How to Start Drawing Again: 9 Practical Exercises


How to Start Drawing Again
How to Start Drawing Again

If you are like most people, you probably think of drawing as an exclusively artistic endeavor pursued by a few enthusiastic people. However, this is far from the truth. Everybody can draw, especially if they are willing to learn and improve their drawing skills.

Just like any other hobby or profession, drawing or art, in general, requires regular practice. This only implies that if you don’t practice regularly to hone your skills, your ability in drawing will eventually deteriorate. So, if you want to become an exceptional artist, you must incorporate routine drawing practice into your schedule. If you are an artist who has lost his/her drawing sharpness and would love to rejuvenate your drawing skills and ability, you are in the right place. Today in this post, we are going to show you in excruciating details how you can start drawing again and regain your artistic prowess.

So, Can You Lose Your Ability to Draw?

As mentioned earlier, drawing is a skill much like playing soccer or playing a musical instrument. Therefore, this implies that if you don’t practice regularly, your ability to draw will decline over time. As much drawing is an inherent ability, you still need to practice more frequently to remain on top of your game. Thankfully, your drawing mojo will always come back with some practice and focus.

Can You Learn to Draw?

Of course, you can learn to draw. You might not believe in your drawing ability, which is usually the first stumbling block to discovering your drawing skill. Art is as much a mental game as an observational game. While the truth is that you need some basic level of expertise to hold your graphite pencil and make a mark on the paper, you may not need as much as you may think. After all, nobody gets born being able to hold a pencil and produce picture-perfect artworks with perfect perspective, proportions, and gorgeous colors.

Drawing is a skill that can be learned and enhanced. Of course, talent only makes it relatively easier to improve that particular drawing skill. However, the fact remains that anyone can draw with enough time, motivation, effort, and dedication! Becoming an established artist requires lots of time and repetition. Even if you are not naturally talented, you can become a highly proficient artist with regular practice. If you didn’t know, all great artists have invested years and years into their craft. Simply put, it is not just talent but mileage.

Can you Learn Drawing at any Age?

Regardless of your age, you can learn and master to draw. However, it is also important to note that research has proven that it is relatively easier to learn anything at a younger age. But this doesn’t necessarily imply that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Studies have proven that motivation is an essential factor in learning and grasping new things even at an old age. While your mind might not be as sharp as it once was, attributes such as work ethic, discipline, and effort might actually prove beneficial than your young age. It all depends on your inner drive, motivation, and perseverance. If you are really motivated to learn drawing, you can surely do it.

Sure, the older you get, the less time you have to practice drawing. As an adult, you’ll always have lots of responsibilities compared to a child who only goes to school and has the luxury to dedicate his/her entire afternoon or evening to practicing how to draw. However, if you manage your time more efficiently, you can become an excellent artist over time.

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Can You Regain Your Drawing Skills?

Are you wondering how to begin drawing again or figure out where your creative spark went? Perhaps it has been long since you last created a beautiful piece of art, and you are somehow guilty about those drawing materials sitting idle and gathering dust in your drawers? If yes, we have got you covered.

Don’t let your drawing skill become a distant memory. We want to equip you with handy tips on how to start drawing again. With these practical tips at your disposal, you will surely unlock your drawing skills and enjoy your artistic talent.

Draw Every Day:

The sad thing about drawing is that most people still ascribe to the idea that it is an innate ability that only lucky individuals are born with. We strongly believe that there is a certain level of skill that we are limited to, and once you attain that level, there is no room for improvement. However, the truth is that drawing is a skill that just requires a bit of knowledge and lots of practice on your part. This, therefore, means that there isn’t a limit on where you can take your skills. So, if you had stopped drawing and is yearning to start over again, you can definitely regain your artistic prowess with a daily practice.

