Are Your Drawings Not Improving? Here’s How to Get Better

Are Your Drawings Not Improving? Here's How to Get Better
Are Your Drawings Not Improving? Here’s How to Get Better

Are you struggling to create a good quality drawing? Are you unsure how to make improvements and identify which aspects of your drawing that could help you achieve success? In fact, many artists suffer from self-doubt when it comes to discussing the quality of their work.

Why Your Drawings Are Not Improving? There could be many diverse reasons why you are finding it difficult to make progress in your drawing. It may be a lack of practice, a poor understanding of basic drawing principles and techniques. Reason can also be based on the personal preferences of the artists who are drawing.

In this post, I intend to outline some of the essential areas where beginners tend to make clear mistakes and provide clear tips to help you make progress.

Why Your Drawings Are Not Improving?

Developing a thorough grounding in the fundamental underlying principles of drawing will give you the confidence and ability to trackless any subject regardless of complexity.

Learn to Draw From Observation 

Drawing from observation is one of the necessary fundamental skills every artist needs to master if they are to take their drawing skills to the next level.

So if you’re observational drawing skills require development. Here are some essential tips to help you improve.

  • Practice drawing basic shapes from direct observation. This could take the form of a simple still life set up in front of you. Focus on drawing basic forms such as cubic forms, rectilinear forms, and spheres.
  • Make a point to carefully look at and observe more than actually drawing. This will ensure the correct amount of visual analysis takes place as you complete your drawing.
  • Once you become more accustomed to the process of drawing from observation, you should progress onto drawing more complicated shapes and forms such as life drawing.
  • Life drawing is taught extensively in art schools for a reason. Its a great advantage is that it allows the artists to practice drawing a multitude of forms and shapes from direct observation.
  • These drawings can be interpreted from direct observation using a variety of media, drawing techniques, and materials.
  • Drawing from observation will also allow you to draw and view your subject from a variety of angles and viewpoints. One of the significant advantages of drawing using an upright easel is that it will encourage you to create different types of images.

Mastering Basic Techniques

As artists, when we think about drawing techniques, we naturally think about how to draw using a pencil. But there are many varied approaches to drawing using a pencil and diverse methods you can use.

Additionally, there is also a multitude of techniques that we can use to help you improve your drawing skills.

For the novice who is looking for basic techniques to use, here are a few examples to get you started.

Basic Pencil Skills

  • Holding a pencil. Pencil grip is an important consideration; it has an immediate impact on the type and quality of line you can draw.
  • Focus on holding, gripping, and drawing with a pencil in different ways. The standard tripod grip is what immediately comes to mind, but you can draw with a pencil sideways and by holding it lightly at the end.
  • Draw with the pencil in a variety of ways, and this will improve your ability to produce a variety of pencil marks. Adding visual variety to the drawing you can create.
  • Draw from the arm, shoulder, and elbow. Again this will enable you to develop the freedom to create don’t appear stiff or awkward.
  • The natural movements which can be created from the movement of the arms and shoulder are often overlooked by novices who are attempting to create sketches.
  • Speed sketching. Sketching is an excellent way the generate ideas through drawing. On many occasions, you will find sketches drawn at a speed that will create drawings that have a unique quality. These can be an excellent source of ideas.

Think About The Subject Matter You Draw 

If you are struggling with coming up with ideas of what to draw, or drawing subjects which are too complicated or just limiting yourself to only a limited range of topics. Then you are restricting your ability to improve.

As a beginner or relative novice, it is advisable to draw and create work in a structured manner as this will enable you to make the best progress in the shortest period.

  • Drawing basic forms. For any person who is interested in developing drawing skills. The drawing of basic shapes and forms is an excellent place to start. The simplest way to approach this drawing of primary forms such as a cube, cylinder, and sphere. Once you have mastered the rendering of these forms, you will be ready to progress on drawing more complex subjects.
  • Still life. The more you practice drawing a still life, the better you will become. Depending on your level of skill, the still life is an easy way to practice drawing from direct observation. You can begin with a simple basic shape such as a bottle and progress onto drawing more complex shapes such as plants and flowers. 
  • Always remember to draw with faint lines and progress onto applying tonal values as the drawing progresses. A useful tip is to place a piece of paper beneath the object you are drawing, a table cloth will work just as well. This will give your drawing a greater sense of stability.
  • Life Drawing. Figure Drawing from life is taught extensively because it provides the student with the experience to draw the shapes, proportions, and forms of the human form expressively. Virtually all the basic forms and shapes you can draw can be found in the human figure.
  • Landscapes. The drawing and painting of the scene are one of the more popular themes within the tradition of drawing and painting. The beauty and variety of shapes that can be found in the landscape offer an immense source of inspiration from the seascapes of urban sketching. One of the significant advantages of landscape drawing is that it can be interpreted in many diverse ways, including color and mixed media work. 

Develop Your Experience of Drawing With Different Media 

We have already outlined how to vary your approach to drawing with a pencil, but there are many different varieties of drawing media and materials you can use to draw with. 

Here are a few ideas:

  • One of the first materials that come to mind immediately is vine charcoal or charcoal pencils. These will help create strong and dramatic drawings. Charcoal is also suitable for the drawing of expressive portraits.
  • Pen and Ink. Ink is a fluid and unpredictable medium that can be applied in a variety of ways. Fountain pens, drawing nibs, and ink brushes are all suitable items to experiment with ink. Drawing with ballpoint pens is also an excellent way to create interesting drawings. Alternatively, the use of a fountain pen will encourage you to vary the quality of the line you draw with.
  • Fine line and brush pens. Brush and technical pens are excellent for the drawing of finely detailed drawings and rendering techniques such as stippling and hatching.

