5 Sketching Exercises to Transform Your Drawing

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It's no secret that if you want to improve your art, you've gotta practice. But that doesn't have to mean repeating the same thing over and over again. In fact, the more you mix it up, the more you'll grow — we promise!

These five exercises are hand-picked to stretch your skills and open up some new artistic doors. Let's go!

1. Sketch an Urban Scene

Creating quick, loose vignettes is a great practice for learning how to capture the world in pen and ink. It all starts with "reading" the scene around you to select and frame the most interesting angle on your surroundings.

Suma introduces her "Read It, Frame It, Draw It" approach to sketching quickly on location. Learn how to spot the best scenes, decide what subjects to focus on and make the right marks to convey the essence of a place or space.

2. Practice Your Hatching

Cross-hatching is a technique you'll turn to again and again in your pen and ink drawing. Get the method down by sketching everyday objects in your home.

Learn how value allows you to ground the objects you're sketching, as well as help you bring further context and dimension to your scene. Before moving on, Paul will give you tips for adding value to complicated scenes with multiple objects and textures.

3. A New Perspective on Plants

How much detail and nuance lies in a simple leaf? Learn how a pro scientific illustrator approaches botanical drawing, then apply those techniques to your own work. You'll never look at a garden the same way again!

4. Your Neighborhood, in Miniature

Try recreating your fave neighborhood building in a thumbnail sketch! It's a great way to practice framing and blocking in basic shapes. And if you're loving what you see, use that foundation to create a fully realized drawing!

5. Put People in Motion

Capturing a subject on the go is a whole different type of challenge — but a few clever tricks go a long way in improving your sketches. This tutorial breaks it all down into surprisingly simple lines and shapes.

Put the verb drawing and line-of-action skills you've learned to use as you sketch figures in motion. You'll learn tips for capturing figures on the move from a variety of different angles. Suhita will also show you how to create quick gesture drawings of heads and faces.

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5 Sketching Exercises to Transform Your Drawing