Free Online Drawing Lessons Actually Worth your time

We really live in an amazing time of possibility.

Knowledge is available right at your fingertips. The internet has become an integrated part of acquiring information, and you can find information online about pretty much anything.

Here on The Drawing Journey, the subject is obviously drawing, so drawing lessons, and, even better, free online drawing lessons, are one of the subjects that I regularly search for.

Now, the obvious first hurdle, that you would come across in this endeavor, is the same that everybody comes across when looking for something online: The sheer amount of information out there! There are literally hundreds if not thousands of online resources for drawing. The second hurdle is the quality, or should I say lack there of…?

I make no claim to know all of the free resources out there, and I have no desire to, either. That would be way too time-consuming! But I have looked though quite a few of them. Enough to know what I look for, and enough to have developed a good sense of what is quality and what is just click bait.

 

Free Quality Lessons Can be Hard to Come by…


Let me just get one thing straight: I don’t think there’s any harm in trying to sell something, we all have to make a living. And a lot of the time, artist will create a free course as a way to get you interested in their lessons, and then you can pay for more material, perhaps of a greater quality. A completely honest and fair business model. Give a free sample, to show your potential customers what you offer, and then let them decide if they want to buy more.

But the problem for those of us looking for good lessons (free OR paid), is that when the free lessons offered, are ONLY a tool lo lure in potential customers, and there have been no or very little effort made to actually put some quality work into those free online drawing lessons, then we are just left frustrated, wasting our time. And the unfortunate truth is that there is a lot of that out there in today’s wild west of the internet.

… But they do Exist!


-Having said that, there are still some very good free lessons available out there, and as a beginning artist, you should make full use of them. If nothing else, then just to find out what style of learning you prefer. We’re all different people, and we learn in different ways. Including when it comes to drawing.

 

The Following List consists of four sites with free online drawing lessons

And they are some of the ones that I have used -and still use-  myself, and that I consider top-notch! These are made by real artists, with real skill, and with a true desire to pass on their knowledge. They are of a quality that I would gladly pay for if I had to! (But fortunately I don’t, and neither do you… ) Enjoy! 🙂

 


1) Drawabox.com

The home of Uncomfortable as is his Reddit moniker. Also known as Irshad Karim, concept artist and illustrator. Irshad works primarily on games and thus in a digital work space. But the lessons in drawabox.com are real life drawing. If you take his full course, you will learn A LOT about shapes, perspective, line work, and much more. This really is an exceptional free resource. Plus there’s quite a big community on Reddit connected to it, where people submit their homework for critique by other users. You can also become a member of Irshads Patreon page, and have him critique it himself.

Another reason why I like this page, is that it takes the same approach that I do: That drawing is not some magical innate talent, that you’re born with. It’s a skill that is learned through practice.

Fair warning, though… It’s quite work heavy. There’s probably a good 12-15 hours of drawing in the first lesson alone! And it’s not easy stuff, but absolutely worth i!

-And no, the name is not coincidental… You WILL be drawing a lot of boxes! 😉

 

2) TheVirtualInstructor.com

This site offers free and paid lessons. When you land on the actual page, you’ll find a link to “Start your Trial”. Ignore that and scroll down to the different categories. In here you’ll find the individual lessons. Some of them are marked with “membership required” those are obviously the paid lessons. All the others are free.

There’s a lot of good stuff on here. They’re divided into lessons on pencil, colored pencil, graphite, mixed media etc. There are lessons on general drawing techniques, as well as specific lessons on how to draw a feather, a skull and such. Tons of fun!

The site also has a section on painting, if you’re interested in that. Built up very much the same way as the drawing section.

A lot of good stuff on here. Definitely enough material to keep you busy for a while!

 

3) Toad Hollow Studio

The home of Carol Rosinsky. A fantastic artist in the field of fine pencil drawing. Although Carol works in a style that is quite far from what I personally strive to do, I find her work and her lessons very inspirational. Carol has a fantastic sense of shapes, and a very fine, almost delicate approach to her drawing. She is also a great writer, with a very flourishing language, so her blog is an absolute delight to read.

 

4) Artyfactory.com

Offers drawing as well as painting and art appreciation classes. This is another great resource. Especially if you’re interested in taking your drawing a step further, and maybe try your hand with some painting as well. There’s a good amount of pencil lessons on here, but the most interesting parts are the different media lessons. For strict pencil drawing, I would probably turn to one of the other sites first.

