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When I'm out and about in the world — especially when I'm traveling — I've learned to pare down my sketching tools to the simplest array possible: two brush pens, a water brush and a sketchbook. Sometimes I'll bring along a small kit of watercolors, but usually I leave color for later. What I'm really interested in is the spur-of-the-moment opportunity to capture what what's caught my eye, without any muss or fuss. And for that, I rely heavily on my brush pens.
Kateri Ewing
Urban sketching is all about capturing the energy of the world around you, doing it quickly, and keeping it loosey goosey. That said, the best sketching isn't a total free for all; there's still plenty of technique involved. Keep these principles in mind next time you take your art to the street, then see where the mood takes you!
Bluprint
When you hear "colored pencils," you might tend to think about elementary school. But you're all grown up now, and so is this versatile medium. In fact, you'll be amazed at the sophisticated effects you can create once you master a few key techniques.
Bluprint
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!
Bluprint
Sure, you could make beautiful art without ever learning how to blend your colored pencils. But blending takes things to a whole other level: it lets you smooth out hues and eliminate lines so your finished work looks more like a painting. Worth it.
Veronica Winters
Here's what's so great about colored pencils: they make even simple drawings look totally profesh. And once you get skilled in this medium, whoa. The photo-realistic effects you can create are absolutely incredible.
Bluprint
Walking into an art-supply store and buying ALL the things is pretty exciting. But if you're drawing in pen and ink, all you need are a couple of basic supplies. Here's what to think about before you shop.
Sara Barnes, Jessie Oleson Moore and Paul Heaston
Mistakes? What mistakes? Maybe you don't make any ever — but that would be super weird. If you do mess up now and then, like basically everyone who draws, here are some sneaky ways to hide your bloopers.
Jessie Oleson Moore
If you're a pen-and-ink newbie, you may already know that hatching and crosshatching are two important (and very cool) moves. But if that's all you know, get ready for an ink-splattered surprise: There are so many other fabulous methods for creating shape, texture, dimension and more.
Paul Heaston
Paul Heaston
Knowing how to make jewelry: Yeah, we all know how amazing that is. But it's also important to know how to draw jewelry. And there are a few reasons why.
Antonella Avogadro
You're working on a portrait, and so far it's a win: You're closer than ever to capturing the likeness in the face (go you!), but then you hit a snag — the clothes. The fabric folds are giving you the serious jitters.
Veronica Winters
You're getting ready to leave for a birthday party and suddenly realize, d'oh! You still need a card! You've got two options: You can run to the store and grab the first non-terrible card you see, or you can grab some paper and produce one yourself.
Jessie Oleson Moore
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.
Jessie Oleson Moore
When I was a kid, I'd play a game called "What should I draw?" Someone would ask, "What should I draw?" Someone would answer, "A bear." Then you would draw a bear. Pretty basic, right?
David Huyck
Everybody has at least one defining feature, the thing that makes them look like themselves and nobody else. When you're drawing somebody's portrait, you want to get that feature just right.
Sara Barnes
Big eyes, exaggerated expressions and cute little chibi characters are only some of the appeal of drawing anime. But before you launch into a manga drawing tutorial, it helps to have a few words of wisdom from a manga pro. To be a better artist, here are some essential, actionable tips — and some pointers on avoiding beginner mistakes.
Alex and Monique
Sharpen your pencils, grab your best eraser — and maybe even round up a few new materials to try! These projects have our hearts for sheer fun factor, and because each one has something valuable to teach a budding (or already blossoming!) artist.
Bluprint
Drawing with pencil is an art form that you can jump into at any age (Not started yet? Take our Start Drawing Course!) . It requires very few supplies and — honestly! — isn't hard to learn. In fact, if you know how to hold and use a pencil (check!), you already have the basic graphite skills needed to start working with this versatile medium.
Jessie Oleson Moore
If you want your drawings to leap right off the page, you need to master 3D shapes. Implying multi-dimensional form with just paper and a pencil is a simple skill, but also a crucial foundation for realistic drawing. Once you know how to do it, you can apply your knowledge in endless ways.
Sara Barnes
Andy Warhol's soup cans, Roy Lichtenstein's cartoon panels, David Hockney's swimming pools — meet the icons of Pop art! Pop art elevates everyday objects in a bright, fun and bold visual style that, well, pops.
Jessie Oleson Moore
You know those amazing flower drawings that almost look real? That's the magic of colored pencil, and learning how to do it is easier than it seems. Start with a photo you love, or even a real bloom, and see how far you can get!
Sara Barnes
You've probably never made your own sketchbook — it's easy enough to buy one, after all. Possibly the thought of making this thing never even occurred to you.
Hannah Cooper
If there's any other part of the human body that's as tricky to draw as faces, it's hands. They seem simple: just five fingers and a palm. But people can hold their hands in so many different positions. To draw hands well, you need to understand the basics of anatomy and proportions.
Paul Heaston
Lifestyle
You've made up your mind to finally take a crack at knitting, cake decorating, paper crafting … whatever. But how to make it happen when there are so many options? The truth: Just. Go. Start.
Liz Callahan Schnabolk
Whether you're working in watercolor, pen and ink, pencil, colored pencil or something else entirely, one thing's for sure: You're not creating anything if you don't have paper. And using the right kind can make all the difference.
Jessie Oleson Moore
If the rise of the Google Doodle has taught us anything, it's that doodling isn't just absent-minded scribbling. In fact, the opposite is true! According to a much-viewed TED Talk, doodling can have a profound impact on the way we process information and figure out solutions to problems.
