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Learning to draw for beginners – 5 tips and tricks

Tips and tricks for drawing

If you decide to start this new hobby as a complete newbie in the field of drawing and painting, you first look for some tips that can help you. In our blog post, we would like to help you take the first steps with 5 tips and tricks.

Here you will find 5 useful tips & tricks to help you get started with your first exercise.

Tips for beginners in drawing

1. The right drawing materials

To find out if drawing is the right hobby for you, you can start by using what you already have at home. But if you know for sure that you want to draw more often and more ambitiously, special materials are helpful.

We definitely recommend investing in good paper. Drawing or sketch paper is preferable to printer paper or college blocks. High-quality paper offers a different drawing experience than paper that is not designed for it.

For a good start you need the following equipment

  1. a light, slightly structured drawing paper

  2. Pencils or mechanical pencils in different thicknesses, although size 2B is sufficient to start with

  3. a kneaded eraser

  4. an artist's knife or simply a carpet knife (a precision cutter is particularly suitable for cutting paper and cardboard; it is also useful for sharpening pencils, but be careful, it is sharp!)

  5. Sandpaper (for grinding pencil tips)

If you don't know exactly where and what materials you can get, we can recommend art supply stores like Gerstaecker or Boesner . In these art stores you can simply order online or go to their store and indulge in the shopping experience in their huge range.

2. The fear of the blank page and initial choice of motif

Many people who tell themselves that they are not good enough don't dare to start. But no journey begins without the first step. So just start! In the beginning, it is not the result that is important, but the exercise itself.

A good piece of advice to start with is: “Choose a simple motif!” But someone who has never drawn before cannot easily judge what is a simple motif and what is more difficult to realize than you initially thought.

In general, subjects that consist of a few simple shapes and few details are the easiest. When drawing a subject, you always start by breaking it down into basic shapes.

Once you've mastered that, the level of difficulty increases by depicting light and shadow, creating a 3D effect and making the drawing look realistic.

Basic shapes are circles, rectangles, squares and triangles. The representation is initially 2-dimensional (2-D). When 3-dimensionality (3-D) is added, the basic shapes become spheres, cylinders, cubes and cones.

To represent this 3-dimensionality, it is not only the extended basic outlines that are important; the 3-D effect is particularly effective when drawing light and shadow. For this, you need a graduated value scale on your pencil from the lightest to the darkest value. This is called tonality. More on this in the next tip.

3. Tool: Create a Value Scale

Get a 2b pencil, a kneaded eraser and a light-colored drawing paper with a slight texture ready. Now draw a gradual shade of gray with the pencil from white (as light as the paper) to the darkest shade you can achieve with this pencil. This is roughly what your scale should look like in the end:

Drawing aids

To do this, draw 9 equal-sized fields on the paper, as shown above. The first field remains as white as the paper. It is best to start with the last field, the 9th, and shade it as dark as you can. However, make sure that you do not press too hard or go over the same spot too often with the pencil. This will cause too much graphite from the pencil to be laid on top of one another, making the spot shine in the light - we do not want this effect. Even if the exercise seems simple, please do it with the utmost care.

You should make sure that you work gradually from light to dark or vice versa. Each field should be evenly shaded. To achieve this, always work with a sharpened pencil.

With this template, you have created a tool for yourself and practiced shading at the same time. You can use a "value scale" if you are not sure how dark or light your image needs to be. To do this, take your "value scale" and place it on the image you want to draw and estimate the range of the shade of gray.

Drawing for beginners

4. Handling the pen

When it comes to writing instruments (fountain pens, ballpoint pens), we are used to holding our fingers as low as possible on the pen, i.e. close to the paper. The pressure you exert on the pen and therefore on the paper is much greater than if you hold the pen higher up. This logically means that your hand hurts more quickly.

Another disadvantage is that you block your view of the paper if you hold the pen at the bottom of the barrel. The result was that students often had to bend over the paper to see past the pen. This leads to back pain and poor posture.

Ideally, the pen should be held loosely in the hand and the hand should be able to cover the entire length of the pen. The thumb and index finger should not be at the same height on the pen, but the thumb should be slightly higher up. See the photo above for this. However, for a little more precision when drawing, the thumb and index finger can be moved closer together.

5. Talent myth and false expectations

Talent is not a necessary prerequisite for learning something – even when learning to draw, talent is not a must.

Some people have talent and find it easier to learn something new, others just need to practice more and still achieve the same quality results. The basic rule is: practice makes perfect! It doesn't matter whether you have talent or not.

Often you are your own harshest critic. But you shouldn't be too self-critical. Your own expectations have to be realistic in relation to your own abilities. The key is how you deal with mistakes. A drawing can sometimes go wrong - because only those who allow mistakes can learn from them and develop further.

For some, seemingly unattainable role models can be a major motivation killer. Of course, the opposite is also possible. In principle, it is good to look for role models who impress you, who inspire you and who you want to emulate. But don't forget that your role models were not born with their fully developed skills and immediately created masterpieces. The artists we admire took years to train their skills. Basically, you develop throughout your life.

If you are interested in learning these and other tips with us, then visit one of our workshops. Click on the link to get an overview of our workshops: Workshop Overview

You can also find tutorials and further tips on our YouTube Channel .

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