 

So there you have it! 

-These are some of the best free online drawing lessons, I have come across. I hope you’ll find them useful.

 

Should You Consider Paying for Lessons?


Free Online Drawing Lessons Actually Worth Your Time

Emily Morter

Like I said in the beginning, there’s a lot of very low quality free lessons out there. Some of them are really just click bait to get you to come to a site, and then pay for an upgrade. I’ve looked through quite a bit of them, and I know that for me personally, they don’t work! Because I don’t sign up for a paid upgrade of a low quality product. Be it drawing lessons or anything else…

But… When you really get down to it, I guess it is with drawing lessons, as it is with most anything else: at the end of the day, maybe you actually get what you pay for. If you really want quality, you should probably fork out a little money. I know that as soon as I have a little more time on my hands, I will be getting some actual lessons with an instructor. There’s just no two ways about it. Learning from somebody more qualified than myself is such a valuable thing, and can never be replicated by self study, no matter how diligent and self disciplined I am.

I am also a big fan of drawing books. I think there’s something to be said for sitting with the actual book in front of me, when I am drawing. Maybe I’m old fashioned that way… 😉 Whether you prefer electronic media or old school paper books, I really don’t think I should be too concerned about paying for it. Think about it this way: a good drawing book will run you maybe 20 or 30$, and you can work with it for years! It really is a small investment for advancing in a field that you enjoy, and that will bring you SO much pleasure and benefit as drawing will.

I have already bought several drawing books over the years, and I haven’t regretted a single one! There are even quite a few of them, that I’ve barely used. But that’s alright. I know that one day I’ll stumble upon it on my bookshelf or going through some boxes, and BAM! Inspiration strikes… 🙂

When I get the time, I’ll write some reviews on some of the books that I’ve used, and feel that I’ve benefited from.

Until then, enjoy your free online drawing lessons, and I hope you get as much out of them, as I have.

Best wishes,

Michael

 

 

 

 

 

How to Draw Swords – Easy and Fun

Swords are so much fun to draw. And they also represent a great subject for creative freedom, since you can vary the difficulty, details, and style almost infinitely to suit your own taste and style.

In this lesson, I will show you how to draw swords with a very simple approach. I’m keeping it simple and relatively easy, and you should be able to follow along without too much difficulty.

Afterwards you can simply follow the same basic steps and simply change or add whatever details you feel like, to make it your own.

For this drawing, I am using a mechanical pencil 0,5 mm, and standard copy paper A4 size (8,5 x 11 inches, for the Americans). At the end I am using some fineliners for the outlining, and some simple felt tip pens for the colouring.

For an overview of the process, here is a video of me drawing a different (but very similar) sword.

So if you’re ready, grab your pencil, and let’s get started!

Step One: Guidelines

Make a cross.

These are your guidelines, so make sure to draw them nice and light, as you’ll be erasing them later on

I used a ruler in this case, since I drew this particular sword big enough to fill the entire page (an A4 size), but that is absolutely not necessary. In fact, I am usually not a big fan of rulers and templates. I think drawings become much more lively when drawn in free hand.

How to Draw Swords - Step 1

 

Step two: Blade and handle

Using your guidelines, draw a shape for your blade, and your handle.

In this case, I’m drawing a sword that’s kind of adventure-ish in its shape, so my blade is a bit on the dramatic side! Feel free to shape your own blade anyway you want!

As you can tell, I am no longer using a ruler. From here on out, it’s completely free hand, since that’s the way I prefer it. But you should absolutely not feel bound to do it that way. If you find it exceedingly difficult to get your blade relatively straight, feel free to use a ruler! (OR… Go practice your straight lines… Here is a link to some exercises.)

(Oh, and I’m not sure what happened with the guideline to the handle, I must have cut it of during scanning 😉 )

How to Draw Swords - Step 2

 

Step three: Handguard

Still using your guidelines, draw a shape for your handguard.

I am lining the handguard up with the bottom part of the actual blade (where it meets the handle). I am also using the original guidelines to get the handguard relatively even.

(The handguard is one of the obvious places to get creative, and add your own personal touch!)

How to Draw Swords - Step 3

Step Four: Contour Lines

All the way down the handle I am now drawing contour lines.

These will add shape and a 3D feel to the handle. I’m still drawing lightly, as I’m still working on the basic shape of the sword, and will be drawing over these lines.