To become an established artist, you must put in the work every day and keep it up for years. You already know that professional drawers eventually learn how to critique their own work, identify their weaker areas, and focus on those weaker areas to improve even further. And there is no better way to identify your weaknesses and focus on how to improve on them than training daily. So, how do you set yourself up to have the best daily drawing routine? First and foremost, it is worth noting that repetition is a huge factor, but the mindset is equally essential.

You should start by setting aside some few hours to draw every day. This could be one hour or even five hours, according to your flexibility. The most important thing is to stick with the set time daily to never skip drawing. Of course, there might be some days where you can’t take part in drawing perhaps because of an unforeseen circumstance. If this is the case, then it would be essential to move your drawing to the next day to make up for the lost hours. The advantage of following a strict schedule is that it will keep you honest.

Develop your Observational Drawing Skills:

Observational drawing is exactly what it sounds like; drawing through observation. It merely implies drawing what you actually see, but not what you think you should see. Observational drawing is a critical component of art, and for you to become an established artist, your observational drawing skills must be top-notch.

If you were not aware, failing to look at what you are drawing is one of the most fundamental errors an artist can ever make. Sadly, it remains the most common error made by aspiring artists. Most art students usually attempt to draw things the way they think those things or objects should look, at the expense of the way they actually do look. As an art student, you must have known that the best way to record proportion, shape, and detail appropriately is to look at the actual source of information. In this regard, your memory alone won’t suffice. Shadows, features, and forms are quite challenging to replicate, especially when they are right there in front of you. For you to produce beautiful observational art, you MUST observe. This means your eyes should repeatedly dance from the drawing board to the object and back again.

It is imperative to note that even if you are drawing something about mythical objects or creatures, or any other imaginary form, you should always try as much as possible to work from observation. Draw your creatures from fragments of real life. Also, always draw from real objects whenever possible. Ask any established artist out there, and they will explain to you all the potential benefits associated with drawing from real objects. You are provided with a wealth of vital visual data, including views of the object from all angles, changing light conditions, and rich textures. Transcribing from three-dimensions to two is always going to be very difficult than drawing from a photograph, but will ultimately result in drawings that are very rich and equally highly authentic. With your observational drawing skills enhanced, you are always assured of regaining your drawing ability and becoming a great artist you’ve always dreamed of.

Practice Drawing in Different Styles:

If you want to become a high-level artist, learning technique is only the starting point. Your artwork must reflect your style and personal touch. But before you can develop that signature style, you will have to look at tons of artwork and do lots of crazy experiments. These drawing style experiments are fun, exciting, and equally, a giant creativity boost!

There are potentially endless types of drawing styles to be explored and studied, with every single style conveying a totally different final piece. The most established drawing gurus don’t just stick to an individual drawing style, but usually experiment frequently to stretch their skills and identify their unique drawing style. As you look to regain your confidence in drawing and slowly carve out your style in the process, kindly consider practicing with these drawing styles and you’ll be amazed by how they’ll have a positive impact on your overall creative growth:

  • Line drawing: If you want to exercise your artistic skills, there is no better place to start than practicing continuous line drawing. In this particular drawing style, the pencil never leaves the sheet of paper, implying that the final result is formed from one line.
  • Rough sketches: Steering away from perfection, rough sketching is arguably the best way to practice your drawing skills. This is perhaps because it focuses more on form and shape and equally emphasizes quantity instead of quality. Research has proven that sketching people or any other object quickly and practicing your skills in getting forms and shapes can ultimately boost your foundational skills.
  • Scribbling: This is something most of us usually do while talking to our loved ones over the phone! And in case you were not aware, doodling can have a positive impact on your drawing. The good thing about scribbling is that you never really know what kind of idea will come through your mind.
  • Caricature: This drawing style remains the most enjoyable and can bring a smile to your face even as you aim to rejuvenate your drawing ability. Caricature drawing involves a slight exaggeration of some vital features to add a unique perspective on these features. It also seeks to make those features more pronounced and very unique.
  • Architectural drawing: This is somehow the opposite of sketching and usually requires the artist to be more accurate and precise. This is because it usually involves numerous angles and areas of perspectives that demand lots of accuracy. To get better at this type of drawing style, you will have to practice drawing angles and shapes, examining the relationship between planes, lines, and perspectives.
  • Photorealistic: In this type of drawing style, the primary objective is to make the most accurate depiction of that particular object you are actually trying to draw. The most challenging aspect of this drawing style is always trying to capture and subtle raw textures found on animals, objects, people, or only anything you are trying to draw. Also making sure that you depict even and realistic proportions.
  • Drawing Cartoons: Practicing drawing cartoons simply means liberating yourself from realistic representations, while still trying to capture the importance of a figure in a semi-realistic approach. Cartoon drawing is a broad category, having dramatically evolved in the past few decades. Some popular cartoon drawing styles may include classic Disney, manga among others.

