What I Wish I Knew When I Started Drawing

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One the of the greatest things about drawing is that it’s a skill you can continue to refine throughout your life. No matter how old you are or how long you’ve been at it, drawing will continue to challenge you. You’ll never be bored as long as you can pick up a pencil!

This continuous excitement is what kept me drawing into adulthood, filling countless sketchbooks in the process. Through much trial and error, here are a few of the biggest things I've learned.

Great tools are worth it

Having a nice set of artist-grade pencils will do wonders by making your sketching and shading easier. In addition to drawing utensils, stock up on erasers and sketch pads, including some high-quality paper for when you want to produce a gallery-level drawing!

There’s no substitute for drawing from life

The best way to grow your skills is to draw from real life. This teaches you not only see but to look — to really study your subject and transmit what you see to paper. The more you do this, the better your observation skills will become.

Don’t fall in love with a line

At some point, you’re going to have to erase. It’s tragic, but true; your hard work will have to disappear because something is out of place. Keep in mind that no line is too precious, no matter how perfectly straight it appears. Sometimes erasing is necessary to fix your errors and make your drawing better. And don’t worry — you’ll make more beautiful lines.

Don’t show your sketchbook to your mom

Your mom is your biggest fan — she’s going to love ALL of your drawings. If you’re looking for some honest feedback, maybe ask someone a little less biased. But keep her in mind when you need an artist pick-me-up!

Know when to walk away

Nothing is more frustrating than realizing you’ve overworked your drawing. We all know how it goes: you get to a point where you think it looks pretty good, but you just want to make an adjustment. Then that tweak turns into a small change, that snowballs into something much larger than you intended.

Many artists I know say that they’re never truly finished with a drawing, but they just say that they’re done “for now.” Learn to recognize that feeling, enjoy it, and move onto your next great piece.

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What I Wish I Knew When I Started Drawing