I have also erased the guidelines in the handguard, to clean that part up a little bit.

How to Draw Swords - Step 4

Step Five: More Shape to the Handle

Using the previously added contour lines as new guidelines, I add some more fill and shape to the handle.

What I’m doing is simple drawing small curves on top of the contour lines from step four, and continuing them in towards the middle of the handle. This also adds to the 3D effect.

I also erase the guideline in the middle of the handle, which will give a nice effect later on, when I start adding the shading.

How to Draw Swords - Step 5

Step six: The Pommel

Yes, that is what it is called… The knob at the end of the handle…

Bonus History lesson: The name Pommel is derived from french “pomel” which means “small apple”. Originally it was added as a means to prevent the sword from slipping out of the warrior’s hand during the fight. In certain types of big and heavy swords, it also had an effect as a counterweight, making the sword easier to control.

Now as far as drawing it. What I’m doing in this case, is actually adding two pointy shapes at the end of the handle. The smallest one first, as an extension of the handle. And then using that as a guide to add the bigger shape around it.

How to Draw Swords - Step 6

Step seven: The Pommel Continued

At this point, I erase the original rounded shape from my handle, and I clean up the lines a little bit.

The Pommel is also one of those places, where it’s easy to get creative.

In this case I’m keeping it very simple for clarity’s sake, but you can certainly add many details to this. You can also vary the shape and size as much as you want.

How to Draw Swords - Step 7

Step eight: First Details to the Blade

Fortification of the attachment to the handle.

This part is absolutely optional, I just found it fun to add… That’s one of the beauties of drawing. You can do what ever you want! 😉

How to Draw Swords - Step 8

Step nine: More Details to the Blade

Working off of the fortification I drew in step eight, I’m adding a shape to the middle of the blade.

I’m almost copying the shape of the actual blade.

Again, I’m keeping it simple, but this is another obvious spot to add your own artistic vision. There are lots of artists, far more skilled than me, who draw swords, and add incredibly detailed patterns and artwork to this particular part.

How to Draw Swords - Step 9

Step ten: Adding Sharpness to the Blade

Two diagonal lines at the end of the blade.

This way I’m adding a bit more “pointiness” to the sword, giving it a sharper look.

I also erase the guideline from the shape in the middle that I drew in step nine.

How to Draw Swords - Step 10

Step eleven: Shading

As always, the shading adds so much depth to the drawing, and lifts it to another level.

Shading is something that you can always work on, and it can be done in a hundred different ways. Honestly I am not particularly good at it, and it is one of the areas, that I am working on. (I’ll be adding some tutorials specifically about this. I just feel I need to hone my own skills some more first, before I actually teach this technique).

But basically this is crosshatching. And what I am trying to do is this:

1) keep my light source coming from one direction, adding the hatching on the opposite side.

2) Adding the actual lines of the hatching in the shape of the object that I’m working on, to underline that particular shape. What this basically means is this: On the blade, the lines are straight, and on the handle and the handguard, the lines are curvy. This adds to the shape of those objects, and adds to the 3D effect of the overall drawing.

How to Draw Swords - Step 11

Step Twelve: Outlining in Ink

With a fineliner, I draw over every line I’ve done.

I used two different sizes for this. A 0.5 mm for the edges, and a 0,3 mm for the shading. You don’t have to do this, though. You can definitely use one size for everything.

Another option is to just leave it in pencil! Pencil drawings have a very cool aesthetic to them. In that case, I would do a similar thing. Going over the lines again, and adding some more darkness to them.

But in this case, I am actually going to colour my sword, and I feel that an outline in ink works better for that purpose.How to Draw Swords - Step 12

Step Thirteen: Adding Light Reflections

To add to the life of the drawing, I am adding some areas with are going to be left white, when I colour the drawing.

I am drawing them lightly in pencil first, and then I’m outlining them with a 0,1 mm fineliner.

This is a bit of an experiment on my part. I know the effect works, but whether I’ll be able to pull it off, remains to be seen. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right…?!? 😉

Hopefully this will look cool, when add the colour around it.

How to Draw Swords - Step 13Step Fourteen: Colour

Rounding it off.

I’m keeping a very simple colouring scheme, consisting of grey, yellow, orange and brown. And then, of course, the white areas that I drew in step thirteen, representing light reflections.

