One of the things we often miss from our childhood is our endless love for art. Being artistic and creating unique images with all the materials we can find is a very freeing experience.
Art and drawing allows us to be ourselves and express who we are in a visual representation. There are no strict rules of what to make, and you do not even have to have an idea of what you will create.
As a new artist, someone looking to venture into the art of drawing, what do you need? What techniques are there, and what options can you try?
We have all of that and more for you today.
To begin drawing right away, you can choose from more than 1,500 easy drawing tutorials on Easy Drawing Guides. If you'd like to draw an easy dog, sketch video game characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog, doodle a simple rose, or draw a beautiful butterfly - all of them are there waiting for you!
Essential Drawing Tools For Beginners
Ideally, you could just grab any old thing and start using it to draw, however, if you are enthusiastic about getting into art as a hobby, or even if you are thinking of making it into a career, then consider all the tools you can use.
There are so many options, and you need not settle on only one. We have 16 different items that you should purchase to start your artistic venture. While you do not need all of them, we do recommend it, as it will help you find your muse and your artistic voice.
Trying different tools and techniques is very beneficial for any budding artist.
These are the ones we all know. We know them as ‘lead’ pencils, but they were never actually made from lead. They are made from Graphite.
These pencils are graded from H which is hard, and B which is soft. 9H is the hardest pencil you can get, whereas 9B is the softest, and will glide across the paper. HB is the traditional pencil, and is a happy medium of the two.
You should always have a few of these in your art draw.
Pastel pencils are great for everything. They are harder than soft pastels, and look like colored pencils, however, you should be careful not to drop them, as they will usually break easier.
They have a scratchier and chalkier feel than colored pencils. They can also be amazing for blending work as they are not waxy.
We highly recommend keeping some of these in your art drawer, as they will come in handy more than you think.
Colored pencils are just like graphite pencils, but colored. They do have a wax to lubricate them and make them slide smoothly over the paper.
These pencils are available in a variety of colors, and you can get packs from 12 to 72 or 120 or more! You can get them standard, thick and thin, water-soluble, and so on. Some will make sharp and defined lines, others are better for blending, you can choose which you prefer.
You are probably unfamiliar with the name, but as soon as you hold one, you will remember.
They are a hard chalk or pastel, and are the best for colored sketches. They are most commonly found in earthy tones, or grayscale. However, you can also get them in other colors too.
You can merge the use of these with other dry artistic mediums. You can use Conte pencils for line work, and sticks are better for larger colored areas. The only issue with these is they cannot easily be erased.
You could confuse these with conte sticks quite easily, but conte and charcoal have a lot of differences, although they may look similar.
Like the charcoal we see in our BBQ pits and fireplaces, it is basically just charred wood. It is made from carbonized wood, and they can be soft or hard.
Sold in different thicknesses, each type is good for a different thing. You can do some exquisite fine detailing with these.
While we are all well acquainted with the traditional pencil, graphite sticks are a fantastic alternative. They are basically a normal pencil, without the wooden outer layer.
Again you can get these in most sizes, from HB to 9B, although you are unlikely to find any harder H graphite pencils.
They are thicker, and while it might seem a bit messy, they do have a plastic paint over the graphite, to stop your fingers getting covered in graphite.
Let’s not forget white chalk. Of course, we all know it very well. White chalk is often used on blackboards, or sometimes as a form of street art. How you use it is totally up to you, and it can have more uses than just the common ones we know.
It is always sold in the form of a hard stick. Usable for detailing, or finding marks. It can even be used as a soft pastel for blending and lightning colors.
You might not automatically relate pens to drawing, but pens are fantastic. We do not mean your usual pen that you use for writing down notes at work, or your weekly shopping list. Instead, there are technical pens, artistic pens and so on.
You can get fountain pens, roller-ball, ballpoint, fine liners, and special art designed pens, and even more. There is so much choice.
You could spend a small fortune on artistic pens.
You can apply ink, paint, and many materials with a brush. You want to get a good array of brush sizes and shapes. Using a fine brush for ink detailing is difficult, but practice makes perfect, of course, the right shaped brush can also totally change the mood of your art.
The right brush in the right ink could create a fur like, or grassy texture, choose your brushes wisely.
Dip pens are a holder with an interchangeable nip. You should always try these before you buy them as certain nubs will only fit on certain barrels.