Jessie Oleson Moore
Crosshatching is one of those terms that makes you go "Huh?" even though you probably know what it is. You just might not know that you know.
Sara Barnes
ICYMI, we're big proponents of making art every day. Yes — every. single. day. But what happens when you’re fresh out of ideas for what to actually draw or paint?
Sara Barnes
Drawing heads and faces that look like actual humans is tricky. Brace yourself for an instant "Nope!" if something seems off, because people spend all day looking at each other. You can't really fool anyone.
Paul Heaston
If you want to be a next-level artist, learning technique is only the beginning. Your drawings need to express your own personal style and say, "Hey, it's ME."
Jessie Oleson Moore
Let's get some perspective on three-point perspective drawing. First of all, what exactly is it? Here's a quick refresher for anyone who can nail one-point and two-point perspective drawing and feels ready to take on the big three.
Paul Heaston
Perspective is a drawing technique that shows objects in all their 3-D glory even on a flat piece of paper or canvas. The trick: using lines that recede to express a sense of distance.
Paul Heaston
You might think that learning lettering requires just a paper and pen — and you’re right! But you’ll find it’s much easier to learn this new skill if you get a little more specific with your supplies. I’ve broken it down into three major categories to help guide your shopping.
The great thing about drawing is that you don't need special supplies. Go ahead and use the tiny pencil from mini golf or the paper bag that once carried your Chinese takeout.
Veronica Winters
Pencil lines go askew, marks end up where you don't want them, composition ideas change. People make mistakes, especially when they are new to drawing.
Jessie Oleson Moore
Watercolor pencils look like regular colored pencils, and you pretty much use them the same way... with one exception. When you add water to your drawing, something incredible happens: you've suddenly got watercolor art.
Sandrine Pelissier
Bringing a person to life with just a pencil and a piece of paper is a magical thing — and a really good reason to learn how to sketch.
Antonella Avogadro
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t draw animals, and now I'm lucky enough to be a professional animal artist. Whether you have the same goal or just want to get better at drawing these living creatures, I've got some tips for you. We'll start with the basics, move on to the nitty-gritty of drawing an animal head, and finish by discussing proportions, facial expressions and art materials.
Susan Fox
You're finally sketching pictures you're proud of, and you feel as pleased as you did when your first-grade teacher tacked your stick-figure drawings on the bulletin board.
Jessie Oleson Moore
Fluffy, fuzzy, short or long: Fur comes in all kinds of textures, lengths and colors, and it's a major reason why animals are so darn cute. But believe it or not, you don't actually need to draw every single strand of fur on an animal if you want it to look realistic. You don't even need to draw one strand. (That goes for human hair too, by the way.)
Antonella Avogadro
It's confession time: We're having an affair — with charcoal. When it comes to black-and-white drawing, no other medium is as rich and satisfying. We're crazy about the dark, velvety colors and loose, gestural marks.
Paul Heaston
You might think that you can't create a lifelike portrait without having a good eye. That's partly true. But mostly, portrait painting requires technique. And luckily, that’s something you can learn.
Antonella Avogadro
The holidays are quickly approaching, and if you’re like me, you have artists to buy for.
Kateri Ewing
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!
Sara Barnes
We bet you've seen it: Art that looks like an incredible painting, but was actually done with colored pencils. These seemingly simple tools can create an incredible range of dramatic effects, if you know the right techniques to bring to the table. Ready to try? Go!
Veronica Winters
If you tend to focus on realistic drawings, then shifting into the abstract can be a bit of a head-scratcher. But once you get rolling, you'll love this fun, stress-free form. After all, there are certainly no rules about what your piece should look like in the end! Abstract drawing techniques are great because they help us see things in a different way, and they really stretch the imagination.
Sara Barnes
All you have to do is look at a cool sketch of an urban scene and the urge to try it yourself comes knocking. Am I right? And once you get comfy with this way of documenting the world around you, you'll never run out of fascinating subjects to draw. Problem is, getting started can seem a little scary. But not anymore!
Sara Barnes
Whether we're filling up a vase or creating some new artwork, roses have our hearts. And while it's always hard to compete with nature's beauty, colored pencils do a pretty darn good job of getting this flower's deep, romantic color just right. Want to draw one? We'll walk you through it.
Sara Barnes
Are you a creativity weekend warrior? Instead of drawing or painting once a week, what if you did it every single day? Artists who've made it through 30, 100, or even 1000 days of continuous practice swear by this approach. You're probably rolling your eyes right this very minute, wondering how you could possibly squeeze in one more thing with your crazy life. Fair enough. But let's start with the why:
Elaine Lipson
Do you want to add dimension and texture to your drawings? Don’t answer that...of course you do. Enter: hatching. This simple technique uses small clusters of lines to add shadows and perspective to a sketch. And it's totally easy to learn! To start, print out several copies of an outline of any object or shape (we used a hand). Then, test each of the six hatching techniques below on a different image. You'll find practice makes perfect.
Paul Heaston
As long as people have been making art, the landscape has been part of it. Whether it’s desolate fields or a bustling metropolis, we have a natural desire to capture the world around us. Of course anyone who's ever put pencil to paper knows that's not necessarily easy to do. But one key principle goes a long way in taking your landscapes from "meh" to majestic (and it works in any medium!).
Sara Barnes
We all have our go-to doodles. You know, those familiar shapes and pictures that seem to appear by magic on scraps of paper when you're not even aware that you're scribbling. As it turns out, what you choose to doodle can say a lot about your personality!
Jessie Oleson Moore
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