Colouring is definitely something I’ll try and do more of. I haven’t done it too much, as I’m a big fan of pencil drawings, and ink drawings. I just think they have a very cool aesthetic to them. But colouring can also add an awesome dimension. It’s just different expressions, I guess. And ultimately. I want to be able to work within as many as possible.

How to Draw Swords - Step 14

 

So there you have it. A simple lesson on how to draw swords. I hope it made sense to you, and that you got something out of it. I also hope you’ll be drawing lots of swords, and trying your hand at different variations.

I know I learned a lot from this. So I am a happy camper. As you may or may not know, this is a journey towards learning or relearning to draw. I am learning as I go, and I am sharing what I learn with everybody who come to my sight. All of it for free!

I’ll also be sharing what I learn about resources, and materials, and any thoughts I may come up with along the way regarding these things.

So if you’re interested in learning to draw, you’ve come to the right place.

Thanks for visiting, and feel free to join me on The Drawing Journey. I’d love to hear from you, so comments are very welcome.

Have fun,

Michael

 

 

 

 

Drawing From The Shoulder – Best Exercises

This exercise actually consists of five different exercises, that all work on several aspects of your drawing technique. The main focus throughout them is on flow and on a smooth line, two things that come from drawing from your shoulder. And as you may know, smoothness and flow will seriously improve your ability to capture motions and life in your sketching and in your drawing.

Some continuous work with these exercises will have you seeing great improvements to the ease and the life of your drawings.

I picked these exercises up from the polish artist Andre Pijet, and I absolutely love them! Not alone are they immensely useful, they’re also fun to do, and as you might know, I am a big fan of making it fun to draw. The practice as well as the actual drawing sessions. Win-win!

Personally I have found, that my sketching in particular, has improved a lot since I began working with these exercises. And since the sketches obviously are the foundation for everything that comes after, this translates to overall improvements! Awesomeness all around!

Not much else to say about this. Give these exercises a try, and feel your arm liberate itself as you incorporate the motions into your muscle memory.

Good luck, and happy drawing!

Drawing boxes.

Boxes are one of the most fundamental shapes, you should be able to master. And drawing them is a fantastic exercise in itself. You can NEVER draw too many boxes!

Besides the basic skills required to draw the actual lines that make up the boxes, this also includes a good mastery of symmetri, which is immensely useful.

But there’s another aspect to drawing boxes, which is perhaps the most important. It forces you to start seeing the world in 3D, which is absolutely key to putting life into your drawings.

If you’re uncertain how to actually  draw a box, fear not! I’ll be adding a lesson on this very shortly!

Go ahead and give this exercise a try. As you can see, this is a simple box, drawn from seven different angles, viewed from above, and then from below.

Daily Drawing Exercises - Boxes

Like most of these simple exercises and shapes, boxes can be drawn on any corner of any piece of scrap paper, news paper, school paper or toilet paper (before you wipe!) that you can get your hands on.

And like with the simple lines, this is one of those things that will give tremendous results over time! As simple as it may seem, it activates your neural pathways building muscle memory, and it helps to build the habit of drawing regularly. These two things are probably the most important factors in learning the skill of drawing.

So I’ll say it again: you can NEVER draw too many boxes! 😉

 

Happy drawing!

 

Circles and Much More!

In this exercise we take it up a notch, and add some different aspects. It starts with some simple lines, that act as a basis for step two, which are small circles, and other basic shapes. Then adding a bit of extra spice with some small adjustments. Next we go into some bigger motions, but continuing on with the basic shapes.

When all is said and done, we have an excellent exercise, that works on many different aspects of your drawing technique, with a focus on circles. Regular work with this exercise, will have you seeing big improvements to your drawing hand.

Now that we’ve practiced our circles, let’s put them to work with some actual drawings, shall we…?!?

Here is a collection of some simple drawings that I did, that are all based on a circle as a guideline. Go ahead and have some fun with these. As you can probably see, I left in a trace of the initial circles that I drew as my guidelines. This is to demonstrate how I used them as the foundation of my drawing. Normally one would erase these, so you could do that. (Or not… It’s completely up to you! 😉

In fact, you can do anything you will. Go crazy! Add or change as much as you like with these drawings. Or just do them as is… The point is to get some drawing miles in your hands.

Easy Beginner Drawings From Circles

And of course, I encourage you to practice your creativity, and come up with your own ideas. But don’t worry, if you can’t come up with any for now! As you draw more, you will start noticing shapes of things in your vicinity, and ideas will come to you!