Pointed nibs are good for drawing fine lines, rounded nibs, square, and so on can produce a whole manner of effects.
If you want to be a bit more rustic and unique, you can use a feather quill or a bamboo pen instead of a normal dip pen. Goose feather quills are a fantastic way to experiment with ink-related art.
None of the above would be possible if you didn’t have ink though. So, you want to get some decent drawing ink. You can get these in two forms; waterproof, or water-soluble, although the latter is not as widely available.
Either ink can be mixed with water to achieve a variation in color tone.
There are plenty of options here, and you can play around with the effects of different inks, and colors and how they are affected by the dip pen or brush that you use.
Let's not forget sharpeners, if you have even half this list already then you need a sharpener. Of course, like any other artistic item, you can get sharpeners in a multitude of forms. You can get the traditional sharpener, a sharpener with a waste pot, you could use a utility knife.
It depends on the type of pencil you have and its size. If you need to sharpen a conte stick a utility knife is best. However, for traditional pencils or colored pencils a normal sharpener will do.
We know erasers best for, well… erasing. However, that is not all they do. Their ability to rid a page of color can be used to create interesting effects. You could create streaks of sunlight with an eraser, or lift out highlights in heavily toned spots.
Putty erasers are best for this, but they do get dirty fast.
Get one of each different erasers, and try them out, see what they can do for you.
Variety Of Different Paper
Without a doubt, standard printing paper is the usual go-to craft form of the beginner artist. But, oh you would be so amazed to find out all the different types of paper out there.
Parchment paper is one of our favorites, it is thick, textures, and tonal. However, you can find others too, you can get rough which is a great choice to use with mediums that are bold and expressive.
A smoother paper is better with pen work, or ink. And then medium paper is probably the one we know best.
If you work with single sheets of paper (or whatever surface you’re projecting your ideas onto), then you will need to have support. Secure it onto a drawing board. Of course, for sketchbooks and the like you do not need to do this.
You can secure this with tape, or clips, but try to avoid pins as they will damage your paper.
Of course, an easel is a good alternative to a drawing board, or a sketchbook. Especially in some more awkward locations, such as outside location based artwork. Having an easel can make life easier for you.
Some easels can even fold away or turn into a drawing case. These are the best because they are highly portable, and will allow you to get into all those awkward positions you might need to in order to grasp the correct effect.
Pencil Drawing Techniques
There is more to drawing than just moving your pen, pencil, chalk, or artistic stick around a blank sheet of paper. There are techniques that can give you different effects too, and it is worth trying them out as you experiment.
You can use different effects for different moods, scenarios, and so on.
Hatching is one of the most common and easy methods many artists use, and it is worth practicing. It can add depth to your sketches through a unique shading technique.
Hatching is basically just a series of lines that are drawn along the main line of your art to create a shaded look.
When hatching the lines should never touch. If you draw an orange, try some hatching on that to create a shaded side.
Cross-hatching is not so different, it is just a deeper version of hatching. If you were to use hatching and cross-hatching in two separate drawings of the same orange, the side with the cross-hatched orange would look darker.
Cross-hatching lines intersect, and so the closer the lines are, the darker your shading is. This is a great technique to start off with. While it does not work for everyone, it can be a fantastic technique for some artists, you can even include this in different artistic mediums.
Who has not drawn up some idle scribbles at some point in our lives? While on hold on the phone, in school in your least favorite class.
Scribbling is actually a technique that can be effective. The unique styles of a scribbled sketch can be erratic, uneven, and have no single straight lines.
You can craft an almost deconstructed image on the paper, and you can shade easily with this technique, the closer your scribbles are, the darker the image shall appear.
Circling is as simple as it sounds. You can control the tone of the pencil by just changing up how much pressure you apply to it. You can create smoother transitions making circular strokes for a more blended look.
Move your pencil in a circular motion as you add the pressure, dull pencils work best for this technique, but it really can go a long way into adding a unique effect. Try it out, it can create some unique art.
Stippling is simply dots. You just add dots to increase the depth and shading of your piece. It is not dissimilar to hatching and the like. In this case, the closer you add the dots together, the darker an effect it gives off.
This works best with materials like graphite, as it comes out darker than alternatives. Do keep in mind that this is one of the techniques that can take a little longer to achieve, especially on a larger piece of work.
