You might think that drawing is like touching your tongue to your nose: Some people can do it and some people can’t. But that’s actually not true. Drawing is more like driving: The more you practice, the better you get.
The key is drawing things that interest you. You’ll be more likely to stick with it (even if your first attempts are a hot mess) and, before you know it, those skills will come. Even cooler, you’ll start developing your own signature style. Yes, you!
Here are 10 great ways to get started. These easy-to-draw subjects will help you explore basic techniques and build your confidence as an artist. Plus you’ll turn out some seriously legit artwork along the way!
Food is a fantastic subject matter for a newbie artist. It has universal appeal, it’s easily recognized and it’ll pose for you without complaint. Drawing food will also give you an instant education in shapes and spatial relationships. For inspo, start by drawing foods you love (like a pear!) .
2. Faces and Expressions
Drawing an entire character might seem like too much of a reach when you're just starting out. But exploring faces and expressions is easy. With just a bit of practice, you'll be amazed at the variety of emotion that you can convey with just a few simple lines and subtle shifts in the placement and angle of eyes, brows and lips.
You've probably been drawing trees since kindergarten. But when you're ready to get serious, trees are there for you too. Since they’re such a universal subject, you don’t have to be super skilled to create something recognizable. Whether it's a simplified triangle turned into a Christmas tree or cloud-like puffs atop simple linear trunks, trees are accessible to artists at any level. If you need a model, just look outside your window!
Like trees, flowers are gratifying for novice artists because they’re instantly recognizable no matter how you draw them. Their non-linear, organic shapes are extremely forgiving, which makes blooms a great starting place if you're not yet mega confident in your drawing skills. Flowers are also a fun way of dabbling in mixed media . Adding color, and even texture, will bring your drawing to life.
5. Cartoon Animals
With cartoon animals you typically only need a few lines to create a completely adorable character. Cartoon animals are also a prime op to play with fun expressions (see #2) for seriously awwww-worthy critters. Once you master the cartoon method, you'll find it much easier to move on to drawing more realistic animals.
6. Buildings or Architectural Structures
Buildings and architectural structures are another great way to get started with drawing. Even complicated structures will usually have an element of symmetry and repetition in their shapes and patterns if you have the patience to keep looking for them. If adding perspective has you stumped, work off of a photo and use tracing paper. No, it’s not cheating! This is actually a great way to learn to create dimension in your drawing.
Small in scale and simple in shape, leaves are fairly simple to draw no matter your skill level. Just grab one you like from outside or find a photo in a book or online. The key to re-creating life-like leaves is to capture the slightly uneven shape (in nature, no two leaves are exactly alike). Once you master the outline, you can have a lot of fun filling it in.
8. Paisley Designs
At first glance, paisley might seem like an impossibly complicated design. But look closer: To create a paisley, you just have to make a simple comma-like shape, placed on its side. Then it's a matter of adding layers one by one, such as placing a smaller version of the paisley shape inside, adding a scallop border around both shapes, then filling in the spaces with simple dots or flowers or both. Each step is simple even though the end result seems intricate.
This staple of adult coloring books looks ridiculously complex, but mandalas are actually pretty simple to draw from scratch. Plus there’s something so meditative and soothing about the process. You start with a circle (which you can trace from a plate or other round object), divide that circle into quadrants with crisscrossing lines, then create symmetrical designs within the sections. You might start with a small circle in the center, for instance, add four petals, and then continue adding smaller shapes and details (keeping each quadrant identical) until you reach the outer ring. The last step? Coloring it in of course!
Everyone can doodle, whether it's rows of hearts or goofy faces or fantastical creatures. The fact that it’s such a free-form method of drawing takes away any fear of failure: With doodling you can do no artistic wrong. This kind of drawing-without-really-thinking can, ironically, help you think more clearly, come up with solutions to problems — all while enhancing your drawing skills. Want to see some ideas in action? Check out Doodle Wars!
So push your inhibitions to the side, let your imagination free and start drawing. Before you know it you'll start feeling like an artist!