Happy Drawing.

Curvy lines

Yes, straight lines and curvy lines go together hand in hand… Naturally! 😉

Not too much to say about this. Enjoy it! Try to get into a flow when you’re practicing, and really try to find the beauty in the line itself. This may sound a little out there, but a well done line, with a perfect curve and flow, really can be a thing of beauty to the aspiring artist. 😉

These exercises (and any variation of them) can be done every day, and they’re so simple! You can always throw a curvy line across any piece of paper, chalk board or whatever you have handy.

Do Not Underestimate the Power of Simple Lines!

I cannot stress this enough! How valuable using your drawing hand on a daily basis in this simple manner really is. Just a few lines on a random piece of paper, activates the neural pathways, which builds muscle memory, and it also helps building the habit of drawing. It is perhaps THE simplest way to improve your drawing skills.

Happy Drawing!

 

Straight Lines

Yes, that’s right! Straight lines are extremely important, and can be quite challenging to master, and I absolutely recommend spending some time on them.

Here is a video with some suggestions on how to go about that:

After you spend some time with this, it’s time to put it to use, don’t you think?!? So here is a collection of some really simple drawings you can work on, consisting mainly of straight lines.

Easy Beginner Drawings Collection

This is a collection I came upon somewhere on the web, and I drew it as a practice of my own, and I absolutely recommend that you do the same thing. The easiest way is to sketch it out softly with a pencil first, and then thicken the lines afterwards, if you want to. I redrew everything in black ink in order to make it stand out better for this picture, but that is obviously not a necessity.

Rulers?

As you can clearly see, I didn’t use a ruler for any of the straight lines in these drawings. You CAN use one if you like, but I would recommend that you don’t! First of, it’s good to practice straight lines in free hand, and second, rulers give a sort of “clinical look” to drawings. This is great if you are going for that “architectural feel”, but a lot of times the more organic line, that comes with the micro imperfections you automatically get when drawing by hand, is just more pleasing to the eye.

Happy drawing!

Drawing From the Shoulder – Gospel or Gossip

So… You’ve moved past the initial doodling and stick figures, that most of us start off with, and you’ve started acquiring an interest in actually learning the techniques of drawing… So what do you do now?!? You start looking into drawing lessons and tutorials of course. And very soon you’re faced with the inevitable advice that you should be drawing from your shoulder (You might have even heard this from me!). Sometimes this is even accompanied by something along the lines of “…and not from your wrist!”

What does this mean, and does it actually hold true?

Well, as I often do, I was sitting around doodling the other day, and I started thinking about just that. And I realized that I myself wasn’t actually drawing from the shoulder a lot of the time.

My first reaction was “Whoops! Corrections are due!” But then I thought about it for a minute, and I realized that this was almost like a conditioned reaction. One that didn’t spring from actual reflection, but more from a place of “this is the way it is done!”

So, as is my custom, I began to ponder whether this was actually sound advice, or just another one of those dogmatic truths, that have been thrown around for so long, that we simply stopped questioning it. Naturally I decided to do the logical thing in such a situation, and dive into it, do my own research, and attempt to find out what the ups and downs are, to this matter.

Should you be bending over backwards to try to learn to draw from the shoulder? Or should you stick with your childhood habit, and just draw from your wrist?

Well the Answer I found is a Very Non-Dramatic: It Depends!

It depends on what you’re actually drawing, on the size of your paper, on the tool you’re drawing with, on the style and/or effect you’re going for, and a lot of other factors.

Confused? Well a little bit maybe, but fear not, I am about to reveal everything I’ve come to know on the subject!

 

Let’s Start at The Beginning, Shall We?


Drawing from the Shoulder - The Beginning

When people start drawing, the default tool that most people will reach for is usually a pencil. This is very understandable, as a pencil is usually readily available, you can erase any mistakes you might make, and it’s just what you always see “real” artists working with, right?

Most people also grab the pencil in very much the same way as they have been taught to write: Very close to the tip, with a firm grip, controlling the pencil from the wrist, which gives great control of the pencil. And then they continue to the actual act of drawing by starting out with clear and sharp lines trying to get something nice on paper.

This Approach is by no Means Wrong. It is, However, Very Difficult!

-The pencil IS a great tool! It’s been, and still is, a preferred tool for many artists. But it does come with some important challenges, that might actually make it NOT the best choice for a beginner.

