Do you want to improve your drawing skill?
Are you desperate to take your drawing to the next level?
Well lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place! Within this blog post you’ll discover my golden tip that has transform my drawing skill. Aimed at any drawing ability, this article can help you if you’re a beginner or even a professional. There’s no time to waste so let’s get into it!
A Bit Of Background To Start
For years, I drew daily and practiced painting at least twice a week. This was a great habit, and it improved my skill. I spent countless hours learning my craft during this daily practice.
I drew portraits, drew from observational, and created canvas landscapes paintings in particular. However, after a while I didn’t learn anything new and my skill hit the wall. It was plateauing. This is not good. Remain stagnant, and I’m toast. The world is ever changing, so I had to keep up. Practising for the sake of practising is not worth while. Of course, practising drawing is more productive than watching Netflix. But there’s a much better way to practice and improve at the same time. If I had to sum my skill growth in a neat little graph, it would look a little something like this:
I stayed in my comfort zone (big trouble), drew the things that I knew 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 needs 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 constant studying can become monotonous. It’s what drawabox.com calls the 50% rule. Spending half of your time learning something new, and the other half of your time drawing for fun. 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. It doesn’t have to be a habit which requires hours either. You will make huge strides in your skill by improving 1% a day.
Focus On Deliberate Practice
The golden tip to improve your drawing skill, or any skill, is focusing on deliberate practice. No more drawing something to ‘practice’, but to create a concrete plan of action.
A great video by Love Life Drawing discusses deliberate practice. Kenzo (the host) talks about creating a drawing plan that delivers. Kenzo recommends creating a calendar, creating a drawing goal for a week, a month, or a year, and sticking to it. For example, if one of your weaknesses is drawing hands, then you will make it your focus to study hands. If it’s your goal to improve your hand drawings from any angle, then add this (be as specific as possible).
Making a concrete plan, which is clear and concise, will help you stay focused. It eliminates the classic artist question – “what will I draw today?” You will improve a considerable amount by practicing everyday by learning and studying, . You’ll be practicing your weaknesses, refining, and becoming a stronger artist.
We all want to improve our drawing goals. But, ‘improve my drawing skill’ is too big of a goal, as where do you even start? You need to be specific in your terminology. For example, your weakness may be portrait illustration. Instead of ‘improve my portrait illustrations’, your first goal would be to look at ‘basic forms of the head’. Next, it’s reading Andrew Loomis’ Drawing the Heads and Hand book. From here you can practice everyday until you feel comfortable with illustrating portraits.
The key here is to create a daily drawing habit. This is where the power of marginal gains comes in, and strengthening your 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:
- Easy: have the intention of only drawing for two minutes, which gets you into the groove.
- Frictionless: are your drawing materials in easy reach?
- Trackable: track your drawings with a planner.
- Rewarding: reward yourself by completing a habit.
- Distraction: 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, check out my article on how to write goals.
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 10 free figure drawing resources on my recent blog post 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.
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.
If you loved this article, have a look at my article on another expert tip to help you draw like a master. Or if you’re after a illustrated gift, take a look through my illustration shop. I sell high quality greetings cards, art prints and canvas paintings.
Cheers everyone, and happy drawing!
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