassess after one month, half a year and 12 months later. If you want help with setting realistic but far-reaching goals, I recommend this article to help you out.
Still don’t really know where to begin? Here’s a few excellent resources that can help you improve regardless of your drawing skill.
Resources To Get You Started
Fortunately for you and me, we live in an age where we have some amazing resources to help us improve our drawing. Everyone watches videos, reads blog posts and scrolls through social media, but are you using these utensils to your advantage? There’s isn’t an excuse to learn from the pros anymore, as most of them show you their process (we have to guess what Rembrandt’s process was like). I’ve revealed some amazing resources on my recent blog post for you to take full advantage of (more figure drawing resources – but still excellent resources).
Take a look at James Gurney’s very helpful blog (link below), Proko’s tutorials (link below), to The Drawing Database, and make it your aim, your goal, your focus, to keep improving everyday. As a result, you will see your drawing skill go from strength to strength, as you’re learning from the guys which have been in your shoes. Remember, every artist was once a beginner.
If you want to take it one step further, you can purchase courses to help you improve. The problem with free resources is that you can take it for granted. However, when you pay for a course, your mindset changes. You have paid for this course, so you need to make full use of it. Your concentration goes up because you’re invested in it, your focus should go up, and a paid course also offers better content than free content. Consider paid courses to make your drawing skill even stronger. But here’s a list of free drawing resources:
- Drawabox.com – a resource I’ve mentioned above, this is a great (and free!) resource to improve your drawing skill and take it to the next level.
- Proko – A popular Youtuber and podcaster who delivers great content and advice for artists to help improve your drawing skills.
- Dorian Iten – Similar approach to Proko, who has excellent resources, blog posts and Youtube videos to get your teeth into (he’s also a fan of one of my favourite books – Mindset by Carol Dweck).
- James Gurney – The master of painting with colour and light – which can in turn help with your drawing skills. Has great resources, blog posts and has 2 quality books which I highly recommend on my Resources page.
- Or the internet itself – Youtube, bloggers, social media, courses, offline courses, webinars – anything to help you improve and take your drawing to the next level.
How Have You Improved Your Drawing Skills?
I’ll love to find out, from you, how you have improved your drawing skill. Have you stepped out of your comfort zone recently? Improved one of your weaknesses? Or has this been a wake up call for you?
Let me know in the comments section below!
I hope this article has been of use to you. I’m committed to sharing high quality, actionable content to help you improve and learn.
Cheers everyone, and happy drawing!
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