Drawing from the Shoulder - PencilA sharp pencil is a very precise tool to work with. And it’s very flexible in the amount of colour actually being laid down on the paper. Depending on the hardness of the pencil, and on the pressure you apply. These traits make the pencil great for shading, as well as outlining. So it makes it a sort of complete tool in itself. Well suited to start and finish complete drawings without the use of anything else.

But all this flexibility actually makes the pencil quite hard to master! So what can easily happen, is that they get caught up in small details -the hardest part of a drawing- and they end up spending a lot of time not really being satisfied with how it looks, and not getting to the big picture (pun intended). This ultimately leads to frustration, perhaps giving up, and once again reaffirming that drawing is too difficult a task, and not for them!

Now, if you wanted to avoid this situation, you could simply take a bigger piece of paper, perhaps place it on an easel, and then sketch something quickly, in broader strokes, you would be forced to draw from your shoulder, simply because you would not be able to rest your elbow on the table. And I guarantee you, that you would be much more likely to catch the overall vibe of what you’re going for! And then afterwards, it would be a lot easier to fill in the details, since you would have a “skeleton” to hang everything on.

The big picture and the overall feel of a drawing is found in the broader strokes, and NOT in the details. (The broader strokes that are SO much easier to do when you’re drawing from your shoulder). This is the exact reason why almost all artists start out with some very basic shapes representing the overall outline of the picture. And only after they capture the essence of the movements and the “vibe” of what they’re trying to draw. Then they go into the details of the picture.

Imagine playing Pictionary (the game where you draw pictures, and your team has to guess them). Let’s say you get tasked with drawing a tennis game. Would you start going into the finer details of getting the fluffy texture of the tennis ball just right?!? No, of course you wouldn’t! You would draw two stick figures with crude rackets made from a line and a circle. And that would be absolutely enough! With 99% certainty you would win the round, and move your team forward towards victory and glory! The point being -again- that you get the message across in the big picture, not in the details.

Drawing From Your Shoulder - StickMan Tennis

Stick figure tennis. Not exactly a masterpiece, but the message is crystal clear.

 

It’s a fact that many art classes actually start out with the first lessons being taught, standing in front of an easel, drawing with charcoal -quite a clumsy tool. This makes it pretty much impossible to go into small details, and thus it forces you to focus on the larger strokes. I would speculate that this is a very conscious decision.

The Big Picture First…


Revolver - Rough Shapes

 

-A light grip, and an equally light stroke with the pencil. Breaking the drawing down to basic shapes, that are placed correctly in the right proportions. And only then -slowly- filling in the details. This is a much easier approach. And this is when drawing with your shoulder becomes so immensely effective!

-What it does is, It frees up your drawing hand. This, in turn, extends your range dramatically, which leaves you free to really move around the paper, and go wherever your mind and eye takes you. It is what gives you that flow and smoothness, that will allow you to capture postures, motions and dynamics on paper. -Capture life, if you will.

And this is fantastic when you’re laying down the loose and quick strokes that are typical for sketching out the very beginnings of a drawing. OR… for when you’re not entirely sure what you want to draw and just want to throw some lines on a piece of paper, to see if inspiration springs forth. OR… for when you want to try out some different versions of a drawing before actually going into the details of it. All scenarios, that will set you up for success when you actually get into the details of your drawing.

 

… Then the Details


Revolver - Final

 

Once you have your basic outlines, and all the elements of your drawing placed, THEN you go into the details! And this is the point where your drawing technique becomes a lot more diversified. Meaning that now you start cleaning up the lines from your initial broad strokes, and start adding in the details. And this is when you whip out the full arsenal! When all is fair, just like in love and war!

Now you draw from the wrist, from the fingers, from the elbow etc. You smear your lines, you use your eraser for special effects. Basically anything you need to do, to get the effect you want on paper. There are NO rules!

So the short answer to the initial question of whether you should be drawing from your shoulder? My opinion is: absolutely! But you should also be drawing from your wrist, and from everything else available to you!

Drawing From the Shoulder Takes Practice


As I’ve stated a couple of times, there’s a great amount of freedom that comes from drawing from the shoulder. However, all this freedom and ease of movement obviously comes at a price. A price in the from of precision. It takes a lot of practice to actually lay down these flowing lines the right way. And it will also lack the details that you can add when you’re drawing from the wrist. This is why you should spend some time practicing drawing from your shoulder.

