Click here to read the introduction to the course if you missed it!
Drawing is simply the process of layering shapes, lines, scribbles and values on top of each other until you get your desired result.
In this first lesson, we’re going to focus on the process of sketching. If you can make a mark on a piece of paper, you can learn how to sketch! You don’t need to be able to draw straight lines or perfect circles in order to be an artist.
Introduction to Sketching
Sketching is the process of roughly scribbling an idea on paper. It allows you to bring your ideas to life quickly so you can save time in the long run. It’s a great way to brainstorm!
The awesome thing about sketches is that they usually blend in or fade away while you continue to build upon the concept of your drawing.
So don’t be afraid to make mistakes!
This stage is meant for exploration! When I make a mistake, I find ways to use that mistake to my advantage. If I can’t, I’ll simply move on.
How to Sketch
It’s best to use free flowing lines that are loosely and lightly drawn. To do that, adjust your grip on the pencil so that your hand is relaxed instead of tense. If your hand usually gets tired after you’ve drawn for less than an hour, you’re probably gripping it too tightly.
It’s okay if your lines are wobbly because you may not be used to drawing certain lines and curves yet. Drawing is very different from writing, so you’ll need to improve your muscle memory by drawing as frequently as you can!
When making an initial sketch, you’ll want to leave your perfectionism behind and focus on general shapes. Think about the size, shape, angle, etc. The last thing you want to think about is detail!
Let’s Sketch Something Together!
Since this is a sketching tutorial for beginners, I’m using my left hand (non-dominant hand) to show you that you don’t need to have good control of your hand in order to sketch well.
Step 1: Sketch a circle loosely
I sketched a circle using a bunch of loosely drawn lines. Don’t worry if your lines are going in weird directions. It’s likely that you’re not going to draw something perfect the first time around. That’s totally fine! Remember, we’re supposed to work in layers.
Step 2: Refine the shape
After your initial sketch, find areas that need improvement and sketch over it until you get closer to your desired result.
Step 3: Keep refining
Keep repeating that step until you get even closer to what you want.
Tip: You can rotate your sketch book to help your eyes look at the shape differently. You might spot some obvious areas that need fixing.
Step 4: Define the shape
Happy with how it looks overall? Use more confident lines to define the shape of your circle. You can erase the scribbly lines or let them disappear naturally as you continue to work on your drawing.
Like That Example? Here are Some More!
After drawing all these examples and more using my non-dominant hand, I noticed some big improvements!
I got used to moving my elbow and shoulder joint to draw which gave me much smoother lines. If you look at the images in the example above, you’l notice that my lines gradually become a lot less wobbly.
I thought it would be fun to show you the difference between a sketch made with my left versus right hand:
Again, you don’t need to be good at drawing straight lines or have amazing control of your pencil in order to be able to sketch. Having good control just means that your drawing will look cleaner and in turn more precise.
Your Homework Assignment
Things to remember while you draw:
- Don’t be a perfectionist
- Focus on the overall shape instead of the details
- Use a gentle amount of pressure
Fill an entire page in your sketchbook, following the steps in this lesson.
Step 1: Sketch Loosely
Step 2: Refine the shape
Step 3: Refine it further
Step 4: Define the desired shape
Find objects to draw around the house, outside or from a quick google search on “random objects”. Once you fill an entire page in your sketchbook, fill another one.
My challenge to you: If you can draw 50 things in your sketchbook and submit it to the facebook page, I’ll feature your artwork down below!
Here are some ideas for you to draw:
- Your hand
- Your foot
- Your eye
- Person jumping
- Person sitting
- Person standing
- My avatar picture
Done the assignment?
Let me know if/how you improved and how this lesson helped you draw better!
If you’re waiting for lesson 2, sign up to my special mailing list in the sidebar or follow me on facebook and I’ll notify you when it’s posted.
Update: Click here for lesson 2
Have any questions? Drop them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you shortly!
Readers Who Completed the Challenge!
Firoz Wadud <– he drew 80!!
Darlene created RFA In 2013 with the goal of sharing simple yet detailed drawing tutorials with other artists on the world wide web. She is a self taught pencil portrait artist and Youtuber.
Thanks so much for this great website!!
How much art do you suggest doing daily?
i am really lucky i found something just like this
Awesome Stuff Darlene!
Hii Darlene , my name is Ankita n I want too learn more about sketches n drawing like creative type becz I want to beacame a cartoon artists one so u can help me ? I love drawing n sketches bt m very poor about I this line so plzz can u help me .
Thank you for the amazing lesson. I’ve been drawing for a long time and am using this as a refresher, plus there are certain things I’m not good at, at all. I just started tonight and I’m really excited. I’m also glad we don’t have to do this with our non-dominant hand, I’m horrible. Actually, not quite as bad as I thought I’d be, but I did learn a few things doing that. I’m a veteran and haven’t been able to go to my groups because of all of this and this has been great to get me back into this. Plus I’m also writing a novel and loving all this time to do this. I don’t usually have this kind of time!!! Please stay safe, and again, great lessons. From Vermont!
This is great. Thank you.
I’m a Fine and applied Arts students from Nigeria (Africa) and I’ve learnt alot during this Quarantine period…. Thank You Darleene!! You da best.
Hi miss Darlene! thank you for your tutorials on youtube! it helps me a lot mostly in this tough time. God bless you more and hope I can contact you through private messages to ask you some advices about my drawings :)