Draw in a Variety of Mediums:

Generally, drawing is an artistic endeavor that offers a variety of mediums of expression. While some established artists usually prefer to specialize drawing in one medium, a large number of them prefer to use different mediums as well. If you didn’t know, drawing mediums may be combined to design a spectrum of artistic expressions. However, regardless of the drawing medium you choose to use, any artist who strives to become a proven professional should be familiar with the various drawing mediums available. The most common drawing mediums include:

  • Pencil: Standard pencils are usually used for sketching. Pencils are available in a broad range of lead styles, ranging from soft to hard and anything in between. Softer leads are generally used for adding tones and shades, whereas the harder ones are used to draw outlines. You’ll need to learn how to use a combination of these pencil types in your sketches.
  • Graphite and charcoal drawing mediums: These are arguably the most common types of drawing mediums. Charcoal is black and can be extremely messy to use. On most occasions, charcoal is used to create bold lines. While graphite can also be used is the same way as charcoal, it is very soft and strikingly similar to lead in terms of design.
  • Watercolor pencils: These are ideal for artists who want to draw the best drawing and painting mediums. The material in this type of pencil is activated by water, allowing you to expertly incorporate watercolor painting techniques into your drawing prowess.

Draw Subjects Which Interest You:

If you didn’t know, the term subject is usually used in the art world to refer to the main idea represented in the artwork. In this regard, the subject is basically the importance of the artwork. To figure out the subject matter in your artwork, you should ask yourself a few questions; what are you trying to depict in your work? What are you trying to express to the world? What type of message are you trying to convey? There are several subjects that artists have been exploring for years, including:

  • Still life: This refers to a collection of inanimate objects arranged together in a particular way. The beautiful thing about drawing a still Life is that it can show you unique ways of studying the ordinary objects around you.
  • Landscape: Of course, this refers to natural scenery in the world around. Landscape have provide many artist inspiration to create inspirational images. From breathtaking mountains ranges to barren deserts, from cloudy skies, forested regions to swelling oceans, you can always find something to draw if landscape as a drawing subject interests you.
  • Nature: The expression of nature in art can take potentially endless forms, and this simply because nature offers artists with such a vast wealth of inspiring phenomena. In its broadest context, nature refers to the natural world, material world, physical universe. Artwork based on nature can take numerous forms and serve multiple purposes as well. If you want to create an artwork based on natural forms as the theme, you have a handful of ideas to choose from, ranging from flowers, animals, trees, energy, matter fossils, decay, cells, anatomy, and many more!
  • Portraiture: This simply refers to an image of a particular animal, person, people, or group.
  • Abstract: This refers to a non-representational artwork.

These are just a few examples of subjects you would want to explore in the world of art. Remember that topics in art can be nearly anything you want them to be, whatever your imagination brings your way. However, the most essential thing is to select a particular subject matter that interests you. It should be something that you can freely and happily immerse yourself in while drawing. 

Copy Drawings by the Great Masters:

While you may want to come up with your own unique way of drawing, it is also essential to understand that the art world is built on copying! Unlike plagiarism in literature, copying art is legal, and copying master drawings is something most established artists have always incorporated into their drawing journey, and you shouldn’t be an exception. After all, it is arguably the best way to carefully examine and evaluate an incredible artwork. Copying the work of a master or any other proven artist whose work you dearly admire is an invaluable practice.