Smooth shading is exactly what it sounds like, some of the artistic materials we mentioned above work to smoothly shade anyway. However, you can use other techniques for a smoother shading.
Smooth shading often gives off a more realistic vibe to your work, so it does depend on what kind of style you are looking to achieve as to whether or not you should use this. Some of us will naturally just try to do this, but it is worth testing out all of these techniques
Smooth blending, not all that different from smooth shading, is best done by using your finger, a rolled up piece of paper, a tissue, and so on to blend in hatching or cross-hatching. Doing so gives off a smoother, and more natural appearance.
You could also do this by just angling your pencil, and using the wider edge to create thicker lines that act more like shadows.
Let’s not give shading all the glory, you can also create highlights in your art.
One of the best ways to achieve this effect is by using an eraser to remove some of the color added to the page, or even shade lighter areas to indicate that there is a light source.
It is not as easy as shading, so it will take some practice, but it looks absolutely amazing once you have successfully achieved this aesthetic.
Rendering is like leveling up from highlighting. This is a unique approach in which you subject your paper to graphite and then remove some of the graphite with an eraser to add this effect.
This is a continual method of simply applying and then erasing the graphite from the paper.
Doing this creates an effect not unlike a blur. It can take time to perfect, but practicing it over and over will do you some good.
This is a technique that works fantastically for aesthetics such as rays of sunlight.
10 Ideas For You To Try
Art is creative, and there are really no limitations to what you can create with a set of tools. Drawing can be a very enjoyable process as the only restrictions are the ones that you set for yourself.
However, for some beginners, you can sit there for hours staring at a blank piece of paper, unsure of what to cover it with.
So, to save you from the experience of frustratingly having a staring match with your paper, here are some ideas of what you can produce artistically onto your paper via your medium of choice.
One of the most popular focuses of art for thousands of years is landscapes. This does not even need to be a landscape you see. It could be one you imagine, it could be one from a movie, game, or even from a book you like.
Landscapes are one of the easiest things for beginners as it teaches us the basics of drawing. How to draw trees, sky, grass, houses, and so on. It is a great place to start and can leave you feeling really satisfied.
Of course, if you are more of a practice makes perfect type of person, you could hone in on one particular object, and focus on that. You can sketch it from multiple sides and angles and really get to know this object on a deeper level.
A great example of this is chairs, apples, faces, and so on. Understanding how to draw a particular object from many angles will give your artistic mind a better scope into the 3D world.
Let’s not forget people. We love drawing people, be it in a realistic, surreal, or as is more popular nowadays - anime style. It can pay off to practice drawing your family, friends, and favorite characters.
Drawing people is not easy, as people are all different, so practicing with this will take some time and can be frustrating. Try learning how to draw eyes, noses, mouths, and ears, as well as face shapes first.
Still life can be any object, such as statues, equipment, lamps, a bowl of fruit. Any non-moving object that will stay still so long that you can spend as long on the drawing as you want without it moving and messing up your vision.
Still life is a wide option, so as you practice your drawing skills, utilizing still life can be a good way to practice your skills. If you have a few minutes free you can simply try drawing your pencil sharpener.
The imagination is key in drawing, so using your imagination to draw is very important. You can practice with landscapes, people, and so on, but your imagination can be just as lucrative.
Using your imagination, and drawing a fantasy place, something from your dreams, or a creature that doesn’t exist that you like the idea of can make for unique and interesting art. It makes it unique and original as well.
While it is not one of the easiest artistic things to attempt, you can always try to draw yourself. In fact, many artists will attempt this.
However, it is not one of the easiest things to do as it is not so easy to see yourself as it is to see something in front of you and put it into paper.
You can use reference photos though, and it can be a real challenge to do so, so if you like a challenge it is worth giving it a go.
Animals are another favorite of many artists, and most will usually start either with their favorite animal or their pet. With pets it is harder as it will never be easy to get them to stay still for long enough.
The best part about drawing your pet is if you are pleased with the end result it can be really rewarding, as they are such an important part of our lives. This will definitely be one of the pieces you hold onto,
Nature is a common topic among artists, waterfalls, beaches, sunsets, trees, flowers, ponds, and all the things that live in them.
