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Cathleen Lengyel > Scribbles > Artist Help > How Do I Improve My Drawings

How Do I Improve My Drawings

I think the biggest question I hear from others is, “How do I improve my drawings?” The best answer is, practice. I don’t say that being facetious, it really is true.  The more you draw, the better you will become.  Remember the old saying, “Practice makes perfect?”  Art is a constant process of learning and practicing.  Artists should strive to improve throughout their career. One of the biggest issues I have seen with artists, especially young artists, is they become exasperated when they spend 30 minutes on a drawing and it doesn’t look the way they want.  We live in an era of instant everything.  However, with art, there is no “quick” or “easy” method. If you want to improve you need to take your time. On average my works take 50 plus hours from start to finish.  Most of my larger pieces take upwards of 80 hours! Slow down.  There’s no rush when it comes to creating art.  Take a deep breath, relax and have fun.  Really look at what you are drawing.  Draw what you see! Often times people will add things to the subject they are drawing that aren’t in their reference photo.  This will change the overall look of the drawing and more times than not, make it look unrealistic.  If you are going for realism, you need to only draw what you see. Using a graph technique can help a great deal.  Draw your subject square by square. Focus on one square at a time.  Instead of drawing an eye, for example, draw the shapes you see in the square, not the eye as a whole.  Look for directions of hair or fur, look at shadows, look at details and do your best to recreate them.  If you’re still having problems a neat trick is to turn both your reference photo and your artwork upside down.  This forces you to see the shapes and contours and not the overall subject. A great resource for improving is YouTube.  There are tons of artists in all mediums who have tutorials.  Videos not only explain techniques, but also show them being utilized.  It can be immensely helpful to actually see someone doing something, not just explaining it.  There are some fantastic graphite artists from whom I have learned new techniques. Remember, being an artist is having a need to create, it’s like breathing to us.  It’s not all ability and talent, we’re all constantly striving to improve.  What makes you an artist is the feeling deep down inside that pulls you to creating your art.  Be kind to yourself, never give up.  Art is a lifetime journey.

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