One of the significant advantages of copying the drawings by the great masters is that the artistic decisions have already been made for you. You already have the format, composition, subject as well as the colors worked out for you. You only need to figure out how the work was put together. So if you want to take your drawing prowess to the next level, it is a must that you have a look and, if possible, copy the drawings by the great masters.

One particular resource that you’ll find useful is the Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters, a book that features a hundred great drawings analyzed and figure drawing fundamentals. This bestselling book is the ultimate manual of drawing taught by the late Beverly Hale Robert, who’s legendary lectures at New York City’s Art Student League wowed both art educators and artists from around the globe. In this piece, you’ll learn how ancient artists effortlessly tackled common problems such as lines, planes, light, position, mass, thrust, and anatomy. With highly detailed diagrams and analytical captions, each lesion is precisely and clearly illustrated for easy understanding.

Take an Online Drawing Class:

Whether you want to learn the fundamental aspects of drawing, portraits, landscapes, caricature, or figure drawing, there is a drawing class online just waiting for your time and dedication! With the advent of technology, especially the Internet, you don’t necessarily need to go back to college or invest your money on expensive drawing materials to hone your drawing skills. There are nearly unlimited online classes that can help you learn and master the drawing fundamentals and regain your confidence. From Udemy to SkillShare, there are many useful and highly affordable online drawing classes worth your attention.

One significant advantage associated with online drawing classes is that it gives you the much-needed flexibility. You are in control over the timetable, with no classes to contend every Monday or Thursday. You can simply stop and start, exit the courses at your discretion, and take your time making art that interests you. 

What’s more, online classes give tutors a better chance of delivering critiques and responding to questions faster through emails.

Join a local Life Drawing Class:

Life drawing is commonly thought of as the fundamental skill that any aspiring artist must possess. Generally, life drawing is a term used to describe the drawing of the human body. To be more precise, it is the form of art representing the human shape in all its possible postures, using any medium of drawing available. It is considered to be the primary foundation of any fine art. And because the human body and shape are strongly believed to be the most complex and challenging to draw, life drawing is seen as one of the most demanding challenges any artist can ever face. Thankfully, if you put in the effort and dedication to master this area of art, you’ll become a better drawer and a better sculptor, painter, and engineer!

When you join a local life drawing class, you will need many essential skills, including how to observe, how to measure, and how to evaluate and describe the different visual image elements in terms of shape, form, space, line, texture, and color.

Drawing from Secondary Source Images and Photographs:

Drawing from secondary sources such as images and photos is equally another great way to practice drawing and regain your confidence in art. While some artists discourage this practice, it does have several benefits. First and foremost, it is worth mentioning that the prospect of using photo references will expand what you can draw. Also, for many subjects, only photographs and images will do. After all, there are numerous subjects that one can’t just draw or even paint from life, and in such a case, an existing image becomes your only option.

Also, photos and images don’t get tired, move, or spoil. When you draw subjects from real life, and without the help of a reference photo, you are always racing against time. Figure models will still tire out and move. And unless carefully controlled and planned, the lighting in life drawing will change every hour, resulting in different shadows and highlights. Images and photographs, on the other hand, have captured all the critical details, so the angle, light, and colors all remain consistent.

What’s more, when you use a photo as reference material, you are no longer in a race against time. You have all the time to carry out your work slowly, methodically, and without much pressure. Simply put, if you want to become a versatile artist, you will need to learn drawing from secondary sources.

There is no doubt that drawing is a delightful and profitable form of art that everybody yearns to know. However, it is equally one of the most challenging types of art that require lots of commitment and sheer determination. We have provided you with practical, straightforward, and proven tips on how to practice drawing and rediscover your lost drawing ability.

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.

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How to Start Drawing Again_ 9 Practical Exercises