You can create a whole scene, or you can focus on one thing. You could even approach nature in a perspective style. Taking the time to draw one item in nature from multiple angles-such as a flower, or a leaf.
Going out and drawing nature as you look at it can also be a very relaxing experience too.
Objects, literally anything you see lying around. Kitchen utensils, that book sitting on your desk, a computer, the candle on your dresser, or the toothbrush in your bathroom. Anything applies here.
It also counts as still life, as objects do not tend to move, not unless someone moves them. You can start with easy things such as a candle, or a pillow and work up to more difficult things.
Foods are another popular topic of focus. We all enjoy food, so why not draw it. Most people will start with fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes, strawberries, bananas, apples, half a pepper cut open, a lemon, and so on.
Some vegetables and fruits are easier to draw than others, and meats tend to be even trickier. You can try drawing your favorite fruits, or if you want to take a photo of your favorite meal and try to draw it later on.
Benefits Of Drawing
While we all love to gain new skills and take on new hobbies, these are not the only things that drawing can do for us. Drawing can do much for our brains that we might not otherwise notice.
Art as a whole is a very enjoyable hobby, and whether it is painting, sketching, drawing, clay-work, or any other art form, it can be stimulating to our brains and do our overall health some good.
It gives us the boost we didn’t know we needed, in a place we didn’t realize we could get it from.
In fact, art is becoming a new form of therapy. Let’s look at the benefits beyond the obvious.
Improves Mental Health
Art improves our mental health in many ways, we control what happens, so for anxious minds it can be very calming. We also make progress as we complete it, and we learn more as we go along.
Not only are we exploring art, but we also explore ourselves as it can be very expressive. We may find that things we repressed, or didn’t acknowledge in ourselves can come out in our art.
Art is even used in dementia patients to help stimulate their brains and keep them active. Finishing a project also releases that feel good hormone - dopamine that makes us feel happy and good. Art can be exceptionally rewarding.
Improves Self Confidence
Many people may not decide to put pen or pencil to paper because they do not think they are ‘good’, however, none of us are born with a pack of HP pencils and a sketch pad, it is a skill that you build over time. It takes patience to develop our skills
And even if you do not feel that it is fantastic, all art is good. There is much unique art out there, and someone enjoys every type- it just depends on who is looking.
Imagination is healthy, and while we tend to relate imagination to childhood, it is just as important in adulthood too, as it helps our critical thinking skills, and concept perception. Being creative will help you in many ways and imagination is key to creativity.
There are many jobs and careers that require creativity - such as writers, architects, painters, those in film and TV, scriptwriters, scientists, actors, and so on.
Being creative gives you a depth of perception beyond ourselves and into many possibilities. It is a very healthy part of the human mind.
Have you noticed the amount of adult coloring books coming out, scratch art books, diamanté art, cross-stitch, and so on. Art is a wide topic, and it is a popular hobby and pastime for many.
Art takes us away from the stresses of everyday life for a while, and transports us into a word where the only things that matter are us, and our art project.
Art can be simple or complex, and you get to decide which it is. This makes it very relaxing and is why many people choose art as a way to express themselves and practice mindfulness.
Creativity and imagination aid in memory retention. As children, we build our memories and at the same time we become more imaginative.
Using our minds and thinking how we will create our artistic piece, and using our imagination to do so can aid in memory retention.
Art therapy sessions are even known to help Alzheimer’s patient remember forgotten memories and express emotions when their verbal abilities are not so strong.
The process used is thought to be able to locate alternative routes to misplaced memories through creative means. Art is expressive after all.
Useful As Stress Relief
As we previously stated, art is therapeutic, it is used as a form of therapy, and it helps us to disconnect from everything else in our lives. Art is often a form of stress relief as all we need to concentrate on when we draw, color, sketch or paint is the image we are trying to create.
This locks out all other worries and stresses in our lives and helps our minds calm. In some ways, art is a form of meditation and mindfulness, we just get a visually pleasing end-result when we are done.
As a beginner, the art world can seem confusing, overwhelming, and stressful. However, art is creative, and it is whatever you make it to be. You do not need to follow any rules in the art world, you create whatever you want to.
It is worth experimenting with different mediums first, so you learn all the ways you can express yourself, and once you have tried them all, you have no limits. Express yourself, draw, and let your inner creative fly free!