Fortunately I have a couple of great exercises for just that, and you can find them right here.

 

The basic principle is that you hold on to your pencil with a light grip, and then you hold your wrist steady, while moving your entire arm in one motion. This works best if you go at a reasonable tempo. Too slow makes it very difficult, too fast makes it very imprecise.

But remember that the purpose of the exercises is to incorporate it into your muscle memory, so that you no longer think about it. Once you get the movement internalized, you will not think about when to draw from your shoulder, and when to draw from your wrist. You will flow effortlessly between the movements, and combine them to give you the specific line you need at any given time.

And that is when you’ll experience true freedom and true flow, and you’ll see your drawing escalate to a new level!

Good luck, and happy drawing!

Daily Drawing Exercises – Improve Your Basic Skills

One of the basic premises of this site, is the fact, that I consider drawing to be a skill. A skill that is learned, and not some magical innate talent, that you either have or don’t… This is great news, because it means that anybody can learn to draw! (Yes, that goes for you and me too!) It does however take some work. Work in the form of practice. This is where your daily drawing exercises come into play. And it just so happens that I am in the process of making such a collection. And… You just happen to be looking at it!

New Exercises Will be Added Regularly

This collection is a continuous process, and I’ll be updating it as often as I can, so make sure to check back from time to time. I am not gonna rush it, though, because I absolutely wanna make sure, that the content I provide is the best possible quality I can muster! This means researching, trying and working with the exercises, before actually getting them ready for presentation in the form of writing, photos, and/or video, and finally posting them. All of this takes time, so a little patience is appreciated… 😉

Now Without Further Ado, On to The Exercises:

(These are links that will take you to the pages containing the actual exercises)

1) Straight Lines

2) Curvy Lines

3) Circles and Much More

4) Drawing Boxes

5) Drawing from the shoulder

 

A Few Words on Practicing


Daily Drawing Exercises - Practicing

First of all: let’s get one thing straight! Practice is NOT dull! Practice can be fun! This is an important point that I wanna stress right away! There is absolutely no reason why practicing your drawing skills should be tedious, boring work. Practice done right, can very well be fun and engaging!

The exercises in this post, are exercises I use myself on a daily basis, and I personally find them very enjoyable. To keep things fresh, though, I don’t necessarily do all of them every day. I’ll switch between them, and I’ll sometimes take out smaller elements and work on them individually, depending on my mood, and the situation that I am in. This alleviates a lot of the feeling of duty and “pressure” from structured practice, and adds a lightness to it, which can be very enjoyable. Of course, I combine this with more structured practice sessions to make sure I am working on all the aspects I find necessary for my development. I just want to make sure that my drawing keeps being a source of fun and enjoyment! I certainly have enough duties in my life… 😉

Now, having said that. I do find it important to notice, that the experience of developing my drawing IS a source of enjoyment to me, and I wanna make sure that I improve continuously. So I am mindful about being consistent with my practice. I just find it useful to spend a little energy thinking about how I go about it, to combine joy and relaxation with progress. It’s a balance, like most anything in life.

Get the Most Out of Your Practice Time


There are actual several ways to beef up your practice, by thinking about HOW you practice. For some more inspiration on this, I suggest you go take a look at my post “How to Improve Your Drawing Skills” which has a lot of great information on several techniques, that can help you to maximize the efficiency of your practice. These will help you progress faster, which will definitely also add to the fun of Your Drawing Journey.

One general point that I just wanna throw in here, is that a little bit every day goes a long way! In general, it’s a lot better to practice your drawing for shorter periods regularly (preferably every day), than to do marathon bursts once a week. This actually goes for any motor skill that you want to learn. Whether it’s learning an instrument, balancing on a rail or cutting vegetables really well…! Any motor skill that takes a degree of coordination, will develop better and more efficiently with regular (smaller) amounts of practice than with long stretches done once in a while.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should NOT do longer sessions! Obviously it is great and highly beneficial to draw for long stretches of time, where you really get into the flow of it, perhaps putting on some music, and just getting lost in drawing.

It just means that you should not disregard the importance of a couple of minutes doodling, or drawing circles here and there, or just whipping some quick lines across the morning paper, or while you’re standing around waiting for the copier to finish, or whatever… These tiny stimulations of your drawing hand, done regularly adds up, and actually amounts to quite a bit. Besides, it also helps to build a habit of drawing.

So doodle along all you want, comfortable in the knowledge that it all helps!