Practicing What You Learned

One of the critical things that any artist needs to understand is that to maintain the skills they have acquired, they will need to practice them. 

  • Daily drawing practice. Building a habit of drawing from direct observation is beneficial in many ways. Firstly, it will allow you to practice and develop aspects or subjects which you find difficult to draw. 
  • Repeatedly drawing your subject. If you are looking to focus on improving your drawing of a particular topic, say portraits. The process of regularly drawing a theme or specific object will enable you to become intimately aware of your subject.
  • Repeatedly focusing on the proportions or fine details of a portrait, for example, will allow you to create more successful pictures over time. 
  • Visual Awareness. Developing an awareness of your subject while you are in the process of drawing is essential. Looking at your subject repeated is the best way to build your visual awareness. This will enable you to draw a more accurate portrait, figure or landscape.

How to Improve Your Drawing Quickly

Here are 11 tips that you can use to help you make rapid progress with your drawing. If you are hoping to make rapid progress, these are tips you should prioritize. 

  1. Perfect your basic skills drawing skills. My advice is to focus on the basics of drawing first. Remember important rules like how to hold the pencil and drawing from
  2. Draw basic shapes and forms. Learn to reduce the objects you are drawing to the simplest shapes. This a quick and effective method, for drawing accurately in proportion.
  3. Carry a sketchbook with you always. This is an excellent way to quickly jot any ideas in visual form while you are on the move.
  4. Look carefully at the subject you are drawing. As a basic rule of thumb, it is advisable to look more than you draw. This is an excellent way to develop your visual awareness of the subjects you are drawing.
  5. Collect and draw from visual references sketch. Collect a variety of visual images to use as a source of inspiration.
  6. Learn to speed sketch. Sketches draw at speed will have a unique quality which makes them exciting drawing in their own right.
  7. Draw on location. If drawing landscape or urban sketches make a point of visiting the situation if you can, this will result in much better drawing developed from direct observation.
  8. Take drawing lessons. If you are struggling to make progress with your drawing choice, a local art class as a personal one to one advice will help you make progress.
  9. Draw real things, preferably from life. Draw from direct observation whenever possible, not from photographs.
  10. Draw regularly, preferably every day. Make an effort to draw each day.
  11. Study a little, draw a lot.

Drawing Classes 

For any artist interested in making sustained progress with their drawing one clear way to develop your skills, your drawings is to take drawing lessons.

Joining a local art club or paying for instruction is an excellent way to get one to one advice that a teaching professional can offer.

Many people believe that drawing lessons provide you the opportunity to draw subjects that you may not have access to at home as a novice or beginner.

Figure drawing, life drawing, and urban sketching groups are all effective ways to learn and expand your experience of drawing.

Online Drawing Courses 

Buying an online drawing course is another way to improve your understanding and experience of specific subjects you may wish to learn to draw. You can find many different types of drawing courses that suit all budgets from $10 to $200.

One of the advantages to learning to draw using an online course is that you can follow a course specific to your needs.

Many online drawing courses will present a subject in a structured manner using both ebook and video formats. This will allow you to return to a topic and read the information again and again until you feel you are ready to progress to the next stage.

Tone Shading and Value in Your Work

One of the biggest challenges some artists will face with their drawing is the application of tonal value in their pictures.

The application of value can present some difficulty if you are unsure how to apply tone correctly with the pencil.

Shading Tasks. Using a tonal grid. Perhaps the best way to learn to shade is through the graduation of value and tone in a tonal grid.

  • Break down a long rectangle into five separate sections. The basic rule here is to keep your pencil on the page and shade using small circular motions. Gradually release the pressure on the pencils from heavy to light, this will enable you to graduate the shading from dark the light.
  • This technique is best practiced on a separate sheet of paper until you reach a certain standard; you can then progress onto apply graduated shading in your drawings. This will have the impact of creating a greater sense of shape and form in your work.
  • Additionally, this technique can be applied using color pencil, however, here you will also have the option of layers colors.
  • This technique can simply be practiced by the drawing and shading of basic forms. The shading of the planes of simple geometric shapes such as cubes, cones, and spheres is an excellent way to explore the varieties of dark, mid tonal and light areas of value.
  • I suggest you attempt making your own primary forms either from paper or wood, paint them white and draw and shade them from direct observation. This is an effective way to improve your basic shading skills.

Color

Aspects of color: Learn about the various qualities and aspects of color from warm-hot to cool- cold variations. Additionally, try to understand the impact that different colors can have when you use them in your drawings and learn how to combine them successfully.

For example, the color red is an excellent example of a color that grabs people’s attention and has an immediate impact.

Watercolor. When you are considering whether to draw with paint water is an excellent choice as it works well with a fine brush and allows the artists. One reason for this is that it is susepterably to the drawing of different thicknesses of line if applied with a brush.

Learning to draw with watercolor is, therefore, worth attempting as it will allow you to expand the range of skills and techniques you have access to as an artist. 

Learn to blend with color pencil. A good quality set of color pencils will enable you to achieve high levels of blending and shading. This is also another way to apply graduated shadows to your drawing. The more that you practice and develop this essential skill, the better you will become at it.

Ian

Ian Walsh is the creator and author of improvedrawing.com and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

Recent Posts